Office of Research Interdisciplinary Research Catalyst - Office of Research

Interdisciplinary Research Catalyst


Applications accepted at any time


Faculty experience multiple obligations in teaching, research, and mentoring. Large proposals require a significant investment of time and resources, including but not limited to: forging cross-disciplinary internal collaborations, building relationships with external partners, securing institutional support and investment, grant writing, and proposal assembly. Often, faculty are unable to pursue large grants because there is simply insufficient time to devote to proposal development. This limits both advancement of the individual, and the campus research mission.

National scale initiatives require a rapid and coordinated response in order to secure funding, resources, and identify potential external partners (e.g. national laboratories, industry specialists). Faculty members whose research interests overlap with these announcements may have only limited involvement or be unable to take part due to the same limiting factors noted above.

The Interdisciplinary Research Catalyst (IRC) program will facilitate, support, and enable faculty to pursue large scale interdisciplinary funding opportunities. The Office of Research will work in partnership with the Deans’ offices to support proposal development, and submission through the nomination of faculty fellows to the IRC program.

In addition to financial support, concentrated program development assistance will be made available, where requested and warranted, including aligning efforts from various support organizations, such as the Interdisciplinary Research Support team (proposal assembly), Office of Corporate Relations (industry partnership development), InnovationAccess (intellectual property protection and exploitation), Development and Alumni Relations (identifying private sponsors and research foundations).


Office of Research anticipates making several awards during 2017, depending on fund availability, each up to $25,000 per fellow on a matching basis with corresponding School or College Dean’s or Deans’ office. A faculty member can be jointly nominated by multiple Deans. Duration of the fellowship award is variable, depending on the project needs. It is expected most awards will range from 3 to 12 months. A maximum of two Fellows per School or College, per year are allowed.

Allowable uses of the funds include:

  • Direct support to the fellow in the form of one course buyout or summer salary equivalent. This option should only be advanced with support of the faculty member’s Department Chair and Dean.
  • Additional research support or development personnel. This option would allow the faculty member to continue their full teaching and research commitments while supporting a dedicated individual to focus on grant writing, partnership building, proposal assembly, and/or data generation.
  • Combination of the above modes as appropriate. Resources may also be utilized for travel, partnership building, or other proposal-related activities as appropriate.
  • For justified faculty exchanges or visits (10 days maximum), site visits, or hosting visitors at UC Davis.
  • Additional support mechanisms and activities might be acceptable if there is a clear justification and need for the development of a particular funding opportunity.

Funding Areas: All interdisciplinary research fields.

Eligibility: Outstanding faculty members will be nominated by the Dean of their respective School or College in consultation with the Office of Research.


A complete application must include the following components:

  • Cover Sheet (PDF). If support is being provided by more than one Dean, provide a separate cover sheet for each one.
  • Nomination Letter. If support is being provided by more than one Dean, provide a separate cover sheet for each one.
  • Application Narrative

Nomination Letter

Nomination letters must come from the faculty member’s supporting Dean’s (or Deans’) Office. The letter must describe the significance of the work to be undertaken and whether this area is a priority for the College/School and why (e.g. other investments in the area, hiring initiative, core facility upgrades, etc.) Describe financial or other support that will be provided by the School/College. If faculty member is being nominated by two Deans, please provide two letters of nomination. The following activities are appropriate for this program:

  1. Identify a specific large scale, multiple investigator projects with significant interdisciplinary components and high-impact outcome. Awards must be at or above the $1M/year amount (total cost).
  2. Identify a national or similar scale initiative in which the fellow will act as a faculty champion to coordinate campus response, developing and leveraging existing efforts. Examples of such initiatives are:
    • The Microbiome Initiative
    • The Cancer Moonshot Initiative
    • Climate Change
    • 21st Century Grand Challenges
  3. Designate a fellow to work on behalf of the School or College through active engagement to advance interdisciplinary relationship building.

Application Narrative

The nomination letter must be accompanied by an application narrative prepared by the nominated faculty member. The narrative must include a concise description of the work to be undertaken by the fellow, including the following:

  1. Project Description
    • Identify the targeted proposal or initiative, including strategic motivation. Total award value should be at least $1M/year, and must have a clear interdisciplinary component.
  2. Research Team Description
    • Provide a statement of why the nominated faculty member is best suited to lead this effort
    • Identify key faculty or staff researchers that will participate in this initiative, in addition to the faculty fellow.
    • Comment on the relevant qualifications and experience of the proposed team.
  3. Timeline
    • Provide a timeline of activities leading up to proposal submission.
  4. Budget Justification
    • Provide a description of how the funding will be utilized.

Proposal Submission

Please consult with the Interdisciplinary Research Support in regards to potential funding opportunities that qualify for this program or Strategic Initiatives Group at the Office of Research before submitting an application.

Submit complete application via email to [email protected]

Award Announcement

Award decisions will be announced by direct communication with applicants and supporting Dean’s office.

Contact Information

For application submission and questions regarding IRC Faculty Fellows, please contact: [email protected]

Ana Lucia Cordova
Strategic Initiatives Manager