Network Catalyst Grants

An Initiative of the Institute for a Sustainable Earth at George Mason University

Applications due Friday, Feb 17, 2023.

Informational Webinars: Zoom Info Session on Thursday, February 8 from 10:00 – 11:00 am (Click here to join!) and Zoom Info Session on Monday, February 13 from 2:00 – 3:00 pm (Click here to join!)

Grand challenges require an approach that is transdisciplinary and that broadly engages communities beyond the university. With the Network Catalyst Grants, the Institute for a Sustainable Earth will support faculty teams who wish to engage external partners in applied research opportunities in the areas of sustainability science and resilience aligned with UN Sustainable Development Goals. Faculty teams will have funding and support services so that they may catalyze a network of collaborators within and beyond George Mason University, with the ultimate goal of developing novel research approaches and applications. The ISE is growing a broad network of partners, and Network Catalyst teams will work with Institute experts to forge new and sustained engagements with extramural organizations. 

Successful teams will be expected to work with ISE personnel to build a transdisciplinary community of research and practice that extends deeply into local, regional, or international communities. One key outcome of the grant period will be the development of an extramural funding strategy that will sustain network activities and support putting research into action. 

Eligibility and Other Program Details:

Grant awards of up to $10,000 will be available to selected teams so that they may design and host, in close collaboration with the ISE, at least two workshops focused on applied research in a specific and emergent field of the sustainability sciences. The grant period is from June 1, 2023 through May 31, 2024. George Mason University faculty members are encouraged to apply in teams of at least two but no more than five participants. Successful applications will include:


1.    A compelling description of the transdisciplinary network the team plans to construct, organized around a clear and specific theme from within the broad area of sustainability sciences and/or the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Applicants should explain how their envisioned network, once catalyzed, would advance both research and practice in important ways.

2.    An initial list of possible community collaborators beyond George Mason University. The ISE will assist successful applicants in the construction of their collaborator networks, but applicants should have some idea of the local, regional, national, or international partners they wish to engage.

3.    An initial plan for sustaining success within your network beyond the grant period. For example, applicants can indicate transdisciplinary funding opportunities they will pursue; opportunities for co-authorship with community partners; or plans for sustaining engagement via internships, graduate student work, etc.

4.    A detailed budget describing the uses to which your team will put the grant award. Allowed expenses include faculty stipends, graduate student researcher(s), regional travel, and the costs associated with two workshops. 

Applications are due by 11:59 pm on Friday, February 17, 2023, and should be mailed as one unified PDF (not to exceed 5 pages) to (Institute for a Sustainable Earth). Applicants should be available in late February for interviews, and ISE leadership will announce the winning teams in early March.

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