Interdisciplinary Action Groups Grant Program

CALL FOR PROPOSALS: Diffused Academia

Academia changed immensely during the COVID-19 pandemic. As classes transitioned online, faculty and librarians were required to teach using new formats — remote, hybrid, hyflex, and in-person. The pivot to teaching was non-negotiable, and arguably, therefore, produced innovation as well as considerable research on the topic. The pandemic’s effects on scholarship, research, and creative work, however, have been relatively less discussed. As we found over the last twenty months, research and scholarly activity were greatly affected with conferences canceled, fieldwork deferred, and research travel indefinitely postponed. Limited access to laboratories, archives, and studios affected scientific and artistic work, while data collection, performances, and collaborations, normally done in-person, were shifted to online environments.

Currently we are living in a state of diffused academia. We teach many classes in-person but hold most other events remotely. While many feel as though their experience on campus is disembodied given the limited experiences on campus, others have found opportunities in the transition to mostly remote work.

Are remote research and artistic endeavors going to be the future of academia? And, if so, how can we leverage the opportunities of remote work and use it to our advantage? What challenges are insurmountable and need new approaches for faculty and librarians to be successful in their scholarly and artistic pursuits? What lessons have we learned that can be translated to post-pandemic academia?

Should colleges and universities push increasingly towards remote research? Should symposia, book talks, workshops, conferences, research presentations — in other words the public, intellectual discourse of the university — move entirely to a remote world? Or should we whole-heartedly reject the notion of diffused academia and commit to an even greater in-person experience?


Teams of faculty and librarians from at least three different departments will propose a 3-4 month project with a specific, high impact outcome that provides new ideas, strategies, and possibilities. Each team will be expected to share their project with the USF community, key stakeholders, and the public in the form of talks, written materials, symposia, panel discussions, mini conferences, research publications, policy briefs, position paper, presentation, or other outputs. Specific outcomes must contribute to the public debate concerning the issue. Awards of up to $3,000 will be awarded in spring 2022.


Please submit a 3-5 page single-spaced proposal (not including cover page or citations). Please address the following in your proposal:

  • Urgent issue: What is the current, urgent issue that will be addressed, and why is it critical?
  • Description of the project: How will your team address this topic?
  • Timeline: What is your timeline for completion of the project?
  • Outcomes: What are your proposed outcomes (e.g., policy brief, book proposal, community presentation) and how will these inform the public debate on your topic?
  • Team: Who is in your team and what perspective and fields of expertise do they represent? You do not need to include individual bios of the team, rather a narrative of the overall team and the perspectives they bring.
  • Budget: What is your budget and how do you propose to spend the money?


Email proposals to by February 1, 2022. Proposals will be reviewed by a team of faculty and librarians from across the university. If you are interested in submitting an application but are not able to form a group, please let us know. We will organize a roundtable discussion in mid-January for interested faculty and librarians who are interested in the topic but do not have a group to get together and discuss ideas to see if partnerships can be formed.