InterDisciplinary Excellence Awards (IDEA)

Proposal timeline for the 2020-2021 academic year:

  • Proposals are due on or before October 1, 2020
  • Awards announced in November 2020

Fund information:

Rice University’s InterDisciplinary Excellence Awards (IDEA) promote the development of new research or academic partnerships that extend across multiple schools to engage faculty in new and creative scholarship. A minimum of three faculty extending across at least two schools is required.

These awards are for high-risk/high-reward proposals. It is expected that these awards will lead to proposals that generate new centers or multi-PI programming.

Awards are funded up to a maximum of $75,000 and may extend for up to two years ($75,000 total).

No InterDisciplinary Excellence Award may be used for summer salary, purchase of research equipment, or reducing teaching responsibilities.


Full-time and research faculty members at Rice are eligible to apply. Proposals must be submitted by a group of at least three faculty extending across at least two schools. Please inform your department chairs that you have applied.

Review process:

The review of proposals will be carried out by the Vice Provost of Research with input from the University Committee on Research. Committee members who are applicants to this fund will not participate in proposal reviews.

Selection criteria:

Proposals will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  1. The quality, significance, and potential impact of the project;
  2. The contribution the project makes to furthering the Vision for the Second Century (V2C), particularly in proposals that might help the University do any of the following:
    • Raise our research and scholarship profile (strong preference will be given to those proposals that develop new research relationships);
    • Promote Rice’s interdisciplinary activity (strong preference will be given to those proposals that extend across schools);
  3. The likelihood that the project will lead to outside funding.

How to apply:

Proposals must be submitted using this webform by October 1, 2020 at 11:59pm.

Proposals must include the following in a single PDF document:

  1. A project description written such that a faculty peer will be able to understand the significance and scope of the proposal (no more than three pages (in 12-point type), including figures);
  2. A single-page budget indicating how the requested funds will be expended;
  3. A single-page funding plan identifying a potential future funding opportunity (for example an NIH R01 proposal to the Genetic Variation and Evolution Study Section);
  4. A curriculum vitae for each applicant of no more than three pages per CV.