Interdisciplinary Research Grants

Proposals must be routed and approved in NUgrant by 5:00pm, on the 2nd Friday in October.

DESCRIPTION:  Interdisciplinary Research Grants are designed for projects that encourage and enhance research, creative and scholarly activities. The goal is to enhance the competitiveness of applications for external funding and to foster innovative, collaborative, and timely ideas that inform existing and nascent strategic initiatives specified by the institution and/or funding agencies. Interdisciplinary Research Grants are available to scholars from all disciplines. Preference will be given to those who have not received a Grant-In-Aid, Faculty Seed grant or an Interdisciplinary grant from the Research Council during the previous two years.

AWARD AMOUNT: Typically, awards do not exceed $20,000 for one year. However, in an effort to encourage ambitious proposals and truly multi-disciplinary initiatives, the Research Council is now accepting requests for larger amounts of funding. Awards may be renewed competitively for one additional year.


  • Funding can support a variety of expenses, including but not limited to pilot projects, prototype development, demonstration of educational/public service programs, domestic travel, data collection and analysis, and graduate student salaries. Faculty salaries are not allowed. Funds cannot be used for construction, renovation, administrative assistance, international travel, or to purchase equipment. Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs are not allowed.
  • Award recipients are required to submit a proposal for competitive external funding within 12 months of the end of the grant period.


  • Applicants must be full-time (1.0 FTE) UNL faculty members on a continuous appointment (tenure-leading or tenured, with a rank of assistant professor or above), or a research (assistant/associate/full) professor or senior lecturer on the payroll of UNL. Visiting and adjunct appointees are excluded.  Other employees of the University (e.g., Extension Educators, Lecturers, Professors of Practice and Senior Research Associates) will be eligible to apply for Research Council funds only if they can document all of the following:
    • Their university appointment includes research responsibilities;
    • They are eligible to be a Principal Investigator on a federally funded project in their role as a university employee;
    • They have a multi-year appointment with the University such that they will have an appointment during the period when the proposed project will be conducted,  with the reasonable expectation of having this appointment should they apply for and receive a federal project;
    • There is evidence that they have a long-term commitment to the University;
    • Their supervising administrator writes a letter supporting their eligibility for Research Council funds.
  • A faculty member may submit only one application as principal investigator per funding cycle but is not limited as a co-investigator or team member on other projects.
  • UNL faculty can be awarded only one internal award from the Office of Research and Economic Development as a PI in any academic year.  Furthermore, UNL faculty cannot be awarded more than two internal grants as PI over any 4-year period.


  • Applications are reviewed by the Research Council. The Research Council makes funding recommendations to ORED, which will make the final selection.
  • Announcement of awards is usually in December following the submission deadline.
  • The anticipated award period is the calendar year (January 1 to December 31) starting after the announcement has been made.


  • Applicants should identify external sources of funding and specify a timeline for proposal submission that will be pursued as a result of this internal funding.
  • Recipients are expected to participate in at least one grant-writing seminar sponsored by the Office of Research and Economic Development during the award period if they have not already done so.
  • Recipients are expected to actively pursue external funding sources (grants and/or fellowships) and are encouraged to submit a proposal for external funding within 24 months of receipt of award (12 months after it ends).  Failure to do so may disqualify applicants from future competitions.
  • A one-page final report is required, due to the Office of Research and Economic Development (ORED) no later than 90 days after the conclusion of funding.
  • Recipients are expected to serve as reviewers on at least two ORED ad hoc review panels over a 4-year period.  Failure to do so may disqualify applicants from future competitions.


Proposals must address these criteria (100 point scale):

  • Scientific or scholarly merit and relevance (40 points)
  • Qualifications of project personnel (20 points)
  • Budget and facilities (20 points)
  • Potential for generating external funding (20 points)

In addition to these general criteria, Interdisciplinary Research proposals will be evaluated based on quality and the extent to which the project truly employs interdisciplinary and collaborative strategies.  For instance, investigators should indicate in the application if they belong to different colleges or academic units. In order to maximize chances for success, investigators are strongly encouraged to check the Commonly Asked Questions posted on the Research Council website at


Only electronic submissions via NUgrant will be accepted ( Paper applications will not be accepted. If you are a first-time user of NUgrant you can log in NUgrant using your Blackboard username and password.

Information required as part of the electronic NUgrant application:

1. 250-word abstract (using lay terms accessible to a broad audience).

2. 5-page proposal plus a 1-page bibliography (max.). The proposal must include sufficient detail to convince reviewers of the project’s scientific or scholarly merit and relevance, and written in lay language understandable to non-specialists. Please make the proposal and bibliography single-spaced, using an 11-point font and one-inch margins. The proposal should include information to demonstrate to reviewers its merit and potential for external funding, including the following elements:

a. Introduction

  • Pose a clear research question or topic that specifies the purpose of the project.
  • Situate the project in existing literature, providing background/rationale that addresses the significance of the project to the applicant’s field.
  • List the project’s short-term objectives and describe how the project fits into the applicant’s long-term plan for scholarship.
  • Explain how the proposed project fits with the applicant’s previous/other research.

b. Proposed plan

  • Describe data/information sources, method of analysis, and expectations regarding outcomes.
  • Identify specific research/scholarly activities to be conducted, and how these activities will enhance the applicant’s future research and scholarship.
  • Describe what the seed grant will accomplish that cannot be achieved through other means.

c. Timeline for external funding proposal submission (< 24 months)

  • Identify a specific external funding opportunity (program and funding agency), submissiondeadlines, and submission timeline.
  • Articulate the fit of the proposed project, explaining how the project aligns with the

3. List of Key Personnel:  Attach a 2-page biographical sketch/vitae summary for each faculty member involved in the project (including publications for the last 5 years).

4. Current & Pending Support:  List all funded and pending internal and external grants for all faculty members involved in the project, including title, award amount, funding period, and funding agency. Summarize outcomes of previous funding from the Office of Research and Economic Development (last five years, one page max.), including previous funding from the Research Council (Interdisciplinary Grants, Seed Grants, Grants-In-Aid). When submitting multiple proposals to the Research Council in one funding cycle, please explain how they are related. Include reviews from external funding applications where pertinent.

5. Project Budget:  1-page budget and 1-page detailed justification. Any travel by non-UNL faculty/staff must be clearly justified.

If you have questions about the submission process, please contact
Mari Greer in the Office of Research and Economic Development at
(402) 472-2851 or by e-mail at