Published: Feb. 17, 2020 By

Important dates and timeline

Update: Given the current circumstances and workload surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the RSO has decided to extend the IRT application deadline to April 15. It was originally slated for March 31. The RSO does still anticipate following the general timeline around selection we advertised originally, with the new IRTs still set to start on July 1.

The college's research leadership is encouraging any and all faculty – no matter their rank, department or research area – to submit a proposal for a new Interdisciplinary Research Theme to start this summer.

The internal submission process will be open Feb. 21 through March 31. Associate Dean for Research Massimo Ruzzene said the review process will occur in April and May with an expected two or three new themes starting July 1.

Ruzzene said proposal submissions should outline present college strengths, needs and opportunities to positively impact research efforts over the next five to 10 years.

“We are looking for papers with a maximum length of three pages that outline an approach to the research, organization and overall objectives of the theme,” he said. “They should also describe the anticipated research opportunities and the transformational societal impact of the work.”

Additionally, and new to the process this cycle, the college is asking faculty to consider submitting a notice of intent by March 1. While not required, this extra step will aid in early teaming between overlapping proposals.

“We are asking for 200 words in the body of an email that includes a title, faculty leads or affiliates, and an abstract,” Ruzzene said. “That will help us with organization early on.”

Of the six original themes, Multi-Functional Materials and Autonomous Systems will be continuing with the new additions.

The Interdisciplinary Research Themes were originally created with the goal of accelerating the college’s research impact in key areas. Seed funding distributed through the themes supports the development of new ideas, the formulation of research strategies, and the establishment of interdisciplinary collaborations in engineering-focused areas.

Proposal submission details

Notice of Intent (Optional)
Format: NOIs should provide the following information

  • Tentative title
  • Tentative list of faculty leads and affiliates
  • Abstract/synopsis (200 words maximum)

Submission: NOIs should be submitted in the body of an email to Bill Doe by March 1. Please also indicate if you are willing to publicly discuss your proposal with potential collaborators in the college during the application process.

IRT Proposals
Format: IRT proposals should be described in a short paper, maximum three pages long, that includes:

  • Title of Interdisciplinary Research Theme
  • Potential for societal impact and national relevance
  • Existing strengths in the college 
  • Gaps and needs to become world-class
  • Anticipated future relevant research opportunities
  • Potential CEAS (and other campus) faculty contributors

Submission: IRT proposals should be submitted through the secure submission platform, which will be open between Feb. 21 and March 31.