The UW-Madison’s International Division, working through its Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS), announces a competition for small grants designed to facilitate interdisciplinary research in international or regional studies by UW-Madison faculty members across the sciences, social sciences, and humanities.

Funding range:

  • Minimum grant: $10,000
  • Maximum grant: $50,000


  1. All UW-Madison faculty members are eligible to apply. Also eligible are academic staff members who have Permanent PI status (
  2. Grant proposals must come from at least two eligible co-PIs.
  3. Co-PIs must come from or do most of their work in at least two distinctly different research traditions, following different kinds of approaches or methodologies, which might or might not be reflected in different UW-Madison disciplinary or divisional appointments. We particularly encourage applications from teams made up of scientists and social scientists or scientists and humanities scholars.
  4. At least one PI must be formally affiliated with one of the centers that make up the Institute for Regional and International Studies (e.g., the African Studies Program, the Center for South Asia; for the full list see
  5. The purpose of these incubator grants is to help co-PIs develop and be competitive for extramural funding of larger projects. Proposals must indicate specific sources of extramural funding for which a subsequent, larger proposal may be competitive.
  6. Each co-PI may be listed on only one proposal. Multiple submissions from any co-PI will be disqualified.
  7. Co-PIs previously funded through this mechanism are ineligible.

Other conditions:

  1. The larger, externally funded project deriving from this incubator grant must involve research undertaken outside the United States that requires area-specific context expertise, be it historical, cultural, linguistic, political, and/or other. The incubator grant itself may be used for international work, but this is not necessarily expected at the incubator-grant stage.
  2. Grant funds will be available by the beginning of summer 2017. Research supported by the incubator grant should be completed by September 2018.

To apply, submit a proposal as a single pdf file, containing each of the following parts:

  1. A narrative of no more than five single-spaced pages describing:
    • the aims and scientific or intellectual context of the research project
    • the work that will be done with the incubator grant and when it will be done
    • the externally funded project that you wish to develop from the incubator grant, its timeline, and intended external funding sources for it
    • how the work will advance scientific or other knowledge in a way that is sensitive to or dependent upon on area-specific context expertise of the kind fostered in the IRIS centers
    • Note: Balance in your narrative the need to be true to the styles, standards, and assumed knowledge of the different disciplines or research traditions represented in the proposal with the need to explain the project and its likely contributions to reviewers who come from wide range of research backgrounds.
  2. Brief CVs of the PIs. These should be limited to a maximum of three pages each.
  3. A budget of no more than one page, outlining specific likely expenditures during the period of the incubator grant.

The single pdf file containing the complete application should be attached to an email message sent to

The subject line of the email message should read: “2017 Incubator Grant Application”.

The application deadline was Friday, March 17, 2017.

Questions about this incubator grant program may be addressed to Professor Richard Keller, Associate Dean, International Division:

Please Note:

There will be no IRIS Incubator Grants competition in 2018.

Click here for a downloadable (pdf) version of the 2017 Incubator Grant announcement.