Frequently Asked Questions

About Cluster Selection and Funding

Below are some questions that you may have about the clusters and our selection process. If you have additional inquiries or just want to learn about the Incubator in more detail, we’d love to chat or meet with you. Feel free to contact co-directors William Acree or Betsy Sinclair directly.

How many clusters will be selected?

We anticipate 7-10 clusters will be funded.

How long will clusters be active?

The first wave of clusters will be funded for a three-year period.

How much funding will each cluster receive?

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 range up to $350,000 for the three-year period. 

How many faculty or different disciplines need to be part of a cluster proposal to make it viable?

Clusters teams should consist of faculty from at least three distinct units at the university and may include undergraduate and graduate students as well as postdoctoral 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—should 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.  

If you have an idea that does not yet have a commitment from three distinct units, we would still love to talk to you. You can always feel free to reach out to co-directors Billy Acree and Betsy Sinclair to chat about your proposal and potential collaborators. 

Can clusters introduce collaborations outside Arts & Sciences or WashU?

Cluster collaborations can include faculty outside of Arts & Sciences, as well partners external to WashU, but Faculty Leads (PIs)—of which there must be at least two—should be tenure-track or research faculty whose primary appointment is in A&S.   

What kind of research will the clusters produce?

The overarching goal of the Incubator is to enable bold and transformative research via new collaborative relationships. Whether the questions addressed in these research collaborations are use-inspired, application-oriented, or grounded in basic research, critical to cluster research is a hypothesis for how a new collaborative team could converge upon new discoveries. 

What's the timeline for the proposal process?