The 2019 Catalyst Fund is
now closed. The next Catalyst Fund cycle will be in early 2020.
Submissions are accepted
from any member of LYRASIS in good standing. A member may submit no
more than ONE proposal and ONE idea per
submitting a Proposal, you are requesting funding to pilot
your own project. Funds will be awarded to your organization if the
project is selected.
submitting an Idea, you are recommending a service, program or
consortial solution that will benefit the field which LYRASIS could
provide. If selected, LYRASIS will design the program, service or solution
and pilot it for all members.
If you wish to submit a proposal or idea to
continue work on a project previously funded by the Catalyst Fund, you may
apply, but the application will receive no special consideration and 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. In
addition, the new Catalyst Fund submission must include a description of how
the previously funded project met its goals and what new activities are
Criteria for Consideration
All proposals and ideas should be innovative
concepts that stimulate creativity and serve the broad interests of the LYRASIS
Evaluation Criteria for Proposals:
this proposal innovatively test-and-try a solution to a well-defined
problem or opportunity?
the proposal advance an important objective of the library, archive and/or
is the potential for the proposal to impact and serve the broad LYRASIS
the proposal of interest to others outside of your organization?
the plan of work appropriate to the proposal's goal, and the budget
reasonable and justified?
The LYRASIS Leaders Circle may recommend areas
of special interest for upcoming cycles. In 2019, they were interested in
projects that crossed organizational boundaries and engaged diverse types of
libraries, archives and museums in partnerships to expand the impact of
innovative solutions to shared challenges.
Evaluation Criteria for Ideas:
this idea identify a well-defined problem or present a well-defined
opportunity for LYRASIS and its members?
the idea innovatively advance an important objective of the library,
archive and/or museum communities?
is the potential for the proposed program, service or consortial
opportunity to serve the broad LYRASIS community?
it a common and/or shared issue for members of the LYRASIS community?
the idea of interest to others outside of your organization?
the solution sustainable or can a sustainable business model evolve to
support it long-term?
How to Apply
Applications are typically accepted in the January through February timeframe. Members are asked to complete a brief online application form and provide a two-page PDF describing their project or idea.
Links below are examples only. Updated instructions and forms will be provided prior to the 2020 Catalyst Fund cycle.
"Catalyst Fund: The Application Process
and Overview" webinars were held for the 2019 cycle. Recordings are below.
Volunteer to Review 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 receive a subset of all submissions aligned to their
expertise. An online survey form is provided to rate proposals and ideas
according to the criteria listed above.
To volunteer, complete this short form so we know what areas you’re most interested in
LYRASIS will contact you following the relevant
Catalyst Fund application period to confirm your availability during the
anticipated review period. A short webinar will be offered to go over the
review process. An email will follow with a link to the review form and PDFs of
the proposals or ideas for your review.
If your institution submits a proposal or
idea, you won’t be eligible to review in that cycle.
What is the Catalyst Fund?
The Catalyst Fund is a program administered by LYRASIS
and Leaders Circle members. The Fund is designed to foster
new ideas that will benefit the archive, library and museum communities.
Catalyst Fund awards support LYRASIS members as they test and try innovative
approaches to advance our field.
How much is available for projects?
LYRASIS anticipates making four to six awards
or approximately $100,000 each cycle. This amount may change year-to-year. The
maximum amount that can be requested is $100,000. The average award in 2017-2018
Who is eligible?
All LYRASIS members in good standing may
submit an idea and/or proposal and are eligible to receive awards from the
Can group agents apply for the Catalyst Fund?
Yes, a group agent can apply.
Can affiliates apply for the Catalyst Fund?
Affiliates or group participants are not
members of LYRASIS and are not eligible to receive Catalyst Fund awards. They
may be partners in a project sponsored by a LYRASIS Institutional or Group
Agent Member. If unsure of your membership status, check the current list of
LYRASIS members or contact Member Support.
How many proposals and ideas can my
LYRASIS members may submit a maximum of ONE
proposal and ONE idea. If multiple proposals or ideas are submitted by a
member, LYRASIS will contact the individuals who submitted and request that
they choose one to go forward for review. The proposal or idea that the
institution defers may be re-submitted in next year’s Catalyst Fund cycle.
If my project or idea is funded this year, can
I submit another proposal or idea next year?
Yes, past recipients can reapply in subsequent
years for new or continuing projects.
If applying for a second phase of a project
that was already awarded Catalyst Funds, the required final report for the initial
award must be complete and submitted to LYRASIS for sharing with the
membership. If it is a new project proposing work in a different area unrelated
to the preceding Catalyst Fund award, there are no prerequisite requirements.
Who determines which ideas and projects are
All submissions are reviewed by field experts.
Their input is provided to the Leaders Circle, which makes final selections
among proposals. LYRASIS Board of Trustees and staff will determine which Ideas
What's the timeframe for implementing funded
Proposed projects should be no longer than 12
Catalyst Fund recipients will be announced in
early June. Projects can begin as soon as funds are disbursed. All funded
projects will report on accomplishments at the annual LYRASIS Member Summit in
October of each year.
Do I have to implement the idea?
No. While proposals are to be implemented by
the applicant and its partners, selected ideas will be implemented by LYRASIS
staff. LYRASIS may elect to implement the idea directly, work with members to
plan or test the idea, or contract with a third party to do initial research
and/or testing. Your organization's participation in design and testing of your
idea is completely optional and not a factor considered as part of the idea
Will LYRASIS review a draft?
Yes, LYRASIS staff will review draft
applications. Drafts should be sent as MS-Word documents to firstname.lastname@example.org. Drafts are not required. Comments provided
will be suggestions only and do not imply any specific outcome from the review
and selection process.
How do LYRASIS members benefit?
Libraries, archives and museums benefit by
learning from new approaches and concepts developed and tested through the
Catalyst Fund. The results of all Catalyst Fund projects are shared with the
LYRASIS membership upon completion (see completed 2017 projects and in-process 2018 projects). Presentation materials from the Member
Summit, final project reports, and links to project websites and open source
code repositories are made freely available to disseminate results and provide
models for local adaptation.
How much can I request for a proposal?
The maximum you can request is $100,000. Note
that funding in the past year averaged $26,150, so a $100,000 request will need
to be very compelling for Leaders Circle consideration.
Will the Catalyst Fund cover overhead or
No, the Catalyst Fund will not cover overhead
costs or indirect expenses.
Indirect costs, also called overhead or
"facilities and administrative costs," are defined as administrative
or other expenses that cannot be directly tied or allocated to a specific
program, project or activity. Instead, they are related to overall general
operations and are shared among projects, programs and/or functions. Examples
include expenses for executive oversight, accounting, utilities, shared
technology and systems support, and facility maintenance. Some organizations
may have a negotiated indirect cost rate with a federal government agency.
Can capital expenditures be included in the
Catalyst Fund budget?
No, the Catalyst Fund cannot be used for
Capital expenditures are expenses that result
in the acquisition of longer-lived assets, those that have a useful life in
excess of one year, such as property, buildings, equipment, furniture and
fixtures. Expenses that are capitalized are amortized or depreciated over
multiple years based on the expected life of the asset.