The Commons at the University of Kansas supports research endeavors that bring together the sciences, arts, and humanities to explore the reciprocal relationship between natural and cultural systems. In so doing, the Commons intends to be a catalyst for bold innovation, unconventional thinking and unexpected discoveries

The Commons Interdisciplinary Research Initiative in Nature and Culture is a KU-wide, competitive seed-grant program to nurture and develop interdisciplinary, collaborative research ideas at the conceptual stage. The Commons seed grant program targets concepts and their interdisciplinary synthesis, not the generation of preliminary data. Seed grant activities may include exploratory research workshops, studios, colloquia, symposia, scholarly travel and visits, and other activities that advance interdisciplinary research ideas, collaborations and extramural proposals. Awards do not pay for individuals to attend conferences. Proposals must equally integrate methods and ideas from the three areas represented by The Commons: sciences, arts, and humanities. Research partnerships across KU units and between KU and other universities and institutions are strongly encouraged. Awards are co-sponsored by Research and Graduate Studies and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The outcome of a seed grant should be the development and submission of a substantive research grant proposal to a federal agency, foundation or other funding entity.



Brent Metz, Jodi Gentry, Belinda Sturm, Aida Ramos Viera, et al. Combining Engineering, Public Health, Anthropological, Geographic and Film Knowledge for Sustainable Development Among the Ch'orti' Maya of Guatemala


Paul Stock, Tim Miller, Kelly Kindscher, Kate Meyer, James Gunn, et al. Food Utopias: An Interdisciplinary Exploration of Ideal Food Systems


Jay T. Johnson, Gene Rankey, Johannes Feddema, et al. Learning from the Indigenous Science: Indigenous Perception and Adaptation to Environmental Change in Kiribati

A. Townsend Peterson, Luke Jordan, Stephen Egbert, et al. Land Use Change over the Twentieth-Century in Central Mexico: Modern Photographs and Landscape Paintings from José María Velasco


Paul Atchley, Chris Depcik, and Gregory Thomas, SmartGrid/SmartHome/SmartCar: The New American Dream

Ford Ballantyne, The Texture of Desert Landscapes: Visualizing Interactions Between Humans and Their Environments

Mary Dusenbury, The Power of Color in Early and Medieval East Asia


Glenn Adams, The Socio-Ecological Foundations of Intimacy

Chris Brown, Putting Global Commodity Chains in their Place: a KU Mongolia Initiative to Mitigate the Socio-Cultural and Environmental Effects of Mining

Michael Crawford, Why do we migrate? Interdisciplinary Exploration of Human Migration