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Request for Proposals

Proposals are solicited for funding from the Picker Interdisciplinary Science Institute. Projects with annual budgets up to $150,000 per year for two years will be considered.

Single-year projects, and projects requiring different funding levels in each of the two years of support are also encouraged. Applicants are encouraged to discuss possible projects with the Institute Director or members of the Executive Advisory Committee before beginning proposal preparation.


The primary activity supported by the Institute is the funding of interdisciplinary research projects led by tenure-stream or tenured faculty at Colgate University. The following criteria will be used to prioritize projects for support from the Institute:

  1. The proposed project must involve a scientific question/problem that requires an interdisciplinary approach. It is recognized that the term “interdisciplinary” is not easily defined. The spirit of this criterion is that a proposed project should investigate a topic that an individual investigator could not satisfactorily study alone; the proposed project should bring together researchers from disparate fields to open a new area of study or to tackle existing problems in creative new ways.
  2. The proposed project must involve collaboration among investigators with complementary expertise. The collaborative relationships may be intra- or inter-institutional. Collaborators may be from the same academic department or program; however, distinctions between the expertise that each brings to bear on the proposed project must be clear. Investigators need not all be from the sciences and mathematics, if such expertise will enhance the scientific study.
  3. Satisfactory progress on the proposed project would not be possible through internal funding sources (e.g., departmental funds, Research Council funds).
  4. The proposed project must be scientifically sound, and should result in significant contributions to scientific knowledge (i.e., peer reviewed publication). All activities and progress on the project will be reported annually to the Director.
  5. The proposed project should have reasonable potential for sustained activity beyond the period of Institute support (i.e., ability to attract extramural funding).
  6. To the extent appropriate, the proposed project should involve students and should contribute to interdisciplinary learning.
  7. Major equipment purchases should not be a primary focus of the project. However, equipment that is clearly required for collaborative projects will be considered. Projects requiring major equipment should be accompanied by proposals to external funding programs, such as NSF-MRI.
  8. The period of support will normally be two years, although shorter periods of funding will also be considered. Institute funds are not intended to provide long-term support to a project.

Supported categories

  • Release time for Colgate faculty (budgeted as $20,000 per course; maximum one course per participant per year)
  • Wages and fringe benefits for non-Colgate faculty and staff
  • Undergraduate wages and salaries
  • Travel
  • Supplies and general operating costs
  • Equipment, including infrastructure and maintenance costs
  • Consultant and lecturer fees

Executive Advisory Committee

Daniel Schult (Mathematics, Director)
Damhnait McHugh (Biology)
Germaine Gogel (Chemistry)
Peter Scull (Geography)
Martin Wong (Geology)
Patrick Crotty (Physics and Astronomy)
Catherine Bagwell (Psychology)
Ellen Kraly (Director, Environmental Studies) ex officio

Pre-proposals: Deadline November 25, 2014

Faculty members planning to submit a proposal to the Institute for support of a research project must provide a two-page (500-word maximum) pre-proposal that briefly describes the goal(s) of the research project, faculty and other personnel involved in the project, and the anticipated budget needs; in cases where a course release is being requested, a note from the department chair or program director acknowledging the request should be included with the pre-proposal. Pre-proposals will be reviewed by the Executive Advisory Committee of the Institute. Please submit pre-proposals online no later than Monday, November 25, 2014.

If you have any questions about the submission process, please contact Daniel Schult (

Full Proposals: Deadline February 1, 2015

Based on the deliberations of the Executive Advisory Committee, full proposals will be solicited. The pre-proposals will be used to guide conversations about the project between those preparing full proposals and the Director of the Institute. Full proposals should include the following:


  1. Institutional cover sheet (“yellow sheet”) signed by Department/Program Chair(s) and Division Director
  2. Cover page, listing title of project, principle investigators and affiliations
  3. One page project summary
  4. Project narrative (limit 15 pages double-spaced, 12-point font)
  5. Budget (see budget outline; refer to the Office of Corporation, Foundation and Government Support for Fringe Benefits and to the Colgate University Research Council Guidelines for current travel and cost of living expense limits)
  6. Budget explanation, including justification for course release(s) and an itemized explanation for each category
  7. Short (NSF-style) curriculum vitae of PI(s) and other personnel
  8. Supporting letters or other documents may be included as appendices not to exceed 15 pages

Proposals will be reviewed by the Executive Advisory Committee; the Committee may also solicit reviews of proposals by external reviewers. The Committee’s recommendations for funding are subject to final approval by the Dean of Faculty/Provost and President.

Full proposals are due by 5:00 PM on Tuesday, February 3, 2015. Please deliver as a single .pdf file to Daniel Schult ( Funding announcements will be made on or before March 1, 2015.

Other Activities Supported by Institute

Other activities that indirectly enhance interdisciplinary study in science and mathematics may also be supported by the Institute. Such activities may include sponsoring of speakers and the organization of colloquia. To be eligible for support from the Institute, proposed activities must satisfy all of the following criteria:

  1. The proposed activity must have a clear interdisciplinary element
  2. The proposed activity must not be eligible for other readily available internal sources of funds (e.g., departmental, divisional)
  3. The proposed activity must have impact beyond the lifetime of the activity