Emerging Research Initiatives (ERI)

FY 2020 Call for Emerging Research Initiatives

University research and engagement goals for the FY 2020 requires selection of and plans for at least one emerging research initiative.


  • Identify and support ERIs or centers consistent with NIU's research vision and strategic emphases.
  • Recruit and review at least two written proposals from ERI or center proponents.
  • Recognize and manage the proposals per NIU policy.
  • Develop plans for assigning resources to at least one ERI or center.
For more information view the detailed goals.

Standard Procedures

The standard procedures for establishing, accessing, and terminating ERIs, centers and institutes (PDF) serves as a template to meet the university goals. The process begins with a brief (no longer than two pages) white paper shared with campus leadership. Thereafter, if sufficient institutional interest is evident, a formal ten-page proposal must be submitted to the vice president of Research and Innovation Partnerships (RIPS). The vice president of RIPS, in consultation with the involved departments and colleges, will recommend to the president if the ERI should be institutionally recognized and receive resources.

FY 2020 Solicitation

In the interests of fully engaging faculty and widely offering an opportunity to propose ERIs for FY 2020, the two-page white paper will be augmented with a verbal presentation or "pitch" with essentially the same material. A presentation day will be scheduled and all interested parties offered an opportunity to present their proposal to a selection panel.

The panel will select a limited number of presentations, perhaps two to four, to proceed to a formal, ten-page proposal and formal consideration. Panelists would include college associate deans responsible for research and engagement, augmented by subject matter experts as needed. At their discretion, the dean of the Graduate School, senior associate vice president for Academic Diversity, vice president for Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development, vice president for University Advancement and the vice president for Research and Innovation Partnerships or their delegate may participate.

The pitch should be no longer than ten minutes with a twenty-minute question and answer period. As with the two-page white paper, the presentation should include information on

In addition, for this call, preference will be given to ERIs with interdisciplinary programs (involving two or more departments) and contributions to the Northern Illinois Center for Community Sustainability.

ERI Selection Timeline

  • Announcement of opportunity Dec. 16, 2019.
  • Submission of white papers Feb. 10, 2019.
  • The week of Feb. 17, 2020.
    • Presentations
    • Panel discussion
    • Panel submission of recommendations
  • Announcement of selections for full proposals Feb. 24, 2020

Adjusted Timeline

  • Full proposals submitted (TBD)
  • Proposal presentations (TBD)
  • ERIs recommended (TBD)
  • Funding decisions (TBD)

View the emerging research initiative flowchart (PDF).