Interdisciplinary Collaborative Workshops

Interdisciplinary Collaborative Workshops

Quick Links

Interdisciplinary Collaborative Workshops

The ICW program is intended to spur new collaborations among scholars in CLA and beyond. It provides support to bring together faculty, staff, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate students from a variety of fields to intensively study a topic. ICWs are meant to convene scholars from within the college and beyond, and as such, proposed forms of workshops may include (but are not limited to) reading groups, seminars, symposia, conferences, or virtual centers.

Workshops must be proposed by a leadership team of at least three conveners (please see the “fine print” at the end of this announcement).

The ICW program originated in the college Roadmap process and was introduced by Dean Coleman in his State of the College address in Fall 2016. The Roadmap is an ongoing consultative process driven by students, staff, and faculty and our various publics ( ICWs are funded by the Joan Aldous Innovation Fund, in support of the College's Roadmap goal to generate new levels of innovative research through focused investment strategies.

Workshops should allow scholars to accomplish one or more of the following goals:

  • Keep pace with rapidly changing research

  • Explore topics, areas or approaches that may not dovetail with traditional funding sources or that have limited external funding

  • Address pressing and complex problems that require a multidisciplinary approach

  • Involve the next generation of scholars by including students and postdoctoral fellows

There are two kinds of grants:

  • Mini grants for a one-year project of up to $10,000.

  • Full grants for a two to three year project up to $100,000. We anticipate that the average grant will be in the range of $40,000 to $80,000. Projects greater than $50,000 must provide extraordinary justification.

Expenses Permitted


  • Salary and fringe for graduate or undergraduate research assistants/interns

Meetings and travel

  • Hosting meetings including seminars, workshops, symposia, and conferences

  • Travel support and honoraria for visitors and guest speakers

  • Travel support for UMN participants to engage in activities away from campus that are integral to the research aims of the project

Other project expenses

  • Equipment, supplies, or materials

  • Research or consultation costs associated with on-campus units (e.g., Office of Measurement Services)

  • Publication or documentation costs

  • Direct production expenses for the arts

  • Facilities costs integral to the work

Additional expenses permitted under full grants

  • Salary and fringe for a post-doctoral fellows

  • Offsets for extraordinary administrative and office costs (up to $5,000)

  • PI funds; these funds can be used for summer salary or research expenses to offset the time and effort required to coordinate the workshop (up to $7500 total, may be split among PIs)

Expenses Not Permitted

  • Faculty release time or course-buy outs

  • Faculty salary apart from summer salary drawn from PI funds noted above

  • Teaching assistants or costs related to offering courses

  • Survey inducements or lab participant fees

  • Indirect or overhead costs apart from the offset noted above

Dates and Deadlines

Mini Grants

Fall semester application deadline: October 13, 2017

Project start date: Between December 11, 2017 and May 14, 2018

Project end date: One year from start date

Spring semester application deadlines: February 16, 2018

Project start date: Between April 9, 2018 and September 10, 2018

Project end date: One year from start date

Full Grants

Application deadline: September 15, 2017

Project start date: Between November 13, 2017 and August 30, 2018

Project end date: Two to three years from start date

Criteria for Selection

Clarity of stated topic. The proposed topic should be readily understood and accessible to a wide range of scholars in the college. The term topic should be read broadly, as potentially meaning scholarly theme, question, issue, problem, area, or approach.

Articulation of the topic’s significance. Why is the investigation of the proposed topic important? How does it relate to departmental, collegiate, and university priorities? What impact might the project's proposed outcomes beyond pursuing the proposed research agenda?

Effectiveness of approach to convening the workshop around research theme. Proposals should argue for the effectiveness of the chosen mechanisms for convening the workshop. Who does the workshop intend to recruit? Why recruit these people and what contribution are they expected to make? How will the workshop go about recruiting participants?

Measuring and defining success. The proposal should indicate what a successful workshop would entail and provide a preliminary plan for evaluating qualitative or quantitative measures of success.

Feasibility of accomplishing goals given the proposed time and budget. The proposal should be realistic given the proposed time and budget. Describe preliminary efforts or tie-ins to existing initiatives, programs, or centers.

Plans for sharing results. While the primary goal of a workshop is to develop collaborations, proposers are encouraged to share workshop results during and after the project period. Approaches could include but are not limited to a reading list, dedicated website, edited volume, conference proceedings, student or public event, performance, or artwork. Please describe how the goals and outcomes of the proposed workshop might engage with any audiences beyond immediate participants.

Commitment of administrative support. The proposal must indicate sufficient departmental support for administrative tasks that come with the funding, including accounting and personnel appointments. This includes space, administrative support, office support such as printers and copying, and event planning. Applicants are encouraged to consult with the CLA Event Resource Guide for all gatherings and the U of M’s Conference & Event Services for larger events, especially those involving summer housing. Offsets for extraordinary administrative and office costs (up to $5,000) for full projects must be well justified.

Proposal Format

Front Matter (1 to 2 pages)

  • Title

  • Abstract (50 to 200 words)

  • Brief abstract for a lay audience (25 to 50 words)

  • Participant list

    • Workshop leadership team roster with names and departmental affiliations. One person must be identified as the Lead Investigator and at least two others must be identified as Co-Investigators.

    • Committed collaborators and affiliations (provide if known)

    • Expected number of graduate and undergraduate participants and the departments from which they would be drawn (if applicable)

Project Narrative (1 to 3 pages for mini projects; 2 to 4 pages for full projects)

Project Timeline (1 page)

  • Timeline of proposed workshop activities

References (1 page; optional)

Additional material (1 page; optional)

  • Other optional material, including appendices, end notes, figures, or tables

Departmental Endorsement (1 page; see link on this page)

  • Provide a description (up to 300 words) of the departmental resources (administrative time, office space, equipment, etc.) that will be used in this project. The Chair/Head of the department/unit of the Lead Investigator or Co-Investigators must be endorse any departmental commitments.

Budget and Budget Justification (1 to 2 pages; see quick links on the intranet page)

  • Mini Grant Budget Proposal (Excel)

  • Full Grant Budget Proposal (Excel)

  • Break budget items into the categories described under the “Expenses permitted” above.

  • Provide a short justification for each budgeted expense. Justifications for personnel section should describe the exact nature and scope of the work to be performed by RAs, undergraduate interns, or faculty during the paid project period.

All proposal text must be in 11 point font and single spaced. All pages must have at least one inch margins.

Proposals must be uploaded through the Google Form by midnight on the due date.

Fine Print

  • The Lead Investigator and Co-Investigators must be faculty or P&A staff members who are eligible to be a principal investigator at the U of M.

  • The leadership team must consist of at least three conveners (all of whom meet the PI eligibility requirement), two of whom must come from two different CLA departments or centers. The third can come from any unit at the university.

  • The proposing team may be a new or existing group, but the workshop must have concrete plans to convene a range of scholars and disciplines beyond the proposing team.

  • Teams are encouraged to work with partners beyond the University, but funding for external participants is limited to travel expenses and honoraria.

  • Budget justifications must be specific and persuasive when justifying equipment or software needs. Proposer must describe how they have worked with LATIS and/or OIT to ascertain that the proposed request is the best way to acquire such resources.

  • Award letters for successful proposals will ask that event logistics be addressed early on in the the award process.

  • Projects will final summary report of 2 to 4 pages on the anniversary of the funding date. Full projects will provide a annual short report of 1 to 2 pages.

For additional information, please contact the Office of Research and Graduate Programs (

Past and Current Research

ICW Mini Grant Awardees, Spring 2017