WPI’s Vice Provost for Research in collaboration with Deans and Department Heads as well as select partner institutions provides support for new and early-stage interdisciplinary research collaborations through a number of grant programs.

TRIADs: Interdisciplinary Seed Grant Pilot

(Transformative Research and Innovation, Accelerating Discovery)

WPI is piloting an exciting seed grant program, which will support new research projects that involve faculty from more than one department and are performed by collaborative, interdisciplinary teams.  It is designed to inspire teams of faculty to pursue inter/cross/trans-disciplinary projects and move into new and innovative research directions, for which they will later apply for external funding.

FAQs (pdf)

  • Who is eligible to participate?

    All full-time faculty may propose or join projects.  Each faculty member may only participate in one TRIAD that is submitted.

     

  • What kind of projects can be proposed?

    Any project that is a new interdisciplinary research collaboration.  The members on the research team cannot be currently collaborating on a funded project.

     

  • Where does the funding come from?

    Team members are expected to contribute a third of their portion (i.e., $6,667 or $1,667); the remaining two thirds are provided by the respective department head and the VPR.  A fourth member may join a team without funding. 

  • What can I charge to a project?

    At least 50% of the funding has to be used for student or post-doc support. The rest can be used for what is typically charged to a grant, except for faculty salary. Tuition and indirect costs are waived.

  • Are there deliverables?

    A brief final report is required for each project, and at least one member of the team must participate in the symposium.  All teams are expected to submit a minimum of one proposal to an external funding agency and/or demonstrate progress toward the gold standard of scholarly excellence in their field.

  • How are winning projects selected?

    There is no peer review; instead a semi-random selection process is used, a process that ensures that funded projects meets the administrative requirements of the program and guarantees portfolio diversity.

  • How do I propose a TRIAD project?

    Create a new project from the TRIADS Opportunities tab on top of the e-Projects site.

     

    This will open the following form:

     

    You will need to enter a title and a description of your project. Add keywords to your project description to make searching for projects easier for potentially collaborators.

    Change the project status to “proposed”.  Pick the size ($15 or $60k).

    Add a picture.  High quality and close to square pictures work best.  Please note that you may have to wait a bit for the picture to load. 

    Then click on “Create Seed Project and become a member”.  You will be automatically listed as the PI.  If you later decide you want to join a different project, you can do so by removing yourself from the project or deleting the project.

  • How do I create a TRIAD?

    You, as PI, need to find two partners. At least one needs to be from a different department. You can search for collaborators within the system.  Each faculty profile has keywords that are searchable.

     

     Once out have found colleagues to join your project, add them on the Members Screen. 

  • How do I join a TRIAD as collaborator?

    If you want to join a project, you can search for projects within the system. The project descriptions are searchable.  If interested in a project, such interest can be expressed on the project’s site; it is also possible to comment.  Alternatively, such communications can happen outside of the system.

  • How are TRIADs finalized/submitted?

    Collaborators can be interested in more than one project.  PIs can also be interested in projects other than their own. There will be a deadline, though, before which everybody has to commit to be a member or PI of only one project.  At that point the TRIAD is formed and the proposed project submitted.  If you are the PI, you need to change the project status to “submitted”.  The deadline triad formation and project submission is October 21.

  • Who do I contact with further questions?

    Antje Harnisch, Assistant VPR, aharnisch@wpi.edu or 508 831 4196

WPI-UMass Lowell Collaborative Seed Funding

To support early-stage research collaboration between faculty at the two universities, the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UMass Lowell) and Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) have partnered to award more than $111,000 in seed funding to six different teams, focusing on work ranging from human-robot collaboration to cancer detection and rehabilitation for stroke patients.  A description of the projects can be found here.

No one university can address the pressing problems the world needs solved. We are fortunate in New England to be close to a wealth of institutions with world-class researchers with whom we can collaborate.
Bogdan Vernescu
Vice Provost for Research