The application cycle for the Catalyst Fund is closed. Awards are typically announced in early June. The next cycle will open early in the calendar year however, the Catalyst Fund Program Lead is always happy to discuss grant concepts, review draft applications, and answer questions at any time throughout the year. The Information below describes the previous cycle and is provided for general reference. Additional questions? Contact​​​​​​​​​​​​

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.

For the second year in a row, in addition to our general call for proposals, the Catalyst Fund will be accepting proposals on athematic 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. A member may submit no more than ONE proposal and ONE idea to the Catalyst Fund in a single cycle.

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, for more information, see the Reviewing and Selecting Proposals and Ideas here.

More questions? Email us at​

How to Apply

Applications for the Catalyst Fund will be accepted through midnight EST on February 18, 2022. Members are asked to complete a brief online application form and provide a two-page PDF describing their proposal or idea.

Please review MORE INFORMATION before submitting.

For Proposals:

  • Review the Instructions for Proposals.
  • Create your proposal. Use this template (MS Word format) to create your application. Your final proposal needs to be formatted as a PDF.

For Ideas:
  • 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 needs to be formatted as a PDF.