The application cycle for the Catalyst Fund is closed. However, the next cycle will open on January 9, 2023, and guidelines are available now. The Catalyst Fund Program Lead and Lyrasis Grants Administrator are happy to discuss grant concepts, review draft applications, and answer questions throughout the year. We encourage you to speak with the staff about your concepts before making an application. Contact catalystfund@lyrasis.org ​to schedule a time to meet.

Submissions

Submissions are accepted from any member of Lyrasis.

A member may submit no more than ONE proposal and ONE idea per year.

  • If submitting a proposal, you are requesting funds to pilot your own project. Funds will be awarded to your organization if the project is selected.
  • If submitting an idea, you are recommending an issue, problem, service need or solution that Lyrasis could investigate, test, and address. If selected, ideas will be included in Lyrasis' Research and Innovation agenda for exploration, planning, program design, and piloting. Your organization may have the option, but would not be obligated, to participate in the resulting program, service, or solution.

If you wish to submit a proposal or idea to continue work on a project previously funded by the Catalyst Fund, you may apply. Such applications will be judged by the same criteria as others in the competition. The work on the prior Catalyst Fund project must be completed and the final report submitted for consideration of a new grant award. In addition, the new Catalyst Fund submission must include a description of the previously funded project's accomplishments and what new activities are proposed.

On Wednesday, January 11, 2023, at 3:00 pm eastern, the staff will hold a brief webinar "Catalyst Fund: The Application Process & Overview", click here to register for free. If you'd like the staff to review your application, or comment on your grant concept, reach out today to schedule a time for discussion by emailing: catalystfund@Lyrasis.org.

Criteria for Consideration

All proposals and ideas should be innovative concepts that demonstrate creativity and serve the broad interests of the Lyrasis membership, and the field at large. Successful applications embody the values of the Lyrasis community, including equitable access and sustainability, improving costs, lowering risk, and reducing complexity, collaborative business models for scale and affordability, and providing programs and tools for ideation and futureproofing.

Lyrasis is interested in projects that cross boundaries and engage diverse organizations in partnerships, to expand the impact of innovative solutions for challenges facing libraries, archives, museums, and complementary research communities.

Evaluation Criteria for Proposals:

  • What is the potential for the proposal to impact and serve the broader Lyrasis community?

    • Is it a common and/or shared issue for members of the Lyrasis community?

    • Are the outputs scalable beyond a single institution?

    • Is the proposal of interest to others outside of your organization?

  • Does this proposal innovatively test-and-try a solution to a well-defined problem or opportunity?

  • Does the proposal advance an important objective of the library, archives, museum and/or complementary research communities?

  • Is the plan of work appropriate to the proposal's goal(s), and the budget reasonable and justified?

Evaluation Criteria for Ideas:

  • What is the potential for the idea to serve the broader Lyrasis community?

    • Is the idea of interest to others outside of your organization?

    • Could a sustainable solution or business model evolve to support the idea long-term?

  • Does this idea identify a well-defined problem or present a well-defined opportunity for Lyrasis and its members?

  • Does the idea innovatively advance an important objective of the library, archives, museum and/or the complementary research communities at large?

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How to Apply

Applications for the Catalyst Fund will be accepted through midnight EST on February 24, 2023. Members are asked to complete a brief online application form and provide a two-page PDF describing their proposal or idea.

For Proposals:

  • All prospective applicants should consider discussing their proposed concepts with Catalyst Fund staff prior to submitting a proposal. Contact catalystfund@lyrasis.org to schedule a meeting.
  • Review the Instructions for Proposals.
  • Create your proposal. Use this template (MS Word format) to create your application. Your final proposal will need to be formatted as a PDF.

For Ideas:

  • All prospective applicants should consider discussing their proposed concepts with Catalyst Fund staff prior to submitting a proposal. Contact catalystfund@lyrasis.org to schedule a meeting.
  • Review the Instructions for Ideas.
  • Describe your idea. Use this template (MS Word format) to create your own document using the same outline. Your final proposal will need to be formatted as a PDF.

Reviewing and Selecting Proposals and Ideas

Each proposal and idea will be reviewed and rated by multiple experts to identify those of greatest interest to the field. This review happens after the application period closes, typically during March and April. Reviewers rate applications according to the relevant (proposal or idea) criteria listed above.

Proposal reviewers include field experts, Leaders Circle members, and Lyrasis staff. Each volunteer reviewer receives a subset of all submissions aligned to their expertise. To volunteer to review proposals, complete this short form to register. Lyrasis will contact reviewers following the Catalyst Fund application period to confirm availability. See Become a Reviewer for more information. Note, if a reviewer's institution submits a proposal, they will not be eligible to review in that cycle.

  • Reviewers' rankings are used to identify the proposals of greatest interest to the field. The top ranked proposals are voted upon by the general Lyrasis membership, which determines what projects will be funded. Each member institution has a designated representative who will be responsible for casting an institutional vote, one vote per institution. Institutions who have submitted an application may vote for their own project, but still only have one vote each year.
  • Idea reviewers include Lyrasis staff, Trustees, and Leaders Circle members. Reviewers are selected to provide different perspectives on ideas, such as from potential users, related work in the field, and business planning. Individuals submitting an 'Idea' will not be eligible to review other ideas, or proposals.
  • Reviewers' feedback on 'Idea' applications' is presented to the Lyrasis Leadership team, who will determine which ideas to include in the Lyrasis Research and Innovation agenda for the upcoming fiscal year.