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Interdisciplinary Collaboratories

An Opportunity for Multiyear Funding For Faculty and Student Collaborations

Introduction from Chancellor Pradeep Khosla

Interdisciplinary scholarship is at the heart of the truly excellent research university. More and more frequently, solutions to the most challenging research problems require the collaborative talents of groups of investigators with a range of disciplinary skills. And yet, most graduate programs derive research support from single investigator sponsored research through contracts or grants from public or private sources. A new funding mode is therefore required for truly innovative collaboratives.

UC San Diego has set aside support for small groups who seek to undertake cooperative/collaborative research. The Collaboratories program is intended to provide fellowship support for groups of students (undergraduate, graduate or professional) who will work jointly under the supervision of an interdisciplinary faculty group. The aim is to encourage faculty to form and support such groups as they develop preliminary results sufficient to support applications for outside funding.

As Chancellor, I will fund small groups of faculty (3 to 5 PIs) willing to form a collaboratory to supervise the research of 3 to 5 students (full-time graduate, professional or part-time undergraduates) for up to two years. The funding will support full or partial fellowships for the jointly supported students. Faculty eligible to participate in the program will include all those who are eligible to chair doctoral committees. Departmental affiliations of faculty collaborators must include representation from at least two divisions and three departments. Supported students must be enrolled in at least two different departments, although not necessarily the same departments as the faculty members. Eligible students must have completed one academic year at UC San Diego (at the time of funding), must carry a GPA of at least a 3.00, and must be in good academic standing, as demonstrated by making expected progress toward a degree.

-Chancellor Pradeep Khosla

Application Requirements

All application materials should be sent in a single PDF. A list of the requested information is below:

  • Filled application
    • List of 3 to 5 cooperating faculty, along with departmental affiliations
    • List of 3 to 5 students to be supported, along with department affiliations, PIDs, and current GPA
  • A CV for each faculty and student participant listed (2 page max per person)
  • A jointly written abstract (maximum of 100 words)
  • Proposal with title, description of the work to be undertaken (2 page max, including references) in 12-point typeface
  • A first-year budget indicating the academic quarters for which support is requested and the proposed fellowship value (not to exceed $15,000 per graduate student and $7,500 per undergraduate student)
    • Please note this award is meant to fund student researchers ONLY, funding for new equipment is not an allowable cost under this award
  • Signed agreement that the supervising faculty jointly intend to seek outside support for the project to be undertaken by the interdisciplinary group 

*Effective March 1, 2010, no individual faculty member or student may be named on more than one proposal in any given round.* 

Download an application form (PDF)

Due Dates

Proposals will be due in the Graduate Division by March 1 or September 1 for projects to begin no earlier than June 1 or January 1, respectively. If the deadline falls on a weekend or University holiday, it will be extended to the next regular business day.

*Note: The deadline to submit new proposals for the June 1, 2018 to May 31, 2019

project period is April 10, 2018 at 4 p.m.


Awards will be made by the Dean of Graduate Studies on the basis of perceived merit in consultation with an advisory group of faculty that s/he will consult. Decisions will be announced 60 days after the relevant due date.

Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation will be based on the answers to the following questions.

  • How will this program support or advance the mission of the institution?
  • What will this program do that cannot be accomplished by existing schools and departments?
  • What assurances exist that the program will elicit strong faculty interest and engagement?
  • Have steps been taken to establish relationships between the center and affiliated or affected departments that will promote cooperation?
  • Has the group identified leadership capable of providing the intellectual vision, diplomacy, and necessary management skills?

*These questions are taken from a recent AAU Report of the Interdisciplinary Task Force.*

Reporting Requirements

Additional years of support are not automatic. The Principal Investigators will need to submit a progress report formally requesting a second year of funding.

Funding is contingent upon the faculty team making satisfactory progress towards obtaining research support from outside sponsors. 

One month prior to the end of the current project period, the faculty group must submit a progress report that

  • Jointly affirms that the supported students are making progress toward their degree programs or have graduated
    • It is allowed to add, replace, or remove other eligible students who are in good academic standing at the time of program renewal 
  • Requests the next year’s support through the budget form
  • Summarizes the progress that the group has made in securing extramural support
  • Any reprints or preprints resulting from the collaboration should also be included

Failure to submit this report by the due date will automatically terminate the proposed fellowship support for the following year. If funding is available, and the faculty group is making sufficient progress in their research program, the Dean may elect to renew funding.

Contact Information

Graduate Fellowship Advisor at 858-822-2938 or gradadvisor@ucsd.edu