C21 Collaboratory

The call for Collaboratory proposals is currently CLOSED. See the previous call here.

View our 2022-2023 Collaboratory Groups.

Venn diagramAbout

C21 believes that the complex challenges we face in the 21st century are best met through collaborations across areas of expertise and experience, and that the humanities are a vital part of addressing these challenges.

Collaboratory funding is an opportunity to bring together teams of scholars across disciplines, across university and community partnerships, and across emerging and established scholars (students / staff / faculty) to inspire the generation of new ideas.

Collaboratory teams are eligible for up to $10,000 over the two and a half year period ($5,000 per year maximum),* which may be spent on invited speakers; workshop leaders; student support; equipment; research material; travel and other expenses approved by C21. With planning, C21 staff can also provide additional in-kind support in arranging talks, making connections, and sharing communications etc. Collaboratory funding is designed to be seed funding for partnerships / teams to find their footing in additional / sustainable support structures.

Initiatives / goals of Collaboratories might include:

  • Creating a sustainable network of people interested in a given research area
  • Creating a new curricular element such as a minor, certificate program, or micro-
    credential offering at UWM
  • Designing / Researching a new course to be team taught across disciplines
  • Designing / Holding a symposium or series of events – note that C21 reserves spring semester to assist with Collaboratory-related events.
  • Researching / Writing an interdisciplinary grant project / proposal

Collaboratory Requirements

  • Collaboratory participants must include researchers from more than one unit (i.e., department, division, or college) and at least one person from the humanities.
  • Collaboratories are encouraged to pursue a broad diversity in their membership, including students, academic staff, and community members.
  • Collaboratories must apply for at least one external or internal grant per year. C21 and the Office of Research will assist as needed with grant preparation.
  • Collaboratories will be expected to meet at least once a month. C21 will make space available on the 9th floor of Curtin Hall.
  • While an academic product (essays, articles, books, exhibits etc) might be a goal of a Collaboratory, teams are expected to tell the story of their efforts to a broad audience. This might be through newsletters, podcasts, public presentations.
  • Collaboratories are expected to write reports on all activities at the end of year one and year two.
  • Collaboratory proposals are encouraged, but not required to address one of the three C21 themes: Well; Duty; Trust.

*Please note that funding in the second year is not guaranteed if conditions for the successful completion of the project are not met (such as meetings, reports, etc.).

How to Apply

Proposals, which should not exceed 1000 words, should answer eight questions:

  • What challenge is the group is addressing?
  • What is the organizing logic for the composition of the group’s members (why these members?);
  • What activities will the Collaboratory pursue and when (timeline)?
  • Which grants (names / descriptions) will the Collaboratory apply for and what assistance might be needed?
  • What outcomes is the Collaboratory is pursuing (for example – course / program development; research project / grants; a sustainable network of research partners) and how success will be measured?;
  • How does the group plan to make its story/progress known to a broad audience?
  • What are the estimated costs (and timeline for expenditures by month)?
  • What assistance the Collaboratory might need from C21 staff?

Each collaborative group should identify a lead, UWM principal investigator (PI), who will be responsible for receiving and disbursing funds (from their home department) and for reporting on the group’s activities. This position can change from the first year to the second to accommodate sabbaticals etc.

Previously funded Collaboratories are eligible to reapply for two additional years of funding with the same process outlined above.


C21 strongly encourages questions and inquiries in advance of proposals, which are due in December or January. Proposals should be submitted as a single pdf file to c21@uwm.edu.  Awards will be announced on or near January 15th.  Funds will be dispersed to the PI’s home department and PI’s are responsible for tracking and reporting on funds. Questions and inquiries should be sent to c21@uwm.edu.

Current C21 Collaboratories

Previous Collaboratory Groups