University of California, San Diego


February 28, 2008



I am writing to announce a research award program which I hope will stimulate new interdisciplinary research and teaching by our faculty. Scholarly opportunities increasingly lie at the interfaces of traditional disciplines, and UCSD has a rich tradition as exemplified by its many centers, institutes, and ORUs. To promote further the cross-disciplinary faculty interactions from which these interdisciplinary fields typically arise, and to engage a broader participation across disciplines, the Senior Vice Chancellor-Academic Affairs (SVCAA) is launching a new Interdisciplinary Research Award (IRA) program.

PROGRAM: The SVCAA will provide IRA awards of $10K per quarter to permit a faculty member to be based in another campus academic unit for one or more academic quarters in order to develop a new interdisciplinary project through collaboration with one or more colleagues in the host academic unit. During this period the faculty member will have their formal teaching commitment reduced in their home department, although they will be expected to have a presence in their home department by continuing committee service, graduate student mentoring, and attendance at appropriate departmental meetings and seminars. The home department will receive $7K of the award to cover instructional needs, the host academic unit will receive $1K to cover incidental expenses to accommodate the faculty member, and the faculty member will retain $2K for professional research expenses and activities related to their new project. Such extended on-campus visits could lead to, e.g., new interdisciplinary scholarly projects, undergraduate and graduate courses, and proposals for extramural funding to sustain the work that has been initiated. A succinct written report to the SVCAA on accomplishments is required at the end of the award period. The program will be evaluated annually to determine its effectiveness.

ELIGIBILITY: All UCSD General Campus Senate faculty members are eligible to apply for an IRA award. A visit may be proposed for up to three quarters to any department or unit, including ORUs, SIO, and SOM, which is outside their own academic division or discipline.

PROPOSALS: 2008-09 academic year proposals will be due by FRIDAY, APRIL 25, 2008, and awards will be announced in late May. For the first year of this program the SVCAA expects to make awards totaling $100K; the number of awards will depend on the number of quarters proposed by awardees. Instructions for submitting a proposal and an application form that may be downloaded or completed on-line can be found at http://academicaffairs.ucsd.edu/r/ira.htm. Faculty members are asked to briefly describe the nature of the project they will undertake in the host academic unit; any existing or previous collaborations; and the expected outcomes for themselves, for the home and host academic units, and for the campus. Activities might include auditing courses, working in labs, participating in research, reviewing literature, writing papers and proposals, organizing workshops or meetings, etc. The proposal application form requires statements of support from both the home and host academic units. The home department will state what teaching and service commitments are expected of the faculty member for the academic year. The host academic unit statement will acknowledge space and administrative support and an agreement by one or more of its faculty members that they will be collaborators and mentors to the visiting faculty member.

SELECTION: Proposals will be reviewed by a faculty committee overseen by the VC-Research, who will make recommendations for funding to the SVCAA. Criteria for successful proposals include:

* Potential to lead to new interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching, with preference given to projects that would most likely not occur without the IRA.

* Impact of the proposed project on the proposer, their home and host academic units, and on the campus

* Ability of the project to advance campus goals of diversity, innovation, and internationalization

Please feel free to contact Bonnie Horstmann (bhorstmann@ucsd.edu; X2-2042) or David Miller (dmiller@ucsd.edu; X4-3131) with any questions about this new program.

Paul W. Drake
Senior Vice Chancellor