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Interdisciplinary Opportunity Award program

Research at the interface is most powerful when it is driven by collaborations of young researchers (graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, not PIs) given sufficient resources and a fast timeline. We therefore present the Interdisciplinary Opportunity Award program.

At the Annual Center Symposium, a topic will be announced. Self-selected teams of interested junior researchers need to produce short abstract-like proposals by the end of the Symposium. The teams must be comprised of members from at least two cross-disciplinary labs (from either mathematical sciences or experimental labs), with at least one group of each team from UCI. A preliminary proposal is due by the end of the Symposium (Tuesday at 4:30pm) that includes team member names, PI names and affiliations, a project title and very rough description. This pre-proposal should be e-mailed to with subject containing [IOA]. Full proposals (<3pages) must be submitted within two weeks, which will then be evaluated quickly (~2 weeks) by a Center committee. PIs must send an e-mail acknowledging support before winning teams are awarded. The winning teams will receive $10,000 to support the collaborative project over one year, and will attend the annual Junior Symposium (scheduled for March 2019) and the next year’s Annual Center Symposium, when they will present their results. Winning proposals are selected for their ambition, their feasibility (within a year), and their potential to lead to lasting long-term collaborations.

The 2018 theme is:

Cell fate across multiple scales

This can mean: How cells change their location, shapes, gene expression, internal organization, surface markers… and either (1) how these changes emerge from the molecules within and around cells, or (2) how this leads to phenomena in tissues, organs, organisms, biofilms or other super-cellular structures.

Full proposal instructions

After submitting a pre-proposal, the next step is the submission of the full 3-page proposal. This proposal should include:
– Names of participants, their career stage (grad student, postdoc, etc), their institutional affiliations, and their PI names,
– The project title, which matches the title from the pre-proposal,
– A project description including its significance.
Separately, the PIs involved (thesis advisors for PhD students) must send an e-mail acknowledging their support for the proposal. This can be very brief. If the PI is committing resources, e.g., lab equipment or computing cluster time, this should be mentioned in their e-mail of support too.

These items should be e-mailed to with subject containing [IOA].

The deadline is Tuesday, October 16th at midnight. (Note there was previously a typo on the website with an incorrect deadline.)

Winners will be informed around October 30th.

The winning teams are expected to attend the Annual Symposium in October 2018 (dates to be announced) to present their results. They will also be invited to attend a 1-day Junior Symposium that will be held at UC Irvine in March (dates to be announced) to meet with other junior researchers and present preliminary progress. The award amount $10,000 can be spent on, e.g., travel and lodging by any of the members to and from the collaborating institutions. If you have specific expenditures you would like to ask about, you are welcome to send a query to or A rough budget is not required in the proposal, but you are welcome to include one if you wish.