Interdisciplinary Research Grants

The Provost, in coordination with the Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement and the Deans, is offering Interdisciplinary Research Grants (IRG) to support interdisciplinary activities at UMass Amherst. The goals of the Interdisciplinary Research Grants are to empower creativity, strengthen the campus’ areas of excellence, promote equitable collaborations, and attract external funding and other forms of recognition across our colleges and schools. 

Interdisciplinary Research Grants are offered to teams of faculty members and librarians from at least two different schools/colleges within the University. The projects proposed by each team are expected to represent a new direction or aspect of interdisciplinary collaboration, align with one of the themes of interdisciplinary excellence, and lead to significant and tangible outcomes that support continued momentum. These grants will build upon our existing campus strengths, such as data science, health and wellbeing, social justice and equity, sustainability, technology, arts, and society.

The grants are offered in two categories: up to $20,000 or up to $50,000. Submissions are closed for 2024. 

How to Apply: 

Submit your application through InfoReady. 

Eligibility:

Proposers must be faculty member or librarian at UMass Amherst with appointments that include research as an assigned responsibility.

Funds: 

Awards may be given in two sizes, $20,000 and $50,000. Typically, at least half of the funds are expected to be used for work conducted by a UMass student (undergraduate, graduate) or a post-doctoral researcher. Funds can also be used for research support, such as equipment, supplies, core facility time, staff support, or travel. Funds cannot be used for faculty or librarian salaries. 

Review Process: 

Applications will be reviewed by a committee consisting of the Provost, the Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement, and all Deans from schools/colleges from which applications were received (or their respective designees). The committee will select the proposals to receive funding, and the level of funding will be based on their evaluation and the availability of funds. 

Award Conditions: 

Teams that accept funding are required to:
•    Conduct the proposed activities within 12 months of receipt of funds. A no-cost extension for an additional six months may be requested.
•    Deliver a brief final written report on the project and its tangible outcomes submitted to the Provost.
•    Give a presentation on the work at a symposium on campus.

For More Information: 

Please direct questions about this program to Tilman Wolf, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs: wolf@umass.edu


2024 Interdisciplinary Research Grant Projects and Team Leads: 

A Nation on the Precipice: Incorporating & Understanding the Voices of an Increasingly Diverse Electorate Through the American Multiracial Panel Study (AMPS)
- Seth Goldman, Communication
- Tatishe Nteta, Political Science
- Linda Tropp, Psychological and Brain Sciences

Assessing salt marsh vegetation health and wetland sustainability using SAR and optical remote sensing
- Qian Yu, Earth, Geographic, and Climate Sciences 
- Paul Siqueira, Electrical and Computer Engineering
- Brian Yellen, Earth, Geographic, and Climate Sciences

Bio-inspired Footwear: Variable stiffness lattice design shoes to mitigate knee pain in knee osteoarthritis
- Seth Donahue, Biomedical Engineering 
- Katherine Boyer, Kinesiology 

Collaborative for Urban Imagination
- Pari Riahi, Architecture 
- Samantha Solano, Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning 
- Brian Kane, Environmental Conversation
- Yahya Modarres-Sadeghi, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering

Feminist Family Studies: A Novel Framework for Interdisciplinary Justice-Oriented Research and Collaboration
- Maria Galano, Psychology and Brain Sciences
- Kiran Asher, Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies 
- Kirsten Leng, Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies 

Forecasting antibiotic resistance using biophysics and machine learning
- Anna Green, Information and Computer Sciences
- Jianhan Chen, Chemistry 
- Lulu Kang, Mathematics and Statistics

Leveraging Large Language Models to Provide Clinically Feasible Tools for Assessing Discourse in Individuals with Communication Impairments
- Jacquie Kurland, Speech, Language, and Hearing Science
- Anna Liu, Mathematics and Statistics 
- Brendan O'Connor, Computer and Information Sciences 

Processes of Medical-Legal Communication among Emergency Nurses in States with Abortion Bans
- Lynnette Arnold, Anthropology 
- Lisa Wolf, Nursing    

The Role of Self-Censorship and Fear of Social Isolation in Undergraduate College Students’ JEDI Conversations
- Musbah Shaheen, Educational Policy, Research, and Administration 
- Seth Goldman, Communication    

