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IDR Information


The IDR Origination Awards foster new interdisciplinary research projects at BYU that lead to future external funding. Research proposals should rely on collaborative partnerships across departments and colleges. These partnerships should emerge from shared research interests and be developed in light of external funding opportunities, institutional strengths, and academic priorities. PIs and Co-PIs must be CFS-track faculty. This award is made possible by the Simmons Research Endowment.


Track 1: Up to $60k per year for two years, team must include tenure-track faculty with members from at least 2 colleges, and 3 departments at BYU. Typically, three Track 1 awards are funded each year as funding and proposal quality permit.

Track 2: Up to $20k per year for two years, team must include tenure-track faculty with members from at least 1 college, and 3 distinct departments or programs at BYU. Typically, two Track 2 awards are funded each year as funding and proposal quality permit.

A Primary Investigator (PI) designate which Track he or she is applying for on the Letter of Intent. A PI cannot be a PI on both a Track 1 and Track 2 proposal but can participate in multiple proposals. Track 1 and Track 2 proposals should be substantially different projects; a Track 2 cannot be a subset of a Track 1 proposal.

Use of Funds: IDR Origination Awards must be used to support interdisciplinary research that leads to proposal(s) for external funding. Funds may be used for allowable costs consistent with university rules for travel, equipment, supplies, contractual services, and core/shared user facility use. Funds also may be used for salary to support the project efforts of graduate and undergraduate students and/or technical personnel under the supervision of project investigators, where data collection is required as a part of the effort to enhance competitiveness. Funds may NOT be used to replace current funding from another source; for renovation, remodeling, or alteration of research laboratories or core/shared facilities; for instructional release/course buyout. Recipients are expected to actively pursue external funding and submit a proposal for external funding by the end of the award.


PIs and Co-PIs must be CFS-track faculty. The following units are eligible to count as one department:

  • Academic departments
  • Center for Collaborative Research and Statistical Consulting (unless Statistics Department also counted as a department)
  • Harold B. Lee Library
  • Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
  • Microscopy Lab
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging Research Facility
  • Wheatley Institution
  • Maxwell Institute
  • Sorensen Center for Ethical and Moral Leadership

Museums and college-level centers may also count as an eligible department if necessary to the project. Please email Kristen Kellems ( to verify eligibility.

Proposal Components

  • Project narrative (up to 5 pages, including Expected Outcomes)
  • Budget and budget narrative (1 pg.)
  • Cover page (title, team, abstract, summary of plans for external funding; 1 page)
  • References (limited to sources cited)
  • Plans for external funding (up to 1 page)- Biographical sketches (up to 2 pages for each faculty member)
  • Current and pending support (no page limit; list all funding- not just funding related to your project- with title, source, and amount)

Cover Page Template and Detailed Instructions


Letter of Intent (LOI) must be submitted to Research Development through a form by January 16, 2024. This form will be open for submissions on October 1, 2023. During winter semester, Research Development will hold a seminar to review criteria for preparing and submitting proposals for those who submitted an LOI. The deadline for full proposal submission is February 20, 2024 by 11:59 pm. No late submissions will be accepted. Award notifications will be given by the end of winter semester, and project funding can begin spring term. Please send your application in one PDF document. Use Times New Roman font in 11 point, single spaced with 1″ margins. Send proposals to Use the subject line “Application for IDR Origination Award.”

Review Process

Research Development will perform a compliance review of proposals. Several rounds of technical reviews will then be conducted by members of the University Research Council (Research Associate Deans). After the reviews, funding recommendations will be made to the AAVP-Research.

Review Criteria

  • Strong potential for external funding following the IDR award
  • Potential to produce significant scientific, cultural, creative, and/or societal impacts
  • Clearly articulated problem statement
  • Identified measures of success and achievable milestones
  • Diverse interdisciplinary research partnerships with clear team member contributions


Selected awardees will present brief oral reports at the Research Networking Event (usually held during the Annual University Conference week). Written reports are due on August 1 after each year of funding. The final report should describe external proposal(s) and their status, and other research outcomes (publications, student mentoring activities, and other results of note). A report template will be provided to the PI by Research Development.

The Interdisciplinary Research Origination Awards are funded by proceeds from the Simmons Research Endowment. Recipients of an IDR Origination Award should acknowledge the Simmons Research Foundation in research publications, research presentations, invention disclosures, news releases, and other results funded by the award. Example acknowledgment statements are below:

  • "This material is based upon work supported by BYU’s Simmons Research Endowment."
  • "This work has been made possible in part by a grant from the Simmons Research Endowment at Brigham Young University."

Frequently Asked Questions

  • International travel would be OK as long as it strengthens the competitiveness of an IDR team for external funding.

  • This type of collaboration would not be a good use of funds because it could diminish or in other ways make the BYU IDR team less competitive.

  • External collaborators are allowed. The external collaborator cannot replace a BYU faculty member as a PI. At least three BYU faculty members must be part of the IDR team. External collaborators can be part of the team after that requirement is met. IDR funds are restricted from being used for providing research contracts to other universities; consultant fees and salaries can’t be paid from IDR funds. This restriction doesn’t keep external collaborators from contracting services for testing, etc., if it is a purchase rather than a subcontract. The type of services that the external collaborators would be purchasing at BYU facilities through the grant must be described (i.e. time on our MRI facility; sequencing at the BYU DNASC; soil analysis at the EAL, etc.). BYU-affiliate faculty can be part of the project, but can’t be PI’s because their “home” affiliation is not BYU. They should be treated like external participants.

