Site Logo
HACU Tagline


October 16, 2018


2019 Germination workshops on energy sustainability

The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), in partnership with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Illinois), the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), and the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO), invites submissions for participation in an NSF-funded project designed to leverage a diverse community of researchers to develop innovative research projects around the topic of energy sustainability. The primary objective of this effort is to build a diverse collaborative community that is committed to producing innovative research proposals to be submitted to funding agencies in mid-2019.

Each partner organization is seeking at least four representative participants. These persons can be at the level of early stage faculty or postdoctoral scholars in any field relevant to energy sustainability. Each scholar selected is expected to participate in:

1. A 2.5-day workshop to engage in a structured collaboration process designed to stimulate the production of research ideas and to self-select into research teams. This workshop is scheduled for January 7-9, 2019, in Chicago, IL.

2. A several month "gestation" period during which self-identified sub-groups will develop research ideas into grant proposals.

3. Second and third workshops in spring 2019 and early summer 2019, which are designed to crystallize the research proposals for submission to funding agencies.

Representatives from funding agencies and established researchers in sustainable energy will be involved throughout this process to facilitate team and proposal development. Travel and lodging costs for the workshops will be covered with grant resources.

The sixteen selected scholars will represent a diversity of academic disciplines, races, ethnicities, genders, geographies, and institutions. The project seeks to create a community of scholars who can support one another in generating exciting new ideas for research on energy sustainability.

Participants will be selected on the basis of:

  • Research promise.
  • Interest in energy sustainability.
  • Ability to collaborate positively with a research team diverse in terms of disciplinary, research, and life experiences.
  • Support from their home institution for expanding research collaboration and capacity.

A letter of recommendation/support from the applicant's department chair, dean and/or academic vice president/provost will be required along with each application. Please have your letter-writer submit your recommendation via email to:

Applicants should also be willing to participate in an IRB-approved research component of the project that will involve interviews and surveys to capture their experiences with the community.

The project proposal summarizes the aim thus:

This project draws on social scientific research to implement a platform designed to stimulate interdisciplinary idea development from ideation through proposal preparation. It attempts to structure this process so that individuals from widely disparate cultural, educational, and disciplinary backgrounds can collaborate in developing creative and potentially transformational projects addressing scientific grand challenges. As such, it offers a comprehensive approach, which goes beyond techniques that offer procedural support for only some phases of the process. It also brings together scholars from at least four groups of equal sizes with substantively different backgrounds in terms of life experience and culture, enabling us to assess the hypothesis that this will stimulate creative/transformational thinking beyond that achieved by groups with more homogeneous composition.

To apply for this opportunity, please visit:

Applications are due by November 12, 2018. We plan to notify participants of their acceptances in early December 2018.

If you have any questions, please contact Will Barley at

N.B. Previous rounds of this approach to germinating innovative research suggest that potential participants (and their recommending administrators) do well to consider the constraints their academic situations may impose on their ability to pursue a new direction in energy sustainability research. Scholars with existing research programs may not find it expedient to commit to a new project with a new team. Scholars in primarily teaching institutions may find that teaching loads and lack of research support make it difficult to sustain the effort required to develop a fundable proposal. We point this out not to discourage any interested applicants but to encourage thoughtful assessment of academic and institutional realities prior to making a one-year commitment (or considerably longer if a promising proposal is developed and funded).


HACU Member Advisories are a service of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU)