Interdisciplinary Research Leaders

2022 Call for Applications

    Release Date: March 2, 2022 | Application Deadline: Wed, 4 May 2022


We believe that leadership for health equity is an essential lever for change, especially the complex change needed to dismantle structural racism. Interdisciplinary Research Leaders (IRL) is a three-year national leadership development program that aims to foster and support new interdisciplinary, action-oriented research collaborations. Achieving health equity—especially for communities of color, those in low socioeconomic positions, and Native populations—is a core value of the program. The aim for the 2022 IRL program is to generate high-quality, community-engaged research useful for dismantling structural racism, improving health, and advancing health equity. There is an urgent need to identify solutions for eliminating and reversing the devastating effects of structural racism.

For the 2022 cohort, we will select up to 15 teams of three midcareer individuals each (two researchers and a community leader) from diverse disciplinary backgrounds or scientific perspectives. The applicant organization will receive up to $125,000 for each team’s specific research project, including $25,000 stipend per fellow per year. After the fellowship begins, funds up to $15,000 per year will be available from the national program center to the community partner’s employer, sponsoring institution, or another community organization directly involved in the research project.

Do you share our vision to help build a Culture of Health—and do you want to take the next step in your leadership journey? We encourage you to explore complete details about the program at the Interdisciplinary Research Leaders website and in the informational webinar for prospective applicants.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

  • Be at least 21 years old as of September 1, 2022.
  • Be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or individuals granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at the time of application. As federal policy or laws change, we may need to consider adjustments in eligibility and grant terms.

The following individuals are not eligible to apply or be part of an Interdisciplinary Research Leaders team:

  • Federal, state, tribal and local government employees who are considered government officials under Section 4946 of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Individual candidates who are related by blood or marriage to any Officer or Trustee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, or be a descendant of its founder, Robert Wood Johnson.
  • Individuals who are receiving support from other research fellowships/ traineeships; this includes NIH K award.

Key Dates

  • March 17, 2022 (2 p.m. CT / 3 p.m. ET)
    During this webinar, applicants were able to get more information about the Interdisciplinary Research Leaders program.
        View the slides here.
        Listen to the recording here.
  • May 4, 2022 (3 p.m. ET)
    Deadline for receipt of fellowship application.
  • July 5-July 25, 2022
    Semifinalist team interviews (virtual).
  • August 22, 2022
    Finalist teams notified of recommendation for fellowship program.
  • September 14, 2022
    Deadline for receipt of finalist supplemental applications.
  • November 1, 2022
    Fellowships begin. Grant funding initiated.
  • April 2023
    Revised research proposals from teams are due.
  • May 2023
    nterdisciplinary Research Leaders program meeting (on-site attendance required unless there are public health concerns).
  • 2023 (date TBD by RWJF)
    RWJF Annual Leadership Institute (in-person attendance required unless there are public health concerns), date and location TBD.
  • April–May 2023
    Research grant funding initiated for teams.

Total Awards

  • Number of fellows in the 2022 cohort: up to 45 fellows (15 teams)
  • Grant funds from RWJF will include: 
    • Stipend: $25,000 per fellow for each year of the three-year program, $75,000 in total. These funds are meant to support time for participation in the IRL program, including completing the program curriculum, national meetings, and dissemination activities, and will be paid to the sponsoring institution(s) as described below. An optional administrative fee of $1,000 per year, $3,000 in total, to cover the sponsoring organization’s administrative costs of managing the grant will be available. No other indirect costs will be allowed.
    • Research project grant: $125,000 for the specific research project that each team will carry out. The team will apply for the research project grant after the fellowship begins and, at that time, will select the organization that will receive and manage the research project grant. We anticipate that the total 24- to 30-month budget, including indirect costs/overhead for the project will be up to $125,000. The research component of IRL will support research activities only; it is not intended to support program development or implementation. Research grant funds can be used to cover additional effort as needed; purchase data or supplies; cover support staff; collect data; or pay for travel necessary for the project’s execution.
  • Travel expenses for all required program meetings and trainings will be paid directly by the national leadership program center or RWJF.

Additional resources—in the form of training, collaborative opportunities, and travel expenses—are also provided independent of this award.

After the fellowship begins, funds of up to $15,000 per year will be available from the national program center to the community partner’s employer, sponsoring institution, or another community organization directly involved in the research project. This will generally be limited to Section 501(c)(3) public charities and government entities. Recognizing that $25,000 may not be sufficient to fully fund a one-day-per-week time commitment to IRL for some fellows, we ask at the finalist stage for the team members’ employers to acknowledge their willingness to allow the fellow to commit the required time to the program.

Application is Now Closed

Application closed as of:
May 04, 2022, 3:00 p.m. ET

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