  • Yes, but can only be the PI on one

  • Answer: One has to be designated as the PI.

  • The only required department chair endorsement will be the signature/acknowledgement from the PI chair.

  • That will be good to emphasize in your proposal. Also don’t forget the other criteria. [You can provide a short email of your intended format for review by the PI’s dean.

  • Yes, it needs to have a research focus, specifically a focus that meets the criteria described for the IDR Origination Award:

    • Create strong potential for external funding following the IDR award• Build or strengthen interdisciplinary research partnerships
    • Demonstrate the potential to produce significant impacts
    • Have a clearly articulated problem statement
    • Identify measurements of success and achievable milestones

    Having a paper published that involves faculty would be less important than submitting an application that meets the criteria.

  • We didn’t identify any specific format so you can use whatever proposal structure you choose. Make sure your proposal describes how it meets the criteria within whatever format you choose. Doing it like an NIH or NSF or other funder-type application would be OK.

  • Answer: Letters of support aren’t required or encouraged. They are allowed from external organizations, recognizing that no funding from an IDR Origination award can be provided to external participants, and the focus of an award should be strengthening BYUs IDR competitiveness, not necessarily that of an external participant. Letters of support do not count against the proposal page limit but all the letters of support should not exceed 3 pages.

  • They are not included in the 5 page limit. They should not exceed a total of 1 page for budget and budget narrative.

  • Yes, but keep within the page limit for budget and budget narrative.

  • The abstract submitted as part of the Letter of Intent or the abstractthat is part of the cover page can include specific aims. An abstract should not be included in the project description that has the 5 page limit.

  • That is correct. Like other internally funded awards, there is no overhead with this award.

  • No, you can have different amounts that you use in either the first or second year. Total for both years has to be no more than $120K.

  • No but each item should be justified and tied to the objectives of the proposed project.

  • No, you can have a proposal that focuses on a narrow problem or that is geared just towards solving a problem in your field, but it should be written in a way that shows why that problem needs to be solved--justify the urgency.

  • No, as long as you meet the criteria -a minimum of 3 from 2 different colleges and 3 different departments. Your team should have a project that is innovative and compelling, and each team member's role should be justified.

  • No, if you meet the eligibility requirements. You should justify why your team, with seed money, can solve your proposed problem in an innovative way that can lead to external funding.

  • Not one of the past winners has received an award without having an RD person look at their application ahead of time. That’s not to say that you can’t win without RD, but to let you know that the deans have given us clearance to work with these groups closely and review and provide feedback on proposals. Some of the past winners have also mentioned that they would be willing to look through project summaries and provide feedback. You won’t need much feedback on the LOI, but please involve RD before you submit the full proposal.

  • Most faculty design their biosketches to look similar to something from the NIH. Limit it to one page per team member. I have examples if you would like to see those.

  • The deans want to know if you already have resources that could be used on the project you are proposing. They also want to know if you have the bandwidth to accomplish what you are proposing. If you just have a couple of small internal grants, you may be able to be the PI on this larger grant. If you already have a large grant from a federal funder, then they had some reservations of funding those types of applications. The IDR Origination Awards are really geared towards helping new faculty and those who have been unsuccessful in capturing external funding to acquire funds to conduct pilot projects and gather preliminary data that can be used to make external funding proposals more successful.

    1. Do we need to demonstrate fit between our research and the other external funding sources? Yes, but not in very specific detail. You identify and discuss how your work fits in with federal funders in a one-page document called “Plans for External Funding” that is separate from your project narrative. Most teams identify two or three smaller private funders and a couple of large federal funders. Some identify specific funding opportunities that they plan on apply to. That’s not necessary. You just describe how your work fits in with the mission of the funders that you are apply to.
    2. Should we be reaching out to other program officers to gauge interest? Yes, that helps you tailor your research and gauge the interest of a particular funder. It is not necessary to state in your application that you’ve spoken with a program officer.
    3. Should we provide a timeline of when LOIs would be submitted to those various funders if we receive the IDR? Yes. The project narrative requires that you discuss “expected outcomes” and that would include which external agencies you plan on submitting to and a rough timeline of when you would submit those applications
  • Teams are NOT allowed to switch from a Track 1 proposal to a Track 2 proposal after submitting a Track 1 LOI. A Track 1 budget allows the PI to propose any amount from $1-120k. A Track 1 team can adjust their Track 1 budgets if they don’t need the full $120k. The purpose of Track 2 is to fund discrete, purposeful projects that can be accomplished with a smaller budget, not just a slimming down of a larger budget.

  • The LOI from groups like the HBLL or CAPS should be sent to the PI’s direct supervisor. Once the proposal is prepared, it should be reviewed by a supervisor who determines if it should be included in the pairs-comparison review.

  • Yes, with signoff from the new PI’s chair and short explanation with the reason for the change sent by email to the department chair and Research Development.