Support for Multidisciplinary Proposals

Multidisciplinary research affords special opportunities to tackle complex problems. In an effort to facilitate the development of large, multi-investigator, interdisciplinary proposals the Office of Research Development (ORD) offers a range of staff services. Assistance includes: consulting with investigators at all stages of the proposal development process; institutional coordination; communicating with sponsors as appropriate; inter-institutional partnering; and proposal project management.

Multidisciplinary proposal development support includes:

Please contact Loren Walker in the Office of Research Development (577-3725) to discuss your multidisciplinary proposal plan.


Multidisciplinary Proposal Development Services:

Facilitate exploratory meetings

Research Development staff will coordinate exploratory meetings with potential collaborators and handle all the logistics, including scheduling participants and meeting rooms. To help frame the initial discussions, we can assemble materials such as handouts and slide presentations that are relevant to the specific opportunity and topic. We can also help conduct a preliminary analysis of the multidisciplinary funding opportunity by facilitating a discussion about internal strengths and weaknesses, opportunities to increase competitiveness through strategic alliances, and the anticipated external challenges. To provide additional intelligence about agency/program priorities, the Office of Research Development sponsors funding agency workshops and coordinates campus visits from program officers


Coordinate the proposal response

By carefully reviewing your planned proposal in terms of the agency's criteria, we will explore ways to ensure that your proposal suits the agency's mission and that your objectives are aligned with those of the sponsor. We can generate a proposal development timeline, identify milestones, assemble the necessary institutional information including alignment with diversity, education and outreach programs, and coordinate with off-campus partners. Based on the distribution of faculty investigators, the Research Development team will also pull together a proposal response team consisting of staff from ORD, OGCA, and the appropriate business managers and grants administrators within the respective colleges and departments. Advance formation of a proposal response team will facilitate institutional coordination and avoid unnecessary delays. On a case-by-case basis, outside contractors may be retained to provide development assistance and expert guidance for particularly large and strategically positioned proposals.


Government relations for Research

Campus-based government relations staff and our personnel in Washington D.C. can help gather intelligence about upcoming funding opportunities, arrange meetings with officials from the sponsor agencies, help generate interest in a project among potential funders, and coordinate with our federal and state government delegations as appropriate.


Review proposal drafts

As part of our coordinated proposal response support services, Research Development staff can review multidisciplinary proposal drafts for effectiveness of the argument, clarity, and stylistic consistency. Each section of the proposal (e.g., methods, evaluation, and budget) is considered in detail for consistency with agency guidelines.

To provide examples of effective proposal development, and with the permission of the principal investigators, we will work to secure copies of funded proposals. When a funding opportunity is recurring, these proposals will be specific to the program to which the multidisciplinary team will apply. In the case of new opportunities for which successful models do not yet exist, we will try to provide funded proposals whose characteristics most closely match the particular opportunity or project.


Help build inter-institutional partnerships

Research Development staff can coordinate exploratory meetings, draft statement of campus capabilities to share with prospective partners, and help identify collaborators from other campuses within the UMASS system and other universities for projects of mutual interest.


Environmental initiatives

The Environmental Institute (TEI) is an additional resource for multidisciplinary proposals focused on environmental research.  TEI provides a central coordinating structure reporting to the Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement to encourage and support collaborations across colleges and disciplines in environmental research and education.  For more information please visit the TEI website.