Interdisciplinary Research Grants

Fostering collaborative scholarship and creative work

The Obermann Interdisciplinary Research Grants (IDRG) foster collaborative scholarship and creative work by offering recipients time and space to exchange new ideas leading to invention, creation, and publication. IDRG groups work at the Obermann Center for two or four weeks, usually in July and/or August. Applicants propose work on a project with colleagues from across the University, across disciplines within their own department, or with colleagues from other parts of the country or the world. Projects are intended to result in an important scholarly or creative work.

We welcome IDRG applications from artists, researchers, and scholars in any discipline and on any topic. In addition, special funds are available to support one or two groups that are working specifically on projects focused on children's learning and development, child welfare, and/or maternal education. These funds are provided by the Laura Spelman-Rockefeller Grant. All aspects of the application process are the same. 

While we hope that we will be able to return to face-to-face meetings soon, for summer 2021, you should assume your collaboration will be virtual. Note that in the application we now ask you to explain how partners would work together virtually and how the number of hours would roughly approximate our usual time periods of two or four weeks, even if you choose to spread your collaboration time over a longer time period this summer. Given how exhausting Zoom can be, working half-days for twice as many days, for example, might be more feasible than daylong Zoom meetings. However, we still need the precise dates in which you will work together in order for us to process paperwork, etc. Please also let us know if you would prefer to meet in person should that be possible. (But we want to reassure you that if you build your summer plans around collaborating remotely, you can do so, even if face-to-face is an option this summer.)

Overview

The deadline for Summer 2021 IDRG applications has passed. (It was October 28, 2020.)

NOTE: Special funding is available for projects in the areas of children’s learning and development, child welfare, and maternal education through the Laura Spelman-Rockefeller Grant. Scholars working in these areas are especially encouraged to apply!

Eligibility

  • Proposed projects should involve 2-3 collaborators who will work together in residence or virtually during a continuous 2- or 4-week period during the summer.
  • Applicants who received this award in the past two years are not eligible. 
  • We welcome applications from artists, researchers, and scholars working in any discipline and on any topic. One member of the team must be a UI faculty member whose appointment requires significant research, scholarship, or creative arts practice as a primary responsibility. That team member may be tenure-track or tenured faculty, clinical track faculty, research faculty, or instructional faculty.
  • Special funding is available for projects that pertain to children's learning and development, child welfare, and maternal education.

Required Items

  • Cover Sheet
    • Title of the project
    • Proposed start and end dates of proposed project (Normally this would be any continuous 2- or 4-week period between mid-May and mid-August when all collaborators will be in residence. However, this summer we are assuming collaborations will be virtual so that the timing can be more flexible—please see the question about virtual scheduling below—however, the working dates MUST be within the time frame of May 17-August 20.) 
    • Name, rank, department, office mailing address, and e-mail address for each collaborator
  • Short Abstract (max 300 words)
  • Project Narrative (max 5 single-spaced pages)
    • Why is it an important undertaking?
    • What earlier work has been done on the project and related areas by the applicants individually or collaboratively? What work has been done by others?
    • What is the value of the collaboration? Specify the distinctive contribution of each collaborator to the interdisciplinary effort? Include the value of working together, face-to-face, during a specific time period at the Obermann Center..
    • How will the work proceed? Include a timetable for the grant period and afterwards until completion. Describe what collaborators will be doing individually or collaboratively. If applicable, describe the methodology.
    • How will the work benefit from extended, face-to-face work time between the participants? (Note that participants are expected to be actively working at the Obermann Center and not in separate locations.)
    • What will be achieved by the end of the grant period?
    • How will you disseminate your work—through publication, exhibition, other? When do you estimate the project will be completed? Please specify the most likely publisher, journal, or venue and explain. (Edited collections and textbooks generally have not fared well in this competition but are not automatically excluded: the proposal should focus only on the collaborative original research involved.)
  • COVID Accommodation
    • How will the partners work together virtually—how often will you meet, what platforms will you use, etc.?
    • Will you meet the equivalent of 2 weeks (approximately 80 hours) or 4 weeks (approximately 160)? Please offer a brief timeline of your work plan to clarify the equivalence and how you plan to organize your time over the summer to that end, remembering that all of the work MUST be completed between May 17-August 20, 2021.
    • If it is possible to work face-to-face this summer, would that be your preference? If so, please indicate what two week or four week period you would prefer. (Please note that even if we can work face to face, we are happy to honor your plans to work virtually if that is your preference.)    
  • The curriculum vitae of each collaborator (max 3 single-spaced pages for each CV)
  • A letter from your department chair endorsing the proposed project and the two- or four-week residency at the Obermann Center (sent by DEO to obermann-center@uiowa.edu)

Submit all materials in PDF form to obermann-center@uiowa.edu by 5:00 p.m., October 28, 2020.

Additional Notes

  • Applicants who previously received any Interdisciplinary Research Grants should add a page listing the title and year of each grant and giving full citations for resulting publications or creative work or external research grants.
  • The curriculum vitae (maximum three single-spaced pages for each CV) of each collaborator should include current position, dates of appointment, degrees, relevant publications, grants, courses.
  • Unfortunately graduate students are not eligible to participate in this program.
  • Three people maximum per group. We need a support letter from each UI participant's DEO. 
  • While we hope that we will be able to return to face-to-face meetings soon, for summer 2021, you should assume your collaboration will be virtual. Note that in the application we now ask you to explain how partners would work together virtually and how the number of hours would roughly approximate our usual time periods of two or four weeks, even if you choose to spread your collaboration time over a longer time period this summer. Given how exhausting Zoom can be, working half-days for twice as many days, for example, might be more feasible than daylong Zoom meetings. However, we still need the precise dates in which you will work together in order for us to process paperwork, etc. Please also let us know if you would prefer to meet in person should that be possible. (But we want to reassure you that if you build your summer plans around collaborating remotely, you can do so, even if face-to-face is an option this summer.)
  • Each collaborator is awarded a $3,000 taxable research stipend for 2-week residencies, or a $6,000 taxable research stipend for 4-week residencies.