Request for Collaborative Research Proposals

The request for funding for the 22-23 Fiscal/School Year closed February 21, 2022. The application for the next round of funding will be announced in 2023.

MindCORE is an interdisciplinary program focused on understanding the mind, drawing on tools from psychology, biology, neuroscience, linguistics and the humanities. The overarching goal of MindCORE is to support interdisciplinary outreach, research, and education related to the mind and brain. Topics relevant to MindCORE include, but are not limited, to perception, language, memory, decision-making, social networks, and creativity.


Intent of RFP

MindCORE solicits proposals for innovative interdisciplinary research in mind and brain within the University of Pennsylvania. Proposals are now being accepted for projects beginning in the 2022-2023 fiscal year. Applications and review processes will be managed by the MindCORE Executive Committee.

MindCORE will consider proposals that fall into one of the following categories of programs. Proposals should identify for which category they are applying:

  • Novel Collaborations. ($10,000-$50,000 per year for 1-2 years) MindCORE will provide seed funding to jump-start new interdisciplinary collaborations among researchers working on a common area or theme, i.e. forming new research partnerships and/or teams. MindCORE recognizes that important advances can come from bringing together expertise across domains, but extramural funders often look for evidence of successful past collaboration in such applications. Our intent is to foster new research partnerships to clear this hurdle.
  • Shared Resources. ($10,000 to $100,000 total) MindCORE will provide initial funding to develop shared core facilities and resources. The shared resource should enable innovative, cutting-edge research for many scholars in the MindCORE community, and have a plan for continued sustainability.
  • Research Initiatives. (up to $100,000 per year for 1-3 years) MindCORE may periodically fund new research initiatives. Research initiatives bring together a large group of faculty across departments to foster a research community around a common theme. Research initiatives typically involve a multi-year effort, encompassing multiple coordinating activities that might otherwise individually be funded by other MindCORE mechanisms (e.g., seminars, colloquia, collaborative research, shared resources, and educational and outreach programs). See the Social and Cultural Evolution Working Group:


The director or principal investigator for any proposed project must be a member of the SAS standing faculty, but the proposal may—and is strongly encouraged—to include collaborators from other departments and schools.

Funds cannot be used for faculty or postdoctoral salaries.

Note that faculty interested in developing a substantial research initiative proposal (funding < $50,000) may find it useful to apply for SAS Faculty Working Group funding ( This funding supports multidisciplinary bodies formed for the purpose of investigating important new areas of knowledge or new approaches to traditional disciplines. Such a working group could contribute to the development of a MindCORE proposal. Researchers are also encouraged to examine funding from University Research Foundation:

Faculty seeking funding for smaller projects (<$2500) are encouraged to apply to the MindCORE Activity Fund with applications reviewed on a rolling basis:


Proposal Format

6 pages maximum (not including budget) that includes the following sections:

  • Description of proposed project: This section should describe the research collaboration category (Novel Collaboration, Shared Resource, Research Initiative) and address its importance and/or novelty. In addition, the proposal should explain:
    • the ways in which the proposed project aligns with the goals of MindCORE;
    • how the research is interdisciplinary and how it will involve investigators from different laboratories and disciplines;
    • how the research is innovative and what the long-term potential payoff is.
  • Investigators/Collaborators: Description of project lead and collaborators and the contributions and responsibilities of each.
  • Measureable Outcome(s): To assist in evaluating the impact of the proposed work, the proposal should describe what the proposers consider that success of the initiative would be, and how this will be evaluated.
  • Year by Year Plan: The proposal should indicate what the plan and main goals are for each year of funding.
  • Funding plan beyond MindCORE: If the establishment of an ongoing research collaboration is proposed, the proposal MUST include an outline of possible follow-on funding opportunities, and explain how MindCORE funding would enable applications for these to be competitive.
  • Budget: A line item budget for proposed funding should be included along with a budget justification.


Proposal Ranking Criteria

  • Alignment with MindCORE research mission, with additional consideration as to whether proposals also further MindCORE outreach and/or education goals.
  • A goal of MindCORE is to facilitate collaborations between groups and labs that might not otherwise work together, on the assumption that such collaborations are often key to making headway on challenging problems.
  • Proposals will ideally be based around novel ideas that are not currently being pursued, and for which MindCORE funding would be catalytic.
  • Potential for extramural funding.


Potential applicants should discuss their plan with Heather Calvert, ED for MindCORE, before submitting a proposal: or 215-573-1111. Final proposals should be emailed to Heather before the end of February 21.


Annual Report Template

All funded projects are required to submit an annual report by April 15 of the years during which there is reportable project activity.