Program Description

Interdisciplinary Leadership Research (ILR) seed grants are specifically aimed to stimulate inter- and multidisciplinary research, scholarship and creative works on the topic of leadership.

Grants should explore new areas of research with high impact and future funding potential or projects that are of high-value to the understanding of leader development within the university context (such as developing leadership among our students, faculty, within STEM, etc.).

Seed grants support projects that take investigators in creative, and sometimes high-risk, high-reward directions including team development proposals for future large collaborative research projects. Proposed projects may take a variety of forms, but must represent an investment in the future research, scholarly, or creative vitality of the university.

We encourage proposals from all disciplines at CU Boulder including:

  • Arts & Humanities
  • Basic Physical Sciences
  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Education
  • Engineering & Applied Sciences
  • Geological & Environmental Sciences
  • Social Sciences & Professional Schools
  • Student Life

Past Recipients

Congratulations to the following awardees of the Interdisciplinary Leadership Research Seed Grant!

2021 Recipients

Kira PasquesiProgram Director, Leadership Studies Minor

John GriffinProfessor of Political Science

Roudy HildrethExecutive Director, CU Engage • Faculty Affiliate, Educational Foundations, Policy & Practice

Fall 2020 Recipients

Dr. Deb Palmer, Professor of Equity, Bilingualism, & Biliteracy and Alex McGrathGraduate Research Assistant and Instructor

Dr. Sabrina Volpone, Assistant Professor of Organizational Leadership & Information Analytics

Spring 2020 Recipient

Peter H. HuangProfessor and DeMuth Chair at the University of Colorado Law School 

Recent Works:


All CU Boulder faculty and staff who hold an appointment of half-time or greater are eligible to apply. Students are eligible to receive funding, however they must be sponsored by half-time or greater CU Boulder faculty or staff. The faculty or staff member must be the author of the application. The lead PI should be employed by CU Boulder. Co-PIs are allowed, and can be funded as long as they are CU Boulder faculty. Collaborators from other institutions are also permitted, but cannot receive funding from the program. *Postdoctoral Fellows and RA/SRAs in short-term, transitional postdoctoral training positions should not apply as the PI.

Additional eligibility information:

  • Applicants may submit no more than one proposal as a PI.
  • Projects with a primary focus on curriculum development are not eligible.
  • Faculty course or teaching buy-out is not an eligible expense.

Application Details, Process & Requirements

Requests will be accepted starting on August 28, 2023 and closing on October 15, 2023. 

General Information

  • Award Amount: $5,000
  • Award Duration: Up 12 months (after which a 2-page summary of the work must be submitted to the Center for Leadership)
  • Funding Offices: Office of the Chancellor and the Center for Leadership
  • Seed grant proposals are submitted via email 

Proposal Requirements

Proposals should be only 2-pages, use clear writing appropriate for non-specialists, and make a strong case for the importance of the project to reviewers outside the discipline. Proposal documents should be in Arial 11-point type, 1.5 space, with at least 0.5" margins.

All applications must be fully anonymized so the PIs/researchers and departments cannot be identified. Include in your email two separate files – the anonymized file and a file that includes the PI's vita and collaborators.

  • 2-page anonymized proposal file: Describe the aims, significance, methods, and expected outcomes of the project, highlighting any new or creative directions, future payoff potential, or value/impact (especially in the case of arts and humanities proposals). For relevant disciplines, describe why the concept will be competitive for future external sponsor funding; identify specific external programs to be targeted for future funding requests. Include a brief description for how the money will be used (it can be used for salary, students, equipment but not course buyouts). The maximum length is 2 pages, including tables, figures, charts, references, and any other supporting information. Please save the file (which should be fully anonymized) with a couple of key words such as Undergrad_leaders.pdf.
  • Investigator file(s) & PI Curriculum Vitae: You may include a 2-page vita for each of the scientists on the team.

Review Process

The Center for Leadership Executive Committee will review applications, provide comments, convene to discuss proposals and recommend proposals for funding. Proposals will be evaluated in three primary areas: 

  • Intellectual Merit: Merit and quality of research, scholarship, or creative work; potential to contribute value to the respective discipline and advance knowledge (particularly factoring in the novel approach to concept(s) for relevant disciplines).
  • Impact: Potential to benefit discipline(s), society, or vitality of the university’s research, scholarship, or creative work.
  • Inter / Multidisciplinarity: Potential to foster collaborations and partnerships across disciplines; team development for future collaborations.
  • The potential to attain future funding will also be a consideration in the review process for appropriate disciplines.

If you have any additional questions, please contact