Ultrafast Quantum Networks for Utility-scale Quantum Information Processing
- Rajveer Nehra, Electrical and Computer Engineering
- Don Towsley, Computer and Information Sciences   


2023 Interdisciplinary Research Grant Projects and Team Leads: 

A Step into the Future: A Neural Investigation of Robotic Exoskeleton-Assisted Walking 
- Meghan Huber, Assistant Professor, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, College of Engineering 
- Douglas Martini, Assistant Professor, Kinesiology, School of Public Health and Health Sciences 

Analyzing Cross-country Bias in News Coverage of International Conflicts and Disasters 
- Przemyslaw Grabowicz, Research Assistant Professor, Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences 
- Paul Musgrave, Assistant Professor, Political Science, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences 
- Brendan O'Connor, Associate Professor, Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences 
- Ethan Zuckerman, Associate Professor, School of Public Policy, College of Social & Behavioral Sciences, Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences 

Bio-Inspired Building Facades for Sustainable Living in Extreme Climates 
- Trisha Andrew, Associate Professor, Chemistry, College of Natural Sciences 
- Carolina Aragon, Associate Professor, Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences 
- Ho-Sung Kim, Senior Lecturer, Environmental Conservation, College of Natural Sciences 

How Can You Mend a Broken Heart? Molecules to Modulate Cardiac Muscle Myosin Function 
- Edward (Ned) Debold, Professor, Kinesiology, School of Public Health and Health Sciences 
- Dhandapani Venkataraman, Professor, Chemistry, College of Natural Sciences 

Individualized Blood Pressure (BP) Management Intervention for Underserved Adults at Community Health Centers: Use of Innovative BP Management Protocol and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)-based Lifestyle Modification Education 
- Jeungok Choi, Associate Professor, Elaine Marieb College of Nursing 
- Yossi Chait, Professor, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, College of Engineering 
- Christopher Martell, Director of Psychological Services Center, Lecturer, Psychological and Brain Sciences, College of Natural Sciences 

Investigating Data Literacy Education Using Archaeology (IDEA)      
- Rebecca Reznik-Zellen, Head, Science and Engineering Library, University Libraries 
- Michelle Trim, Senior Lecturer II, Informatics Program Director, Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences 
- Anthony Tuck, Professor and Chair, Classics, College of Humanities and Fine Arts

Investigating SUELO (Sustainable Urban Agriculture for Environmental Justice and Landscape Observations of Carbon Cycling and Water Dynamics) 
- Christian Guzman, Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering         
- Rachel Hestrin, Assistant Professor, Stockbridge School of Agriculture, College of Natural Sciences 

Is “Feeling the Beat” Culturally Dependent? Computational, Behavioral, and Neurophysiological Analyses of Meter in Four Musical Traditions 
- Chris White, Assistant Professor, Music and Dance, College of Humanities and Fine Arts 
- Lisa Sanders, Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences, College of Natural Sciences 

Political Misinformation and Disinformation Through Social Media Biases 
- Przemyslaw Grabowicz, Research Assistant Professor, Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences 
- Monideepa Tarafgar, Charles J. Dockendorff Endowed Professor, Isenberg School of Management 
- Jennifer Lundquist, Professor and Senior Associate Dean of Research & Faculty Development, Sociology, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences 
- Anthony Paik, Professor and Secretary of Faculty Senate, Sociology, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences 

Racial Equity for Hispanic Mathematics Students, Grades 5-8 
- Beverly Woolf, Research Professor, Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences  
- Marialuisa Di Stefano, Assistant Professor, Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies, College of Education
- Donald Tomaskovic-Devey, Professor, Sociology, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
- Ivon Arroyo, Associate Professor, College of Education 

The Anthropocene Lab     
- Malcolm Sen, Associate Professor, English, College of Humanities and Fine Arts         
- Thad Miller, Associate Professor, School of Public Policy, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences 
- Robert DeConto, Professor, School of Earth and Sustainability, College of Natural Sciences         
- Regine Spector, Associate Professor, Political Science, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences 
- Sandy Litchfield, Architecture, College of Humanities and Fine Arts 
- Marjorie Rubright, Associate Professor, English, College of Humanities and Fine Arts 

The Souls of Black Folk and the Foundations of African American Studies: Assessing the Training of High School Educators 
- Toussaint Losier, Associate Professor, Afro-American Studies, College of Humanities and Fine Arts         
- Keisha Green, Associate Professor, Teacher Education & School Improvement, College of Education 
- Yemisi Jimoh, Professor, Afro-American Studies, College of Humanities and Fine Arts
- Yolanda Covington-Ward, Professor and Chair, Afro-American Studies, College of Humanities and Fine Arts

The Use of Eye-tracking Technology to Measure Cognitive-Behavioral Processes During Real-World IV Medication Administration 
- Karen Giuliano, Professor, Elaine Marieb College of Nursing         
- Shannon Roberts, Assistant Professor, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, College of Engineering 
- Frank Sup, Associate Professor, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, College of Engineering 

Who’s Driving?: Multimodal Assessment of Driver’s Sense of Agency During Vehicle Automation     
- Youngbin Kwak, Assistant Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences, College of Natural Sciences 
- Anuj Pradhan, Assistant Professor, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, College of Engineering 
- Daeyoung Kim, Professor, Mathematics and Statistics, College of Natural Sciences
- Joonkoo Park, Associate Professor, Psychological and Brain Science, College of Natural Sciences, Commonwealth Honors College 


First established in spring 2020 as the Interdisciplinary Faculty Research Awards (IFRA), the program was paused due to impacts of the COVID 19 pandemic.

2020 Interdisciplinary Faculty Research Awardees:

  • Cathal Kearney, Meghan Huber, and Ilia Karatsoreos: A Stitch in Time: Synchronizing Wound Healing with our Body Clock
  • Carrie-Ellen Briere, David Sela, and Joseph Jerry: Cellular Components of Human Milk: An Examination of their Role in Infant Health and Development
  • Torrey Trust, Allison Butler, and Robert Maloy: Civics, Government, and Media Literacy Learning for Middle and High School Students and Teachers
  • Peng Bai, Markos Katsoulakis, and Sarah Perry: Designing an AI framework for high-throughput materials development
  • Michael Zink, Senay Solak, and Daiheng Ni: Dynamic route optimization for autonomous aerial vehicles in inclement weather with socio-economic cost considerations
  • Memnun Seven, Mark C. Pachucki, and Raeann LeBlanc: Evaluation of family and community social network characteristics among high-risk family members to improve cancer-related health behaviors
  • Forrest J. Bowlick, Camille Barchers, and Rebecca Seifried: Georectifying the MacConnell Air Photo Collection for Interdisciplinary Research and Collaboration
  • Yu Chen, Xian Du, and Zhichao Jiang: Intelligent 3D Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) for Assessment of Transplant Organ Viability
  • Caitlyn Butler, Anne Gershenson, and Manasa Kandula: Interdisciplinary Active Colloids in Biofilms
  • Noy Holland, Curt Griffin, and Rachel Green: Love What Lives, Save What's Left
  • Michael Krezmien, Andrew Lan, and John Francisco: Monitoring INdividual Differences in MAth Problem Solving (MIND-MAPS): Using Technology to Transform Math Learning for Incarcerated Learners
  • Elizabeth Harvey, Nilanjana Dasgupta, and Sarah Fefer: Racial differences in parent-teacher perceptions of childhood ADHD symptoms: An examination of the role of stereotypes and prejudice
  • Elizabeth Bertone-Johnson, Lynnette Leidy Sievert, and Tara Mandalaywala: Social touch interventions to reduce stress, anxiety and depression in young adult women
  • Pari Riahi, Yahya Modarres-Sadeghi, and Ali Sarvghad: Sustaining the Creative Arc: Implementing a Cross-Disciplinary Analysis and Problem-Solving Method for Design Thinking
  • Katherine Reeves, Guodong Zhang, and Zhenhua Liu: Triclosan exposure and risk of colon disease in women
  • Brenda Philips, David Jensen, and Qian Yu: Understanding and predicting human response to personalized severe weather warnings for urban flash floods