The application cycle for the Catalys​​t Fund is currently open until 2/19/2021. The Catalyst Fund Program Lead is always happy to discuss grant conc​epts and answer questions at any time throughout the year. Instructions for 2021 applications are provided below. Addition​al questions? Contactcatalystfund@lyrasis.org.​​​​​​​​​​​​


The Catalyst Fund is an award program that provides support for new ideas and innovative projects that advance the mission and reach of LYRASIS member organizations. Led by the LYRASIS Leaders Circle, the Fund expands opportunities to explore, test, refine and collaborate on innovations with potential for community-wide impact.

Catalyst Fund Values

  • Cross institutional collaboration
  • Diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility
  • Open source, open access, open sharing of results, and open infrastructure
  • Community-driven projects and projects having community impact

Subject Specific Tracks or Themes

The Catalyst Fund supports creative concepts that:


  • Advance important objectives of libraries, archives, museums, and complementary research communities;
  • Test-and-try new approaches to shared problems; and
  • Serve the broad interests of the LYRASIS membership.

The Leaders Circle is especially interested in projects that cross boundaries and engage diverse types of organizations in partnerships to expand the impact of innovative solutions to shared challenges. The types of applications seen in previous years have addressed subjects and concepts as varied as AI, accessibility, climate change, copyright challenges, digital archiving, disaster preparedness/response, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), metadata transformation, open educational resources, professional education, open source and community-supported software development, scholarly communication, social justice work and virtual reality, just to name a few.

This year, in addition to our general call for proposals, the Catalyst Fund is piloting a new thematic track and welcoming applications focused specifically in the area of Open-Source Software (OSS), Applications in this track will apply the values and creative concepts of the Fund as listed above to the advancement, evolution, expansion, and/or application of OSS to provide innovation solutions for the LYRASIS community. Applications do not need to address this theme, but funds have been reserved specifically for those that do.

All applications will be evaluated on the strength of needs/case statements and how well results can be adapted and used in initiatives serving cultural and scientific heritage organizations.

Regardless of subject, two types of submissions – proposals and ideas – can be made by any member of LYRASIS in good standing. A member may submit no more than ONE proposal and ONE idea to the Catalyst Fund in a single cycle.

A. Proposals request funding to pilot your own project. If selected, funds will be sent to your organization to implement the project.

  1. Read the Instructions for Proposals.
  2. Create your narrative and budget. You may use this optional template (MS Word format) or create your own document following the same outline. If you have any issues downloading the template contact catalystfund@lyrasis.org and we will send you a copy. Proposals should be converted to a single PDF, maximum two pages, for submission.
  3. Apply using this online form for submitting​ a proposal. Applications will be due by midnight EST on February 19, 2021.

B. Ideas recommend 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 pilot testing.

  1. Read the Instructions for Ideas.
  2. Describe the idea. You may use this optional template (MS Word format) or create your own document following the same outline. If you have any issues downloading the template contact catalystfund@lyrasis.org and we will send you a copy. Ideas should be converted to a single PDF, maximum two pages, for submission.
  3. Apply using this online form for submitting an idea.​ Applications will be due by midnight EST on February 19, 2021.

See More Information for details on review criteria and answers to frequently asked questions.

Funding decisions for the Catalyst Fund are announced in early June. Recipients will have one year to implement their projects (July - June).

Not planning to apply this year? Consider volunteering as a reviewer!

More questions? Email us at catalystfund@lyrasis.org.​