Interdisciplinary Frontier Graduate and Postdoctoral Fellows Program RFP

Collage of students doing research


The Interdisciplinary Frontier Graduate and Postdoctoral Fellows Program has four objectives: 

  1. Advance transformative research and discovery at UD on a contemporary problem or question of profound importance that is best approached from a radically interdisciplinary perspective.

  2. Support interdisciplinary cohorts of graduate students and possibly a postdoc working side-by-side with a team of faculty mentors from distinct units.

  3. Prepare graduate students and postdocs to successfully collaborate across disciplinary boundaries.

  4. Catalyze successful, new faculty collaborations that might not otherwise exist due to institutional barriers.

A Frontier team consists of faculty principal investigators, a cohort of fellows who are doctoral students and, possibly, a postdoc. The creation of a Frontier team is competitive and may be sustained for two years depending upon progress toward the objectives. There may be up to three fellows on each Frontier team. Teams can consist of no more than three graduate student fellows and no more than one postdoc fellow. Graduate fellows must have completed their basic coursework and preliminary exams. Each fellow must be mentored by a unique faculty investigator.

Graduate students enrolled in master's degree programs that are considered terminal in the discipline, such as MFA or performance degrees, are eligible.

Submitting your proposal

Proposals must be submitted using the online form linked below no later than March 1, 2024.

Each proposal must include an uploaded project description of no more than two pages, not including references, with 1-inch margins and at a minimum 11-point font size that describes the problem, its importance and the specific goal(s) for the project. Successful proposals must address the following elements:

  1. Discussion of the institutional and intellectual barriers separating the investigators and fellows and how these will be overcome.

  2. Discussion of how the investigators and fellows will work together across disciplinary boundaries toward common goals.

  3. Qualitative and quantitative measurements of project success.

  4. Detailed description of how results will be disseminated to scholarly communities and the broader society.

Each proposal must be accompanied by CVs (no more than two pages) for each investigator and fellow, a list of current and pending support for each investigator and fellow if they have any, and letters of support from each principal investigator’s primary department chair. The letters must address how this project plan integrates with the department’s plans for graduate education as well as research, scholarship or creative endeavors in their discipline. The proposal may also address the potential impact of the Frontier project on those outside of the Frontier project team.

Additionally, each proposal must contain a one-year budget. The budget is for student and postdoctoral fellow support only.

  • Graduate student fellows are budgeted at $32,667 over 12 months or the minimum graduate stipend rate, whichever is greater.

  • Postdoctoral researcher salaries are $48,000 or the University minimum salary for a postdoctoral researcher, whichever is greater.

  • Each fellow is eligible for up to $3,000 per year for project-related travel and expenses.

Funded projects may be renewed once following a successful review.

What We're Looking For

Proposals will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  1. Documentation or evidence of institutional barriers and the project’s potential for overcoming them.

  2. Project’s plan for collaboration, mentoring and development of fellows.

  3. Project’s potential to yield new and transformative research and discovery at UD.

  4. Project’s dissemination plan and the visibility of proposed activities.

Projects that leverage unique strengths at UD, including special facilities and alliances, undergraduate research capacity (capstone projects and experiential opportunities), citizen science, public humanities, special datasets, study abroad, etc., will be viewed favorably.


  • Each Frontier fellow will have an individual development plan (see and before the start of the project.

  • The Frontier team will provide a midterm progress report and a final report.

  • Members of individual Frontier teams are expected to collaborate closely to contribute to the project and publish together.

  • Frontier teams are expected to apply for foundation or federal funding to continue their efforts.

  • Requests for renewal for a second year are expected to address the evaluation criteria.