Schiller Institute Grants

Grants for Exploratory Collaborative Scholarship (SIGECS)

The Schiller Institute Grants for Exploratory Collaborative Scholarship (SIGECS) program supports collaborative research projects and creative activities in the Schiller Institute’s principal research focus areas of energy, the natural environment, and health.  This grant program recognizes that collaborative efforts of faculty/researchers who have different knowledge, perspectives, and expertise can make significant contributions to addressing inherently interdisciplinary societal issues like these.  

SIGECS grants may be considered exploratory in the sense that they are aimed at:

  • fostering collaborative conversation within the context of a particular project
  • helping faculty identify shared interests
  • providing a mechanism for testing hypotheses or driving collaborative scholarship
Recognizing that in the modern university, disciplines have fragmented into sub-disciplines, this grant encourages collaboration not only between faculty in different departments or schools, but also collaboration between faculty in the same department who bring different sub-specialties to bear.

Project Requirements
  1. Address an area of critical concern in the areas of energy, the natural environment, or health through research or creative expression.

  2. Projects should be new endeavors for the team i.e. the proposed team has not previously worked on this or a similar project. However, the project may be a continuation of the pre-existing work of a single team member, which will be taken in a different direction, explored from new perspectives, buttressed by data from different disciplines, or otherwise enriched by the participation of faculty members with different expertise.

Project Support:

SIGECS grants are available in two categories:

*Note that SIGECS grants do not fund conference travel or conference registration; funding for these expenses is available through BC’s Research Expense Grant program.


Eligibility & Deadlines


All tenured or tenure track faculty are eligible. Project teams must consist of two or more faculty members, each of whom is in a different department, school, or sub-specialty area.

Opportunity to Submit to the RADs or IGNITE Grant Program:

Some projects submitted to SIGECS may also be eligible for funding under the RADs or IGNITE grant programs through the VPR’s office. Applicants may submit eligible projects to these programs as well, however a project which is successfully funded in one program will not be funded by a second. If a project is chosen for award in the SIGECS program and RADS or IGNITE, the Schiller Institute and the Office of the VPR, in consultation with the PIs, will determine which grant program will make the award.

Application Deadlines:

Completed applications are due at 5 pm on March 29th. Letters of interest are encouraged and may be submitted to the Schiller Institute anytime through March 12th for feedback regarding congruence with project requirements. Feedback will be provided within 5 working days of receipt of the LOI submission. See Application Instructions for proposal and LOI formats.

Notification of Awards and Project Start Date:

Notification of awards will be made by May 1st. Funding is available beginning with the new fiscal year (June 1, 2021). All funding must be expended by May 15, 2022.


Application Instructions

Letter of Interest (Optional, due March 12th)

A summary of the project should be submitted using the LOI submittal form. You should include: project title, names of collaborators (if known); project description in non-technical terms (400 words and one figure max ); reasons for taking an interdisciplinary approach (150 words max); designation of Type 1 or Type 2 grant; estimated requested funding amount and description of the expected use of funds (100 words max).

Letter of Interest Submission Form

Application Process:

Format: Minimum 0.5-inch margins, Times New Roman, 11-point or larger, line spacing of 1.0 to 1.15.  Figures and figure legends count towards page limitations.  A separate bibliography section (no page limit) can be used for references cited in the body of the proposal.   

Full proposal:

I. Introduction (Limit: 1 page)
Briefly describe the proposed study in non-technical terms. Describe how the expertise of each team member will be brought to bear on the project, why the project requires an interdisciplinary approach, and how the project is aligned with the mission of the Schiller Institute.

II. Multi-Investigator Plan (Limit: 1 page)
The proposal must identify at least two faculty from different disciplines or sub-disciplines, departments, and/or schools at Boston College.

Additionally, the Multi-Investigator Plan should address the following administrative processes and Principle Investigator (PI) responsibilities:

  • Roles/areas of responsibility of the PIs
  • Fiscal and management coordination
  • Process for making decisions on project direction and allocation of resources
  • Data sharing and communication among faculty/investigators
  • Publication and intellectual property (if needed) polices
  • Procedures for resolving conflicts

III. Project Plan (Limit: 4 pages, including figures)
Describe your project plan which should include:

  • a description of the aims and goals of your project
  • proposed methodology
  • expected output or deliverable, including plans for dissemination of results
  • impact/benefit(s) your project will make on societal problems related to energy, the natural environment, or health.

IV. Extension of the work (Limit: 1 page)

Describe how the supported project, if successful, could be extended for further research, scholarship, or creative expression, and/or lead to opportunities for external funding. Please be as specific as possible.    

In addition, PI’s are invited (but not required) to describe the role that additional disciplines might play if the work were continued in a second phase (using funding from Schiller or another funding source).

V. Be sure to include an itemized budget, full CVs (10 pages max per person),  and bibliography. To reduce overlap between projects funded via the SIGECS grant program and previously funded projects (see Project Requirement #2), please also include a Summary of Grant Awards for each collaborator. The Summary of Grant Awards should include a listing of previous and current (2018-2021) internal and external research grants/awards. 

Application Review Process

Criteria for Reviewing the Grant:
  • The relevance of the work and broader impact on important societal problems in the areas of the energy, the natural environment, and health.
  • Alignment with the mission of the Schiller Institute (see the Institute’s website)
  • The promise of quality and collaborative scholarship in the applicants’ research project, reflected in the clarity and persuasiveness with which the applicants outline the proposed research.
  • The likelihood that the proposed study will produce significant results, or will significantly advance collaborative efforts that have potential for future significant contributions e.g. peer-reviewed publications, development of new interventions (e.g., community-based approaches) and/or policies (e.g.,  environmental, political), invited conference sessions talks or grant proposal submissions.

Applicants should understand that requests for funding always exceed the funds available. Inevitably some proposals will not be supported or funds awarded may be less than the amount requested.

Review Procedure:

A committee comprised of BC faculty, chaired by the Executive Director of the Schiller Institute, will review the proposals and advise the Executive Director on the selection of proposals for funding. If necessary, the committee will engage outside consultants to review any applications that are in need of specific expert knowledge. Thus, applicants must state names of any potential consultants that should be excluded from review of their study, and why.


Post-Award Requirements


Upon receiving the project award, awardees will be asked to supply a project abstract and other supporting material for posting on the Schiller website SIGECS page. The Schiller Institute will hold a required awardee recognition celebration and introductory meeting in early June. A half-day meeting for awardees will be held in September for faculty to share progress, followed by a University-wide showcase of awardee research to be held in April 2022 at the Schiller Institute offices and convening space in the Integrated Sciences building.

At the completion of the project, the team is required to submit a 2 page report describing the outcome of the research and the future of the collaboration.

PIs agree to provide updates to the Schiller Institute on outcomes for up to two years after receiving the grant; for example, other projects mounted by the team, grants received, exhibitions mounted, or papers published. This outcome data will be used to adjust the SIGECS annual funding, promote the scholarship of awardees via the Schiller website and in other ways, and seek additional funding from external sources for this grant program.

Contact Us

Further information about this grant opportunity:

For questions about eligible projects, allowable uses of funds, and project requirements, please email Laura J. Steinberg, Executive Director of the Schiller Institute, at Please be sure to include “SIGECS” in the subject line. For questions about how to submit your proposal and other logistical questions, please email Shaylonda Barton, Internal Grants Manager, Center for Centers, at