Clusters teams must consist of faculty from at least three distinct units at the university and may include undergraduate and graduate students as well as post-doctoral fellows. Teams are encouraged to include external partners (local, national, or international) as well. Faculty Leads (PIs)—of which there must be at least two—can be tenure-track or research faculty whose primary appointment is in A&S. Clusters are also encouraged to include Teaching, Research and Practice faculty and team members who hold joint appointments or primary positions in other Washington University schools.
The overarching goal of the Incubator is to enable transformative research and education via new collaborative relationships. Whether the questions addressed in these research collaborations are use-inspired, application-oriented, or grounded in basic research, critical to a successful proposal is a hypothesis for how a new collaborative team could converge upon new discoveries.
We hope all clusters will be able to produce high-impact public-facing deliverables that drive new research directions. Successful proposals will articulate what these may be. Whether these are new models for conferences/workshops, strategies to engage government and non-profits, or other kinds of public-facing scholarship, a successful proposal will imagine how the public-facing deliverables will not only increase the societal impact of the collaboration but also increase the academic visibility of the collaborative research.
All clusters must develop at least one new undergraduate or graduate course connected to the cluster theme or problem. Additionally, cluster teams may choose to develop a series of revised existing and/or new undergraduate and graduate courses related to the cluster theme or problem. Courses offered within a cluster framework will be cross-listed across A&S departments represented by participating cluster faculty. We encourage team-teaching configurations, strategies that promote transdisciplinary conversations, and innovative pedagogical approaches.
Clusters will have the overarching goal of establishing novel transdisciplinary connections. Through these connections, teams will pursue clear research outcomes. Examples of these might include:
- submitting major grant proposals for foundation funding or seeking industry / external support to advance or extend a cluster’s research/learning projects
- completing highly visible scholarly products (journal articles, white papers, edited or co-authored books, for instance) and research and creative interventions that reach a variety of publics (cluster teams may work with the Program in Public Scholarship Initiative to help with this goal, especially public-facing products)
- designing, developing, and disseminating digital media, tools, and analyses
- hosting experimental/experiential research symposia or conferences that bring scholars to WashU and lead to durable relationships and stronger scholarly communities
- promoting undergraduate and graduate student research related to the cluster theme at conferences, across the university, and in public-facing venues
- developing new cluster-related courses
- developing analytical tools and frameworks that can be patented and/or lead to commercial viability
- supporting graduate training to broaden the impact of the cluster’s work
- creating pathways to sustain the cluster focus and research energy beyond the Incubator funding period
NOTE: These metrics will be part of full proposals developed over the summer and are included here only to guide cluster teams in their thinking.
We anticipate that the Incubator will fund a set of the most innovative and bold cluster proposals. Not all clusters will receive the same amount of funding; funding will be appropriate for the scope and needs of each proposal. We recognize that clusters may have different funding requirements for their development and success, which may include, for example, post-doctoral research support, travel components, site visits, equipment or data sets, data or technology support and infrastructure, course development for cluster-related classes, and more. Funding per cluster will be up to $350,000 for the three-year period.