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.

For Summer 2021, 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. We are still accepting IDRG applications in any discipline, but there is funding available via the Laura Spelman-Rockefeller Grant toward this narrower focus. All aspects of the application process are the same. 


The deadline for Summer 2021 IDRG applications is November 4, 2020 (5:00 p.m.).

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!


  • Proposed projects should involve 2-3 collaborators who will work together in residence during a continuous 2- or 4-week period during the summer.
  • Applicants who received this award in the past two years are not eligible. 
  • 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.
  • Funding is available specifically 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 (any continuous 2- or 4-week period between mid-May and mid-August) when all collaborators will be in residence
      • Name, rank, department, office mailing address, and e-mail address for each collaborator
      • Short abstract (300 or fewer words)
      • A narrative (maximum five pages, single-spaced) that answers all of the following questions in the order they appear:
    • What do you propose to do?
      • 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.)
  • The curriculum vitae (maximum three single-spaced pages for each CV) of each collaborator
  • 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
  • Submit all materials in .pdf form to

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.
  • This program is intended for collaborators who will be working together in residence at the Obermann Center. Please consider the benefits of face-to-face work time to your project.
  • 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.