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Application Process

Proposals may be submitted at either of two deadlines, July 21 or January 4, through the application system. Proposals submitted in January should not request more than $2,500 for the remainder of the academic year. Applications must include the following:

  • Topic Statement (500 words or less)
  • Planned Activities which must include:
    1. A culminating event or product
    2. Opportunities for students to receive feedback on their written work
  • Proposed Budget (review the Funding section before preparing budget)
  • List of Participants and their academic programs
  • Abbreviated CVs (no more than 2 to 3 pages for each person) of the graduate student coordinator(s) and faculty sponsor(s)
  • Designated coordinator or co-coordinators (a student may be a coordinator for only 1 RIW)

Submit Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshop Proposal

Review Process and Criteria

Proposals are reviewed by the Associate Deans at Rackham, in consultation with other faculty members and administrators as needed. If there are more applications that clearly fulfill the goals of the program than can be funded, the groups selected will be those that seem most likely to make a substantial contribution to the progress of the participating graduate students, and contribute to the development of innovative interdisciplinary dialogue.


A proposed budget must be submitted as part of the application. Please use the Excel template when preparing your budget proposal and year-end report.. The limit for annual funding in this program is $5,000 but groups should only apply for funds necessary for the functions of their Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshop.

After a new Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshop is approved a Project Grant specific to the Workshop needs to be created by the group administrator. The Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshop account will run a deficit and funds will be distributed upon submission of the year-end report.

Appropriate Expenses

  • Reading materials
    • Any decision to purchase items for individual participants, such as books, should be subjected to strict scrutiny. It must be clear that such purchases directly support workshop activities.
  • Tickets for common activities such as exhibits and films
  • Mileage for students to in-state events
  • Website hosting subscription
  • Room rental fees
    • If you are planning an event, such as a public workshop, lecture, or conference, please remember to include room rental fees and any additional venue fees (custodial charges, charges for audio visual equipment or tech support, tables and chairs, etc.) in your budget proposal.
  • Honoraria for visiting speakers (may not exceed $500 for an individual speaker)
  • Organize speakers’ visits, if applicable. Please plan no more than one (1) outside speaker for each academic year
  • Travel (e.g. hotel, flights) for visiting speakers
  • Food, including meals for visiting speakers and food/beverages for functions (the total of all food and beverages may not exceed $1,000 for the full year or $500 for winter semester)
  • Prizes and gifts are not considered appropriate expenses.

Rackham Speaker Funding Changes

Rackham funding will be allowed for one speaker, only. Rackham defines a “speaker” as a scholar who is invited by the RIW to give a public lecture. This new rule follows feedback from a number of departments who, during the 2018-19 academic year, were overwhelmed by the number of public presentations that came out of RIWs associated with those departments, sometimes overlapping with programs organized by the departments themselves.

This new rule is meant to scale back the number of public events resulting from RIW activities and bring the focus of the program back to what it can contribute to the members of the RIW. As many have pointed out in their feedback, it is the opportunity to talk with a scholar from another university that makes these visits so worthwhile for our students. And that will continue, but we hope in a setting that is focused on, and more directly benefits the RIW members.

We ask that you think creatively, and see how an outside scholar can contribute directly to the topic of your RIW, as a number of RIWs currently do. For example:

  • Rather than invite a scholar to give a public lecture in your department, invite them to facilitate a workshop with the members of your RIW to discuss their latest publication? Some RIWs already follow this model.
  • Invite a scholar to talk with the members of your RIW about their career trajectories.
  • Can you work with a scholar remotely for several sessions on a collaborative project?


  • When an outside scholar becomes a discussant, a collaborator, or an RIW workshop contributor, they do not fit the definition of “speaker.” Therefore, you can use RIW funds to bring more than one such scholar to campus.
  • If your culminating event is a public one that involves a workshop with several contributors, that will be possible, too (such events already involve a lot of co-sponsorship).

Department Administrative Support Expenses Discontinued

Department Administrative Support expenses were discontinued at the end of the 2015–16 academic year and are no longer considered an appropriate expense.

Graduate Student Coordinator Stipends & Faculty Sponsor Payments

  • A stipend of up to $1,500 per year for the graduate student coordinator or coordinators is required. This amount is shared if there is more than one coordinator ($500 minimum, $1,500 maximum).
  • A research account contribution of $500 for a faculty sponsor (or split between two faculty sponsors) is suggested ($0 minimum, $500 maximum, or $250 maximum if operating in winter semester only).
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