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Interdisciplinary Collaboration in the Arts and Humanities (ICAH) Award

Announcement Date: 
Friday, March 24, 2017
Application Deadline: 
Friday, April 21, 2017
Venus flytrap in the Green Swamp of Supply, North Carolina. Photograph taken by Courtney Prokopas as part of her 2014 ICAH project in collaboration with Lori Felker, "Venus from Flames: Prescribed Burns and their Role in Preserving Venus Flytraps."

Venus flytrap in the Green Swamp of Supply, North Carolina. Photograph taken by Courtney Prokopas as part of her 2014 ICAH project in collaboration with Lori Felker, "Venus from Flames: Prescribed Burns and their Role in Preserving Venus Flytraps."

Largely ingrained in the sciences, scholarly collaboration is unevenly embraced across other disciplines. In order to help change this culture, the Graduate College created a new award to facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration, in the arts and humanities, between graduate students and junior faculty members. Seven such collaborations have been funded during 2014-2016.

Co-sponsored by the Digital Humanities Working Group at the UIC Institute for the Humanities, the 2017 competition will fund one $5,000 collaboration, preferably in the digital humanities. ICAH awards can be used as an outright financial award, support equipment, and/or fund research/conference travel, always benefiting collaboration members equally. The award seeks to reward junior faculty and ambitious graduate students in the arts and humanities, who often face fewer grant opportunities and whose disciplines traditionally require or privilege more solitary scholarship. Additional funding is provided by the Continental Bank (now part of Bank of America), to support faculty and graduate student research and travel, as well as the UIC Research Support Fund for graduate student research.


Proposals should demonstrate interdisciplinary themes, questions, and/or methods, and clearly demonstrate the value of the award for advancing the research and project goals of both the faculty member and the student, who should be equal partners in the project. “Junior faculty” is defined as non-tenure-track or untenured (as of award deadline) assistant, clinical assistant, and visiting assistant professor appointments. Adjunct instructors without one of the above classifications are not eligible. Collaborations across disciplinary/department boundaries are strongly encouraged.

It is assumed that the faculty mentor and the faculty collaborator are not one and the same, but they could be. The graduate student should be enrolled in a master’s or doctoral program in the arts or humanities; however, a collaborative project firmly rooted in the humanities proposed by a graduate student in an affiliated program WILL be considered. The faculty appointment may be in any department with a graduate program under the auspices of the Graduate College. (Professional programs in the linked list are therefore ineligible.) Faculty members may not be collaborators in consecutive competitions. While the project may include additional collaborators, they will not receive funding, nor should they be listed. Lastly, the student must submit the application.

  • Extent to which the research or creative activity draws upon and synthesizes knowledge from more than one disciplinary area.
  • Project feasibility and equity of collaboration.
  • Record of performance as attested to by CVs.
Terms of Award: 

Awardees will directly receive a single payment: $2,500 to the faculty member and $2,500 to the graduate student. Students and faculty cannot be party to more than one application. Students cannot hold or have previously held a Chancellor's Graduate Research Award -- but they are welcome to apply subsequently to that funding mechanism.

Nomination Procedures: 

The graduate student assembles and submits the application.

Documents Required: 

Proposals completed by the student must include and appear in the following order:

  1. Applicant transmittal form: Include names and affiliations of the graduate student and faculty collaborator as well as the project title. Collaborations are restricted to one graduate student and one untenured faculty member according to the guidelines above. Given the small size of the grants, other personnel (if applicable) should only be mentioned in the project description.
  2. Mentor agreement form: As with the Chancellor’s award, the student’s faculty mentor/advisor must complete a Mentor Agreement Form and return it to the student to include with the other application documents.
  3. Statement from the faculty collaborator: On university letterhead and in no more than 500 words, the faculty collaborator should address the qualifications of both members of the collaboration for the project and discuss how the project fits into the faculty collaborator’s own research agenda. Optionally, foregoing the faculty share of the award must be made clear here. (The student would then receive the entire sum.) The faculty collaborator returns the signed statement to the student to include with the application documents.
  4. Abstract: In no more than 300 words, the student must outline the project’s objectives, research goals, and broader scope.
  5. Curricula vitae: Include condensed, two-page CVs for the graduate student and faculty collaborator. Extraneous pages will not be shown to the awards committee.
  6. Project description: In no more than three pages (of images and/or text), the student describes the intellectual collaboration in terms of vision, roles, background, methods/sources, and ultimate product (co-authored article, exhibition, book, etc.). Text pages should be single-spaced, 11- or 12-point font with one-inch margins.
  7. Budget: Delineate how funds will be spent, specifying amounts for the following categories: award, equipment, travel. Funds must be split evenly between the collaborators, unless the faculty share is declined. Applicants are encouraged to seek matching funds from internal and external sources; however, they are not required to do so. If such funding has been procured, letters of support must be included.
Selection Procedure: 

