Catalyst Program

Catalyst is a professional development and mentoring program to help faculty members successfully apply for grants from state and federal agencies, foundations and non-profits. The goal of the program is to enhance the research and creative capacity of the University and institutionalize systemic support for the advancement and success of early- and mid-career faculty by: (1) providing comprehensive training in the preparation of competitive grant proposals, (2) establishing a peer mentoring program, and (3) creating a community of practice aimed at facilitating and promoting the engagement of diverse groups of faculty in disciplinary and interdisciplinary research and creative activity.

Catalyst is comprised of the following:

Group training and professional development seminars designed to provide faculty with the tools and knowledge to prepare competitive, review-ready grant proposals targeting extramural funding opportunities in their field. Lectures, discussions, and hands-on writing activities are led by senior faculty, guest speakers (e.g., program officers, grant specialists, and consultants), and sponsored programs office personnel.

Interdisciplinary peer group activities led by grant-successful faculty coaches. Under the guidance of the coaches, faculty draft sections of proposals and meet regularly to review their progress, discuss challenges, and provide constructive feedback on their peers’ proposals.

Faculty writing coaches with strong track records of extramural funding and a commitment to faculty mentoring oversee the writing team discussions and help advise faculty on the best strategies and approaches for better writing.

Upon completing a Catalyst Boot Camp, participants become “Catalyst Fellows,” giving them access to post- training resources and funding. These post-training activities are intended to provide additional opportunities for Fellows to: (1) further enhance their grant-writing skills, (2) strengthen relationships with potential funding agencies, and (3) meet and talk with faculty from other departments and disciplines to foster collegiality, stimulate project ideas, and encourage interdisciplinary collaborations.