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Seeding Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration (SIRC)

Proposal Guidelines

The HES Research and Graduate Studies Office believes that interdisciplinary collaboration among faculty is a key component of knowledge generation, research productivity, creative activities, and successful grant-seeking activities. To promote interdisciplinary collaborative work, we operate a small grants program—Seeding Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration (SIRC)—to stimulate and promote the work of new or recently-established collaborations. (NOTE: The use of the term ‘research” in SIRC is intended to be inclusive of all types of research and creative activity within HES.)

The objectives of SIRC link with the Chancellor’s MU Compact Plans, and specifically Scholarly Excellence: Research Growth Plans. It is expected, although not necessary, that the collaborations supported through SIRC enhance the pursuit of opportunities with these plans. SIRC focuses solely on objectives related to research, research funding, scholarship, and graduate education. 

SIRC also links to the Margaret Mangel Catalyst Fund awards. Whereas the latter are intended to directly fund research activities, SIRC focuses on the myriad of activities surrounding the establishment and effective operation of functioning research and creative collaborations. While funds can be used to support meta-research needs (e.g., grant-seeking expenses), they are not intended to fulfill applicants’ research funding needs.

Annually, SIRC funds approximately four collaborative groups of faculty with grants of up to $1,000 per group over 12 months. The funds may be used by the group for ANY University-appropriate purpose (other than faculty salaries and benefits) that members believe will enhance the likelihood of group continuity and productivity, stimulate joint activities (especially grant-seeking activities), lead to the submission of external grant proposals and other forms of research funding, and increase faculty productivity, research quality, and creative activity.

We recognize that this program is experimental and has limited resources.  We evaluate it annually to gauge its effectiveness and future, and we appreciate any comments or suggestions for improvement from HES faculty and staff.

In general, the following guidelines define eligible collaborations for this competition:

  1. Collaborations must involve at least two HES units, or one HES unit and at least one MU unit outside of HES. The total group size can be as small as three individuals and as large as seems feasible and reasonable to the group’s topic/goals, and can include any mixture of colleges and units.
  2. The collaboration should be new or recently organized. While we appreciate those collaborations that have been ongoing and productive over the years, the purpose of this program is to support new and recent (generally no more than two years of activity) collaborations.
  3. The collaboration can include any mixture of MU personnel (faculty, staff and students) and non-MU members within the minimums of (1) above.
  1. This competition is open to all HES tenure-track and non-tenure track faculty.
  2. Individual HES faculty may participate on more than one proposal but should serve as "lead coordinator" on only a single application.
  3. Faculty who have received SIRC applications in the past are welcome to apply for additional projects as long as all funds from previous projects have been spent and final reports completed.
  • September 26, 2018: SIRC announcement
  • November 26, 2018: Applications due
  • December 15, 2018: Awards announced
  • January 1, 2019: Project period begins
  • December 31, 2019: Project period ends
  • January 31, 2020: Final reports due

Please send an electronic copy to the Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies, 118 Gwynn (

Applications should comprise the following:

  1. Cover letter of interest signed by all HES faculty member(s) in group and their unit chair(s)
  2. Brief narrative (no more than three pages) that addresses the following:
    1. Research topic
    2. Names and affiliations of collaborators (including "lead collaborator" for purposes of this application)
    3. Importance of research topic
    4. Expected collaborative activities/goals over the period of January 1, 2019 – December 31, 2019
    5. Products expected (grant applications, publications, events, etc.) during 2019
    6. Potential benefits for HES faculty and college
    7. Total funds requested ($500-$1,000) and brief plans for use of funds
    8. Long-term (2-4 year) expectations for group
  3. A biographical paragraph on each participating HES faculty and names/affiliations of non-HES faculty and other participants

Successful applicants will have access to their funds during calendar year 2019. Uses of funds are very flexible as long as they adhere to standard University guidelines for grant or departmental funds and promote group activities (including meeting, writing, workshops, research, travel, grant submission and so on). However, no SIRC funds can be used for faculty salaries or fringe benefits.

Proposals will be reviewed by a committee consisting of the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, HES Associate Dean for Extension, and possible outside evaluators.

We are particularly interested in collaborations that show a high probability of leading to extramural research funding, scholarship, and creative activity. In general, support will not be given solely to extend or supplement existing funded research ideas or projects. Instead, proposals should seek to initiate new research ideas benefitting from the synergies of interdisciplinary groups.

  1. Degree of interdisciplinary involvement
  2. Importance of research topic
  3. Relationship to wider research and creative agendas and priorities in HES and MU
  4. Feasibility of calendar year goals and activities
  5. Potential to generate research funding, scholarship, and creative activity
  6. Potential for long-term involvement and collaborative productivity
  1. Grants will be managed in combination between units and the R&GS Office. Any funds not used by December 31, 2019, will revert back to the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies.
  2. The PI will meet with the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies mid-year for a project update and will submit a brief final report on the project by January 31, 2020.
  3. The final report must contains 100-word impact statements of the project outcomes that are ready to be published in the College news outlet.

If you have any questions concerning the SIRC program, please contact Jung Ha-Brookshire, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, 118 Gwynn Hall, 882-5367,

Past Recipients

Faculty Member Proposal Unit Collaborators
Jacquelyn Benson Examining the meaning of late-life repartnering in the context of caregiving. HDFS Dr. Jacquelyn Benson of the University of Missouri and Dr. Chaya Koren of the University of Haifa
Jean Ispa and Gus Carlo Maternal Risk, Parenting, and Mother-Child Conversations in Latino and African American Families SSW Jean Ispa (Department of Human Development and Family Studies; Lead Collaborator) Gustavo Carlo (Department of Human Development and Family Science) Mansoo Yu (School of Social Work)
Kimberly Keller Needs Assessment to Support Broader Impacts, Program Development and Evaluation NEP Human Environmental Sciences; Nutrition and Exercise Physiology/HES Extension: Kimberly Keller (lead collaborator), Jo Britt‐Rankin, Rebecca Mott; Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources; Agricultural Education and Leadership: Anna Ball, Jon Simonsen

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