The 2013 RFP is now available.
Proposals due Monday, March 25, 2013.
Focal Point Program Description
To best prepare graduates for the 21st century, it is imperative to encourage them to be bold thinkers, risk takers, and collaborative leaders. With these goals in mind, the Graduate College sponsors Focal Point, an initiative to stimulate intellectual communities of faculty and graduate students around topics that undergird important issues and problems of our times. Focal Point is designed to engage faculty and inspire graduate students to advance knowledge in areas of critical national and human need whether this be in global health and engineering, economic and social issues, humanities and arts, or challenges of understanding and communicating in an increasingly complex world.
Through collaboration with the Academy of Entrepreneurial Leadership (AEL), the Graduate College seeks projects that highlight and build entrepreneurship activities across campus. Begun in 2004, the AEL aims “to encourage entrepreneurial awareness and initiatives across all disciplines at the university” by catalyzing relationships and networks among students, faculty, the community, and industry.
- To advance knowledge in areas of critical national and human need
- To promote interdisciplinary inquiry and collaborate problem solving
- To give graduate students the opportunity to be actively involved in formulating and shaping the scope of a large research problem
- To support collaborations with international institutions or NGOs to establish new partnerships for graduate education
- To support collaborations with domestic institutions to enhance diversity in graduate education
- To promote entrepreneurship activities across campus
Benefits for Graduate Education at Illinois
- To support development of new courses / programs or advancement of ongoing activities
- To initiate seed activities for development of grant proposals for extramural funding
- To provide a vehicle to design graduate education elements complementing campus research initiatives (e.g., energy, sustainability, climate change, etc.)
- To disseminate new knowledge via Graduate College symposia, workshops, exhibits (real or virtual), performances, musical recordings, or other campus events
- To create opportunities to advance current pedagogy and practices in graduate education
Program Requirement and Logistics (see also 2013 RFP)
- Proposals may request up to $12,000/year ($15,000 if the program culminates with a campus event such as a workshop or symposium).
- Projects must begin in August and activities must span at least two semesters or one calendar year.
- Proposals can be faculty led or graduate student led, but must identify two faculty and two student organizers, who will be responsible for the overall program design.
- Groups meet once a week, in general, but no less than twice a month.
- Participating students may earn up to 3 hours of independent study/special project research credit.
- Must involve at least two academic units on campus.
- Each group must create and maintain a website, linked to the Graduate College website.
- Involvement of industry partners or community organizations, if appropriate, is welcome.