Inquiry to Impact Project Initiation Grants

We invite proposals from Lehigh faculty to initiate and offer multi-semester Inquiry to Impact (I2I) projects through the new interdisciplinary Creative Inquiry (CINQ) course structure. In I2I projects (what we are calling Mountaintop-style projects over the academic year), faculty, students, and external partners come together to take new interdisciplinary, intellectual, creative, and/or artistic pathways leading to transformative innovations, new expressions, and new questions. We are interested in projects that need longer time horizons, larger and more diverse cross-functional teams, and diverse resources and partnerships across their lifecycle. We expect students to claim ownership of the projects, and see faculty mentors as partners and co-creators striving to propel their projects forward on the journey towards tangible and sustainable impact. We invite faculty to define impact in their own ways, in a multiplicity of ways, and inspire us to join their dreams.

The I2I Projects will be funded for a one-year period with continuing annual funding for up to five years made available based on project progress and outcomes. The grant consists of two components:

  1. Discretionary funding of $500 per semester for the lead faculty mentor for the project
  2. A project expense budget of up to $1,000 per semester, by request.

Higher project budgets, not exceeding $3,000 per semester, will be considered under special circumstances. Faculty will have the opportunity to attend professional development workshops on mentoring and supporting teams as well as consulting support from the Office of Creative Inquiry (OCI) and the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL). Also, I2I projects will have preferential access to funding for up to three students for the Mountaintop Summer Experience.

How Do Inquiry to Impact Group Projects Work?

We envision two models:

US-Based Projects through the CINQ 389 course

I2I projects, with the CINQ 389 (1-6 credit) course as their academic vehicle, offer a distinctive integrated pathway to learning, research, and engagement with teams systematically advancing projects over multiple semesters and years with aspirations for large-scale impact. The CINQ 389 course can be cross-listed with as many other project-based or research-based courses as the faculty mentors wish. The courses can either be ‘on-loaded’ into cross-listed versions of existing courses, or taught as an overload, as determined by department heads. These multi-semester interdisciplinary projects span the journey from creative inquiry to sustainable impact, with one team handing the baton to another team in the following semester. The faculty mentor typically meets with the team on a weekly basis, while an advisory panel with Lehigh faculty as well as external experts provide support on a monthly basis. For faculty, these projects offer opportunities to work with the highest caliber of self-motivated students at Lehigh. Faculty can leverage I2I projects to pursue inquiries that emerge from their own research or projects that they are personally passionate about as long as students have substantive intellectual and creative freedom and contribution to the project. These faculty-student teams create and disseminate new knowledge through conferences and journals while advancing praxis and striving to solve relevant and important problems across industries and geographies. With support from various Lehigh offices, teams pursue external funding, resources, and partnerships and share their fruits of innovation with the big good world.

Global Projects through the CINQ Courses

We are also interested in I2I project proposals focused on sustainable development challenges such as those related to health, food, water, energy, education, and human rights, in Low and Middle Income Countries and Least Developed Countries. We welcome translational research-based projects, use-inspired basic research, and all forms of creative inquiry that have the potential for extramural funding, lead to lasting impact, and promote scholarly contributions. For such proposals, in addition to the incentives and supports for I2I projects, we will offer travel grants of up to $2,500 (may be increased to maximum of $4,000 for special circumstances) to initiate new projects and build relationships. Projects in countries where Lehigh faculty, OIA, and OCI have long-term partnerships (e.g., India, Kenya, Ghana, Antigua, Sierra Leone, Cambodia, Philippines, and Singapore) are preferred.  However, we welcome projects in all countries where faculty have worked previously and have strong local networks. Faculty will be invited to a series of professional development workshops being developed in collaboration with the Global Knowledge Initiative to build collaborative problem-solving networks and develop competitive funding proposals from USAID, Grand Challenges, and other funders in this space. Finally, these projects will have preferential access to funding for up to three students for the Mountaintop Summer Experience and travel for fieldwork.

Proposal Format and Submission Process

Proposals for I2I Project Grants must be submitted by the faculty member who will serve as lead mentor for the project. Submit proposals in a PDF document, attached to an email sent to, with the subject line “I2I Project Proposal: <Project Title>.”

Proposals are accepted on a rolling basis. Projects will begin in the semester following the first enrollment period after the proposal is accepted.

Proposals should be 2 pages (at single-spaced 12-point font) and should include the following:Proposals should be 2 pages (at single-spaced 12-point font) and should include the following:

  • Project title (to be used in all communications and marketing materials)
  • Name of lead faculty mentor
  • Names of partnering faculty/other mentors if applicable (and if multiple faculty mentors, please designate a primary faculty contact)
  • Administrative contact for the project (for managing budget, etc.)
  • Names of students are already committed to the project, if any
  • Types of students who would be ideal for this project…majors, skillsets, competencies, interests, etc.
Dream and Impact
  • What is the dream?
  • How will you pursue this dream?
  • What is the topic/question/possibility/mode of inquiry you will employ?
  • What is the project’s potential for impact? What might your impact look like? What disciplines, fields, or spheres will your work influence?
  • How is this project collaborative, and what communities of practice would be involved in seeing it through, evaluating its progress, assessing its importance?
Project Scope
  • What are you inspired by, what are you building on, and how are you standing on the shoulders of giants?
  • What is the new intellectual/creative pathway you are taking?
  • Why is this a game-changer?
  • Who cares and why? What communities of practice are you contributing to, and calibrating against?

Review Criteria

Below are the criteria and questions that will help determine the awarding of I2I grants, and will guide the review process of all proposals.

Creative Inquiry
  • Does this proposal present compelling opportunities for Creative Inquiry?
  • Does the project bring a unique topic, mode of inquiry, mode of expression, etc. into the mix?
  • Does the project propose a new intellectual and/or creative pathway, or is this well-trod ground?
  • Does the proposal include an interdisciplinary variety in the mix of students, mix of mentors, and/or the relationship between subject areas of mentors and students?
  • Does this project bring in and calibrate against external stakeholders without compromising the integrity of the inquiry?
  • Does this project represent a convergence of countries, cultures, epistemologies, ways of doing, thinking, being, and knowing?
  • Is this project likely to foster interesting connections with other projects?
  • Does this project have the potential to create compelling stories that will contribute to the impact of Lehigh overall?
  • Does the project have a clear and compelling continuation plan? Is it a worthy multi-semester effort and will it require a time horizon to completion of more than a semester or two?
  • If appropriate, are other internal or extramural funding opportunities identified or sought?
Commitment to Impact
  • Is there potential for real-world impact in this proposal?
  • Do you sense a real commitment on the part of the lead mentors to see this project through?
  • Is this a good investment of institutional resources?

Finally, evaluators will be asked to provide open-ended comments, feedback, and questions for proposers. All of these answers will become factors in the decision-making process.


Sure. Money is split between them


The discretionary funds can be used in any manner approved by the univ, including salary / stipend.

It is up to your department head.

Varies quite a bit. We are trying to harmonize.