The review committee will consist of faculty and Graduate College staff members appointed by the Dean of the Graduate College. Notification of awards will be made within sixty days following the deadline.

Submission Instructions: 

Completed proposals must be uploaded by the student applicant to Box using the link below. The single PDF file must be saved using the following naming convention:


Do not include spaces in the file name. For example, for Michel Montaigne:


If you have an incredibly common name, include your middle initial as well. Many offices at UIC have printers/scanners that can combine documents into one PDF. Otherwise, use Adobe Acrobat 6.0 or higher (not Adobe Reader) to create a PDF from multiple files.


Alternate: upload via email: 

Deadline: 4:00 p.m. CDT on April 21, 2017

Within two business days, an email message will confirm a successful upload.

Please direct all questions to Benn Williams, Assistant Director of Interdisciplinary Programs and Development – via email ( or telephone (312.413.2389). Please note that he will be on vacation with limited access to email during the period April 6-17.


Q1: What does "junior faculty" mean?

A1: "Junior faculty" is defined as non-tenured (as of application deadline), non-tenure-track, or tenure-track assistant, clinical assistant, and/or visiting assistant professor appointments. Adjunct instructors without one of the above classifications are not eligible.

Q2: Is the "faculty collaborator" my advisor/mentor?

A2: These are presumed to be two distinctly different individuals, but they could be one and the same.

Q3: Which departments/programs are in the arts and humanities?
A3: Please see the Graduate College's list.

Q4: Which departments have a graduate program? 

A4: Please see the Graduate College list.

Q5: What is/are digital humaniteis?

A5: Dan Cohen, now the Executive Director of the Digital Public Library of America, provides this helpful, back-of-the-envelope definition: "Broadly construed, digital humanities is the use of digital media and technology to advance teh full range of thought and practice in the humanities, from the creation of scholarly resources, to research on those resources, to the communication of results to colleagues and students." [Source]

Q6: Does this award carry a tuition and fee waiver?

A6: No.

Q7: I already won a Chancellor's Graduate Research Award, may I apply for this?

A7: Congratulations! But, no, you cannot. Win this first and then seek a Chancellor's Award.

Q8: May I win this and a Chancellor's Graduate Internship Award?

A8: Congratulations on your enterprising spirit. But, no, you cannot. You can apply for both; however, you will be awarded only one.

Q9: I already won a Deiss/Provost Award and a University Fellowship. May I apply for the ICAH?

A9: Yes, you may.

Q10: May I "stack" the ICAH on top of my prestigious external fellowship?

A10:  Yes. In these situations, some reviewers look to reward ambition and proven success; some look for potential; some just look at the proposed project and worry less about past (compensated) achievements.

Q11: How many award competitions and awardees are there?

Q11: We anticipate funding 1 collaboration in 2017. Seven collaborations were funded during 2014-2016. Without a new source of funding, this is likely the last ICAH competition.

Q12: Can a faculty member be a member of consecutive winning collaborations?

A12: No. A faculty member can no longer participate in consecutive ICAH collaborations (even with different graduate students).

Q13: Are there examples of successful projects?
A13: Yes. Here is link to the final report for "iPhone Rapid Digitization" (Nichols & Wizinsky) and here is a link to one of the two projects from the Kim & McFarland collaboration.

Q14: If I have questions about this competition, whom shall I contact?
A14: Contact Benn Williams, Assistant Director of Interdisciplinary Programs and Development in the Graduate College, via email ( or telephone (312.413.2389). Please note that he is on vacation April 6-17th. This is NOT run through the Fellowship Office.

Q15: How can I help fund this innovative award?

A15: We're glad you asked! Please contact Benn Williams, Assistant Director of Interdisciplinary Programs and Development in the Graduate College, via email ( or telephone (312.413.2389) to discuss future sponsorship. Or, simply give here.