Request for proposals - Picker Interdisciplinary Science Institute Skip Navigation

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 with funding beginning as soon as March 1, 2017.

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. Descriptions of previously funded projects are available at:


The primary activity supported by the Institute is the funding of interdisciplinary research projects led by tenure-stream or tenured faculty from any Division 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 investigators with complementary expertise to open a new area of study or to tackle existing problems in creative new ways.
  2. 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. The research team may include investigators from outside the sciences and mathematics, when such expertise will enhance the interdisciplinary 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. The proposed project should involve students and should contribute to interdisciplinary learning, to the extent appropriate.
  7. Equipment that is clearly required for proposed projects will be considered; however, proposals requiring major equipment purchases should also explore external funding possibilities 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.
  9. An annual report is due after the first year of funding, on March 1, and a final report is due on completion of the 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 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)
Krista Ingram (Biology)
Germaine Gogel (Chemistry)
Michael Hay (Computer Science)
William Meyer (Geography)
William Peck (Geology)
Patrick Crotty (Physics and Astronomy)
Ann Jane Tierney (Psychology)
Jason Kawall (Director, Environmental Studies) ex officio

Pre-proposals: Deadline November 22, 2016

Faculty members planning to submit a proposal to the Institute for support of a research project must provide a pre-proposal that briefly (2 pages) describes the goal(s) of the research project, the roles of faculty and other personnel involved in the project. Indicate whether funding for the project is being sought from other sources. Also please include the anticipated budget needs; and for each collaborator on the project a two-page biographical sketch. 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 or sent to the Institute Director. The Executive Advisory Committee of the Institute will review the pre-proposals. Please submit pre-proposals as pdf files by e-mail to Rene Beers

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

Full Proposals: Deadline February 1, 2017

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, principal investigators and affiliations
  3. One page project summary
  4. Project narrative (limit 15 pages double-spaced, 12-point font)
  5. Budget (see budget outline below; 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 any course release(s) and an itemized explanation for each category
  7. Short (2-pages, NSF-style) curriculum vitae of PI(s) and other personnel
  8. Supporting letters or other documents may be included as appendices not to exceed 10 pages
  9. A list of three potential external reviewers, who may be called on to provide independent, critical reviews of the proposal. A short list of people who may have a conflict of interest in reviewing the proposal may also be attached; the Committee will not solicit input from people on this list.

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 February 1, 2017. Funding announcements will be made on or before March 1, 2017.

Interdisciplinary activities supported by the Picker Interdisciplinary Science Institute

In addition to major research awards by the Picker Interdisciplinary Science Institute, other activities that indirectly enhance interdisciplinary research in science and mathematics may be supported. Such activities may include sponsoring of speakers or colloquia, support to explore potential projects, or research support not available elsewhere.

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
Requests for funding interdisciplinary activities may be made directly to Dan Schult (Director) and will be considered year round.