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“Grand Challenges” Interdisciplinary Grants

Office of Graduate and Professional Education announces new program

The University of Delaware Office of Graduate and Professional Education invites proposals for a new interdisciplinary grants program focusing on “grand challenges.”

The program’s goal is to enhance UD’s profile as a graduate institution by incentivizing curriculum innovation and special events programming across disciplines, according to Ann Ardis, senior vice provost for graduate and professional education.

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, Ardis said.

“T-shaped professionals have deep competencies in a single discipline, but are also able to conceptualize and facilitate collaborative research that transcends traditional disciplinary boundaries,” Ardis explained. “Additionally, they have ‘boundary-crossing competencies’ in oral and written communication, project management, teamwork, critical thinking and global understanding.”

With this cross-disciplinary thinking in mind, proposals are sought for the following kinds of projects:

  • 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., five-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).

Funding will be available as early as Feb. 1, 2018, and through June 2019.

Interest meetings will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 3–4 p.m., Room 410, Harker Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Laboratory, and on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 3:30–4:30 p.m., Faculty Commons, Pearson Hall.  

Address questions to Ann Ardis, senior vice provost for graduate and professional education, at aardis@udel.edu.

Submission Deadlines:  

Sept. 15, 2017     Spring 2018 University Seminar proposals (form below)

Oct. 16, 2017       Proposals for Interdisciplinary Curriculum Development Working Groups, Spring 2018–Fall 2018 (form below)

Nov. 15, 2017       Proposals for “Grand Challenges” Conferences and Symposia, Spring 2018–Spring 2019 (form below)

Dec. 1, 2017          Proposals for Interdisciplinary Curriculum Development Working Groups (form below)

Jan. 15, 2018         Proposals for “Grand Challenges” Conferences and Symposia, Spring 2019-Fall 2019 (form below)

Feb. 1, 2018            Fall 2018 University Seminars proposals

Proposals should be submitted online at:  http://grad.udel.edu/grand-challenges-grants/


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