The main type of support to interfaculty collaboration comes in the form of seed funding for large-scale, topic-focused initiatives. There were originally five such initiatives (health policy, ethics in professional life, the human brain and behavior, children and schooling, and the environment). Of the original five, four are still in existence (Health Policy, Environment, Ethics, and Mind, Brain and Behavior). Today, there are over a dozen interfaculty initiatives receiving central funding through the Provost’s Office.
Over time, an increasing number of programs, centers, and institutes at Harvard have begun to describe themselves using such terms as “collaborative,” “university-wide,” or “interfaculty,” and the Provost’s Office applauds and seeks to encourage and facilitate all such collaborative ventures. The office does distinguish, however, between two sorts of efforts: multidisciplinary, cross-faculty activities that the University helps to fund and similar activities that are undertaken with the approval of the University but not its financial sponsorship.
Often created to address a pressing social or intellectual need, the interfaculty initiatives that receive funding from the University typically span Faculties in such a way as to necessitate direct reporting to the Provost’s Office. In turn, the University is able to reinforce its financial stewardship of these efforts with a close level of Provost Office staff engagement. A full list of these interfaculty initiatives, or IFIs, can be found below.