Interdisciplinary Research Leaders

    Release Date: February 22, 2016 | Application Deadline: April 19, 2016, 3:00 p.m. ET


This call for applications seeks teams of researchers and community members who are committed to working together to produce community-relevant, action-oriented research to improve health and well-being.

Program Goals
The broad goal of the Interdisciplinary Research Leaders (IRL) program is to produce diverse interdisciplinary leaders who conduct and apply high-quality, community-engaged, action-oriented, equity-focused, health research in order to drive improvements in the health of communities. Accordingly, the program will recruit and select a diverse cohort of mid-career researchers and community members to become IRL program fellows. Each cohort of fellows will participate in a three-year program. During this time, fellows will receive leadership training, the opportunity for cutting-edge research method exploration, mentoring, networking opportunities, and fellowship and research funds, so that they may better effect change and become the next generation of leaders in population health and health equity research.  For more information, see the full Call for Applications.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

  • Applicants must apply to the IRL program as a team. Each team must be comprised of three individuals: two researchers and one community partner. Researchers are people with a terminal degree in their field (e.g., PhD) or extensive research or evaluation experience. The third individual must be a non-researcher “community partner.” Community partners are individuals with close ties to a community of interest; individuals must have the potential to take action on the issue themselves or have relationships with entities that can take action.
  • Researchers from diverse disciplinary and demographic backgrounds are encouraged to apply. The IRL program especially encourages researchers from fields that traditionally do not study health, or researchers who do not have prior direct experience in health research, to apply. Researchers may hold academic appointments or positions in applied research firms or community organizations. Researchers on each team should come from different disciplinary and/or methodological backgrounds. Research partners on an IRL team do not need to be located in the same geographical area, but a plan for maintaining team cohesion is a necessary component of the application and selection process.
  • Community partners may work in a variety of organizational settings, as long as their experience and expertise is germane to the proposed research project. The program uses a broad and inclusive definition of community partners; they may be a community organizers, educators, leaders, local government workers, or any of a wide range of people working in the nonprofit and private sectors, whether health care-related or not.
  • IRL teams are expected to be fully collaborative, meaning researchers and community partners must share a cohesive vision and demonstrate an ability to work together equitably to achieve program goals. Each team must thoroughly describe their experience and plan for establishing and/or maintaining an effective, equitable collaboration.
  • Each team must designate one member as the lead contact for the fellowship application process and project funding support. Upon approval by the national leadership program center and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, grant funding for the 24-month research project will be awarded to the sponsoring institution of one designated lead team member. Project grants must be awarded to an organization based in the United States or its territories that is either a public entity or nonprofit organization that is tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Applications from prospective IRL teams must relate to one of the program topics to be considered for the first cohort of the IRL program, as noted above. Future cohorts will feature different topics and will be announced as appropriate.
  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or individuals granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) status by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at the time of application.
  • Individual candidates for receipt of award funds must not be receiving support from other research fellowships/traineeships at the time they begin the program.
  • Government employees who are not considered government officials under Section 4946 of the Internal Revenue Code are eligible to apply.

Key Dates

February 25, 2016 (1-2 p.m. ET)
Webinar for potential applicants of all four Change Leadership Programs. A recording is available here.

March 16, 2016 (3–4 p.m. ET)
Informational webinar for prospective Interdisciplinary Research Leaders applicants.
A recording is available here.
The event slides are available here.

March 30, 2016 (12-1:00 p.m. ET)
Webinar for potential applicants of all four Change Leadership Programs.
A recording is available here.

April 19, 2016 (3 p.m. ET)
Deadline for receipt of fellowship applications from teams.

May 23–June 24, 2016
Semifinalist interviews.  

June 24, 2016
Deadline for receipt of semifinalist supplemental applications.

Mid -July 2016
Finalist teams notified of acceptance into fellowship program.

September 1, 2016
Fellowships begin. Stipend funding initiated for program fellows.

September 26–28, 2016
Fall Institute, Princeton, NJ.

November 16-18, 2016
Interdisciplinary Research Leaders Program Meeting, Minneapolis, Minn.

December 8, 2016
Invited research proposals from teams submitted.

March 1, 2017
Research grant funding initiated for teams.

Total Awards

Total awards will be up to $350,000 per team for the duration of the three-year fellowship program. This amount includes both annual stipends for all three participants and a research project award.

Application is Now Closed

Application closed as of:
April 19, 2016, 3:00 p.m. ET

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