Interdisciplinary Development Initiatives

Western will invest in a limited number of interdisciplinary development initiatives (IDIs) that have a demonstrated potential to become national and international models for excellence. The IDI program is intended to seed new interdisciplinary collaborations and support and grow nascent and existing interdisciplinary collaborations. IDIs will be exceptional programs that advance Western’s research mission, attract scholars and graduate students to our university, and bring prestige to the institution. These IDIs, led by established or emerging scholars, will have clearly articulated research dimensions and objectives.

What This Program is For What This Program is Not For
Catalyzing the activities of Emerging Teams Undergraduate or graduate program proposals (refer to the Academic Priorities Fund)
Expanding the activities of Established Teams Sustaining existing infrastructure or programs
Supporting the direct costs of research activities

Note this is a staged application that includes a Letter of Intent (LOI) and a Full Application. Applicants who are selected to go forward at the LOI stage will be invited to submit a full application. Stream 1 (Emerging Teams) applications may be funded directly at LOI stage or may be invited to prepare a full proposal if more detail is required.


IDIs are open to researchers in all disciplines and Faculties. Proposals must identify a project leader and at least one co-investigator. The project leader must hold an academic appointment at Western and be eligible to hold research grants. There is no limit to team size. Teams are encouraged to consider equity, diversity and inclusion principles in their team composition. Researchers are permitted to be involved in multiple IDIs, however they may only be identified as the project leader of one IDI. Teams may include researchers or partners from other organizations as co-investigators. Co-investigators who do not hold research-eligible appointments at Western will not have access to grant funds.

Funding Amounts

  • Western will invest up to $4 million over four years in IDIs, with a notional investment of $1 million/year (subject to applications).
  • IDI projects will be nominally one or two years in duration.
  • The Dean’s Office of the host faculty will be responsible for administering funds.
Stream Funding Amount & Duration
Stream 1: Emerging Teams $25,000 for one year
Stream 2: Established Teams $200,000 over a maximum of two years

Guidelines & Application Forms

Program Timelines & Application Deadlines

*Updated March 9, 2021*

  • October 30: Program launch
  • December 1: Letter of Intent Deadline
  • December 15: Dean's ranking of LOIs
  • February 10: LOI results & invitations to submit full proposals
  • April 15: Full Proposal Deadline
  • April 22: Dean's comments on full proposals
  • April 30: Full Proposal results
  • May 1: Grant start date

Application Process

Letter of Intent Submission Instructions

Send the completed LOI, including all required attachments, to no later than 4 p.m. on Tuesday, December 1, 2020. Only electronic submissions will be accepted; no hard copies should be submitted.

A ROLA proposal is not required at the LOI phase. (Updated Nov 23, 2020)

The completed signature page may be submitted as a separate, scanned page. Electronic signatures or scanned signatures will be accepted.

Deans will be asked to provide a letter ranking the proposals hosted by their Faculty. These letters must be submitted to Western Research ( no later than Tuesday, December 15, 2020.


Each IDI will have a Host Faculty

  • For multi-Faculty IDIs, the Host Faculty must be identified in the Letter of Intent
  • The Host Faculty is accountable for administration of IDI funds
  • Other participating Faculties share responsibility for support and participation in governance
  • Each IDI will have a Steering/Advisory Committee (SAC) with Deans (or their delegates) from the proposing Faculties

Performance & Reporting

IDIs will report annually on the following measures:

  • Performance metrics defined by the IDI SAC (e.g., measures of research intensity, appropriate and agreed disciplinary and cross-disciplinary measures of impact, etc.)
  • Budget metrics (actual spending vs planned spending)
  • Other measures defined by the program from time to time

Multi-year IDI proposals will be required to set objectives and milestones. Annual funding will be contingent on substantial completion of the previous year’s objectives.

Western Contact

Please direct any questions on the IDI program to Western Research Internal Grants: