Buffalo Blue Sky Guidelines


The issues facing our global world today are complex – and so are their solutions. In solving complex challenges, while disciplinary expertise can supply the essential building blocks, building effective and sustainable solutions requires the integration of these building blocks from multiple disciplines into collaborative teams. At UB, outstanding disciplinary building blocks are in place and the intent of the Buffalo Blue Sky initiative is to provide fertile ground for developing cross-disciplinary teams to solve large and complex problems in any domain. All research projects start with people – researchers who produce research of high quality. Buffalo Blue Sky is looking to support motivated UB researchers who can define and lead projects in challenge-driven research.
To this end, Buffalo Blue Sky will provide each eligible investigator a Blue Sky Coin. This Coin can be redeemed, when combined with Coins from one or two other investigators outside their department, to fund a new multidisciplinary project. The collaborative trio (cT) will be able to use the funding to begin to tackle grand challenge problems that are too complex for a single disciplinary approach. Two types of coins, one valued at $20,000 and the other $5,000, will be issued to each eligible investigator depending on their sponsored program proposal productivity.


To be eligible for a Blue Sky Coin, a UB investigator must have:
Blue Sky coins will be issued by September 1, 2018 and are available for redemption for two years after the issue date. The cT must be pursuing a new research direction and cT funding cannot be used for existing externally funded projects.

Project Incubation

Blue Sky Coin holders are listed on the Buffalo Blue Sky Coin Holders page. To help facilitate collaboration, research project ideas can be posted on a limited access webpage and are available for browsing only by other coin holders. The Buffalo Blue Sky Ideas Workspace can be used to attract other coin holders who might wish to join the project by posting an idea using the Create New Idea button.


In order to redeem the Coins for funding a cT project, a brief project description and the confirmed participation of three team members must be submitted using the Submit Final Proposal button in the Buffalo Blue Sky Ideas Workspace. Projects will not be peer-reviewed and will be funded if: 1) the coin holders are from at least two different departments; 2) the project is distinct from the participants externally funded projects; and 3) each coin holder has at least one active award in which they have 20% credit at the time of redemption. Two types of cT will be funded:
  1. Three coin holders from at least two different departments submit a project description.
  2. Two coin holders from different departments recruit a new investigator whose UB appointment date is after July 1, 2016.
If these conditions are met, an RF account will be established to fund the project. Depending on the value of the Coins held by the investigators of a given cT, project funding will range from $10,000 to $60,000. While project funding is limited to the Coin values of the investigators contributing the Coins, other non-coin-holding investigators can participate in the project.
Investigators can post multiple project ideas, but may only use their Coin on one project during the current 2-year Buffalo Blue Sky funding cycle of September 1, 2018 to August 31, 2020. All project funds must be spent within 18 months of the funding initiation date.
Project funding may be used to support reasonable and necessary costs for the execution of the proposed project such as collection of research data or proposal planning and development. Expenditures for faculty/staff salaries (either summer or academic year) are not permitted.

Buffalo Blue Sky 2.0

The OVPRED anticipates that a second funding cycle will begin on January 1, 2021. All investigators who meet the eligibility requirements listed above for the period of July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2020 would be issued a new Coin for this second cycle.

Project Deliverables

Each cT must participate in Buffalo Blue Sky Day to be held in the fall semester of 2020 that includes an on-campus symposium to showcase their work to the UB community.


Contact Joseph Balthasar at buffalobluesky@buffalo.edu.
Presented by University at Buffalo - Research and Economic Development
Buffalo Blue Sky © 2020