Interdisciplinary Innovation Initiative

The application period is closed. 

Program DescriptionInterdisciplinary Innovation Initiative

The Interdisciplinary Innovation Initiative (I3) is designed to stimulate innovation, capacity-building and sustainability of interdisciplinary research and scholarly activity at KSU around the following signature areas:

  • Biomedical and Health Services
  • Computing and Technology
  • Safe and Sustainable Communities
  • Human Development and Well-Being

Up to $200,000 will be available to support interdisciplinary teams of KSU faculty and students (undergraduate and graduate students), possibly working with external collaborators from other universities, the community, government agencies, or the private sector, who submit compelling proposals to address key aspects of these broad themes. Proposals must describe work that will position teams to be competitive for externally funded multi-investigator awards.

Faculty can be part of an interdisciplinary team on multiple I3 proposals - there is no limit as long as each proposal is different.

Once you have submitted your Letter of Intent Form and Proposal Form by the deadlines below,  please consider this your confirmation notice that your form(s) have been received.


Awards may range from $25,000 to $75,000 per grant proposal, with specifications provided in an itemized budget and justification. Funds may be used to support research and scholarly activities, such as: salary support of key KSU personnel (faculty summer salary capped at one month/year); stipend support for students; payment of participant incentives; purchase of datasets to conduct data analyses; data collection costs (which may include travel if necessary); limited compensation for external collaborators; and/or equipment/supply purchases. However, these funds are not intended to support planning for or travel to conferences.  Awarded funds will be available July 1, 2020, and must be expended by June 30, 2022.

Letter of Intent

Teams must submit a short Letter of Intent (LOI) to the Office of Research via the I3 LOI Form by 5 pm March 23, 2020. It should include: proposal title; name and email of the contact PI (for communication with the Office of Research); names, affiliations, and ranks/titles of all other KSU faculty and external collaborators (if applicable); a brief but clear description of the proposal’s overall goals and approaches (maximum 300 words); and a proposed budget amount. This Notice of Intent will be used for review planning purposes only; however, a completed Notice of Intent must be received by the Office of Research in order to be able to submit the full proposal. 

Full proposal

Submit full proposals via the I3 Proposal Form by 11:59 PM April 27, 2020. Late proposals will not be considered. Proposals should include:

  • Project title.
  • Identification of the relevant research theme(s).
  • Name, affiliation, rank, and email of the contact PI (must be a single individual).
  • Name, affiliation, rank/title, and email of all other collaborators at KSU or elsewhere.
  • Project summary, written in lay terms and not to exceed 300 words.
    • Research strategy should include the following (not to exceed 5 single-spaced pages with minimum 11-point font and one-inch margins): 
      1. Significance/Innovation/Broader Impacts: What research question/problem/issue is being addressed and why is this important?  What is unique about this project?  How will this project go about addressing the research question/problem/issue differently?  What is the overall goal of this interdisciplinary project? What will be the overall impacts of this project, for KSU, the community, the discipline, the field, etc.?
      2. Intellectual Merit/Approach:  In detail, what will the team do? How does this project build on prior interactions/collaborations/research/projects? What are the anticipated outcomes? How will these outcomes be measured/assessed?
      3. Resources/Facilities: What resources/facilities/expertise are needed to successfully complete this project?  Are the necessary resources/facilities/expertise already in place?  If not, how will these resources/facilities/expertise be obtained?  Be as specific as possible. 
    • References.  No limit.

    • For each PI and each collaborator (KSU and non-KSU) listed on the project, a brief description of their expertise/experience/accomplishments relevant to the proposed project. [Faculty may participate in more than one I3 proposal.] (Maximum 1/2 page description for each PI and/or collaborator).

    • List of future/potential external funding opportunities that the team intends to pursue as the result of this I3 grant.  Please include title of funding opportunity, funding source, anticipated application deadlines, and links to RFPs if applicable. (Maximum 1 page).

    • Itemized budget and budget justification explaining exactly how the grant funds will be spent.  If additional funding is needed to complete this project, please include where will this additional funding comes from (i.e., in-kind support, cost-sharing, other grants, etc.)(Maximum 1 page).

    • Timeline covering the entire project period. Please include all key activities, personnel responsible for each activity, and time frame for completion. (Maximum 1 page).

Contact Email for Questions

For any questions related to the I3 funding opportunity or for allowable expenses, please contact Dr. Evelina Sterling, Director of Research Development and Strategic Initiatives at

Review Process

Proposals will be reviewed by an advisory group to the Office of Research, the Research Advisory Committee (RAC), which includes Assistant/Associate Deans for Research, Deans, or their Designees. Review criteria will include:

  1. the degree to which the proposal addresses an interdisciplinary research theme(s), based on NSF’s merit review criteria (
    1. intellectual merit - the knowledge created by the research; and
    2. broader impacts - the societal benefits that would accrue from the research investment;
  2. the extent of the interdisciplinary collaboration;
  3. the strength of the team and its leadership; and
  4. the specificity with which the team has identified and researched a subsequent external funding target.

Because we extended the deadline and due to COVID-19, we have pushed back the review process (including eliminating the oral presentations for the semi-finalists). All the proposals are currently under review by the review panels. We hope to have the finalists announced by mid-June.