GRAND CHALLENGES: Interdisciplinary Grants Program

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The issues the world is facing today will not be solved through the expertise of any single discipline. Instead, the challenges related to energy, health, education, worldwide migration, the environment, national security, and global development that have been defined by federal funding agencies and major private foundations as “grand challenges facing our planet and all of its inhabitants” will require the efforts of T-shaped professionals: professionals with deep competencies in a single discipline who are also able to conceptualize and facilitate collaborative research that transcends traditional disciplinary boundaries; professionals who, additionally, have “boundary-crossing competencies” in oral and written communication, project management, team-work, critical thinking, and global understanding.

The Office of Graduate and Professional Education invites proposals for the following kinds of collaborative multi-disciplinary projects:

  1. University Seminars on topics of broad interest and contemporary importance;
  2. Cross-college collaborations on graduate curriculum development related to big-picture, high-impact research challenges and geared to the development of T-shaped professionals;
  3. Major conferences and symposia related to arenas of signature multi-disciplinary research and graduate education at UD.

Modeled in part on both the University of Michigan’s Rackham Graduate School “Michigan Meetings” internal grants program and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s “Sawyer Seminars” grants program, this OGPE initiative seeks to enhance the University of Delaware’s profile as a graduate institution by incentivizing curriculum innovation and special events programming related to interdisciplinary, multi-disciplinary and transdisciplinary research and graduate education.

Funding for this initiative was provided by the Unidel Foundation, Inc.




JANUARY 15, 2018 —
JUNE 2019

Funding available as early as: FEBRUARY 1, 2018

September 15, 2017Spring 2018 University Seminar proposals (Form below)
October 16, 2017 Proposals for Interdisciplinary Curriculum Development Working Groups, Spring 2018-Fall 2018 (Form below)
November 15, 2017 Proposals for “Grand Challenges” Conferences and Symposia, Spring 2018-Spring 2019 (Form below)
December 1, 2017Proposals for Interdisciplinary Curriculum Development Working Groups (Form below)
January 15, 2018 Proposals for “Grand Challenges” Conferences and Symposia, Spring 2019 - Fall 2019 (Form below)
February 1, 2018Fall 2018 University Seminars proposals


Application Types

University Seminars (1-3 credits).
Up to $20,000 to support cross-disciplinary team-teaching, honoraria for guest speakers and funding for students’ field work and collaborative research projects. Each course proposed should serve a minimum of 19 students. Proposals involving team-teaching across institutions and/or innovative formats (e.g., 5-week modules, blended/hybrid modalities) are especially welcome.

Interdisciplinary Curriculum Development Working Groups.
Up to $6,000. Funding may be used to cover event costs associated with a semester-long or a year-long series of planning meetings and to bring external experts to campus to assist with curriculum development planning. Each working group proposal must include a plan for engaging current graduate students from at least two departments in the curriculum development project. Engagement of recent graduate alumni in the planning process is especially welcome as well. Deliverable: a program proposal ready for submission to University Faculty Senate.

Major conferences and symposia.
Up to $50,000. Funding may be used to cover honoraria and travel expenses for invited off-campus speakers as well as room rental, AV charges and food costs. Departmental and/or external grant cost-shares required. Each conference or symposium proposal must include a plan for providing graduate students with leadership roles and/or professional development opportunities (e.g., workshops with journal editors or funding agency representatives; appropriate but substantial roles in design of programming).


University Grand Challenges Grant

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University Seminar

This should showcase the advantage of the proposed program in the region, national and global markets.

Curriculum Development Working Group

Conference / Symposium

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