The Maryland Catalyst Fund


The University of Maryland Catalyst Fund (Click link for a PDF of program guidelines and details found on this page.)

The Maryland Catalyst Fund program – formerly known as the Faculty Incentive Program – is the University of Maryland’s internal faculty research support program and a key resource in the university’s overall effort to expand its research activity, visibility and impact. The program is designed to enable innovative research, incentivize the pursuit of large, complex, and high-impact research initiatives, and prepare UMD faculty to be more competitive for extramural research awards.

The Maryland Catalyst Fund consists of five funding categories (detailed in MCF table below). 

MCF Table

Maryland Catalyst Funds program is overseen by the Vice President for Research (VPR) and managed by the VPR’s Research Development Office, in coordination with UMD academic units and the Provost. All awards are supported by Designated Research Initiative Fund.

(“DRIF”) contributions from both faculty organizational unit(s) and central resources from the VPR and the Provost, and all award decisions are made subject to the availability of funds.

Only tenured/tenure-track and professional track faculty (at the rank of assistant research scientist or higher) whose full-time, home position is at UMD, are eligible to be the Principal Investigator of any Maryland Catalyst Funds award. Visiting, adjunct, and affiliate faculty are not eligible to apply; postdoctoral fellows are also ineligible.

Detailed Program Guidance
The remainder of this document includes detailed guidance for each of the five categories of Maryland Catalyst Funds. All questions should be directed to Associate Vice President for Research Eric Chapman at

NOTE: All Maryland Catalyst Fund Awards are subject to availability of funds.



New Directions Fund Award Details

The inaugural competition for campus-wide New Directions Fund awards yielded seven awards, with work beginning in January 2019. There are two competition tracks (learn more):


Track A: Proof of Concept awards support researchers pursuing a new line of research or collaborative partnership to help them be competitive for external funding.

Track B: Limited External Grant Opportunity (LEGO) awards support particularly innovative research, writing, and/or creative work in fields where external funding is scarce.

Brief abstracts for all awardees are below. Details and abstracts from the New Directions Fund predecessor "Tier 1" program can be found ,here.


Click below to expand details.

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New Directions Proof of Concept awardees:

New Directions LEGO awardees



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Division of Research
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742-1541

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