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Chancellor Unveils New Award Program to Boost Team-Based Research

Pamela Cosman stands in front of classroom of students working on computers.
As an example of the types of interdisciplinary projects the award is looking to foster, Pamela Cosman, a tenured faculty member with the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering and director of the NeuroDiversity in Tech internship program at the university’s Qualcomm Institute, worked across disciplines with researchers in the Department of Sociology. The team studied how gender affects the hiring process for jobs in STEMM (adds "medicine" to the familiar acronym). Read more of her story here: Pamela Cosman Bridges Disciplines to Build a More Efficient, Equitable Future. Photo by Alex Matthews/QI.

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UC San Diego’s excellence in research, innovation, and discovery, has a new tool, the new Chancellor’s Interdisciplinary Team Catalyst Awards. The awards aim to foster sustainable, interdisciplinary collaborations and to assist teams in developing tailored funding strategies for grand scientific and societal challenges.

“Our aim is always to empower and equip our world-class faculty with the tools to be not only competitive but triumphant in securing research dollars,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “In the pursuit of knowledge and funding, collaboration is key, and together, we can successfully navigate the intricate landscape of government research and development funding.”

The Team Catalyst Awards will function as an internal funding source to support the creation and sustainability of team-based research projects over a 2-to-5-year horizon. The awards are geared towards teams that can build on university strengths and demonstrate how the funding will enhance their competitiveness in pursuing external funding beyond single-investigator awards.

Proposals are required to outline a compelling research direction that requires integrated, multidisciplinary expertise, and present a milestone-based plan with clear goals. 

“It always holds true that we go farther together. Our research community demonstrates time and time again that its greatest strength is through dynamic, interdisciplinary engagement,” said Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation Corinne Peek-Asa. “From developing better microelectronics to power technology to building an international telescope that could reveal the origin of time itself, there are no limits to what we can accomplish when we work together.”

In the pursuit of knowledge and funding, collaboration is key, and together, we can successfully navigate the intricate landscape of government research and development funding.
Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla

Competitive advantage

The university encourages the engagement of relevant partners to complement the strengths of the initial team. Pre-application consultation with Research Development is highly recommended to develop more competitive applications.

Initial awards for team projects will range from a total of $30,000 - $75,000 for a two-year project period, with an estimated four to six awards to be granted. The awards will be managed as cooperative agreements for scopes of work defined in partnership with the Office of Research and Innovation. 

Eligibility for the awards is limited to applicants holding active, full-time appointments with automatic principal investigator eligibility.

For more details on how to submit and what details to include in proposals, visit The application deadline is March 14.

Two researchers look up toward a screen off-camera.
From left: Keundong Lee, a postdoctoral fellow at UC San Diego, and one of the first authors on a paper on an innovative new brain sensor that includes Shadi Dayeh, a professor in the UC San Diego Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the paper's corresponding author. Their team worked across disciplines and institutions with a researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital and a group led by a Harvard Medical School neurologist.

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