IAS 5x5 Interdisciplinary Working Groups

IAS 5x5 Working Groups bring together small groups of people from differing disciplinary backgrounds and positions in the University and off-campus communities for a low-stakes, short-term exploration.

The name, 5x5, informally means “loud and clear”—and also indicates the program’s intent to gather five people together to meet about five times. 

Program Goals

  • to expand your intellectual and personal networks
  • to experience finding a common language for discussions across disciplines 
  • to have a low-stakes space and a group to explore new ideas and methods without the pressure to produce a final product 
  • to have a different kind of experience (and fun) than you may get in your daily work while appreciating others and encouraging interdisciplinary thinking

We recognize that building collaborative relationships and interdisciplinary work may take a long time; this gives you a taste of the possibilities. The benefits for the IAS are that we get to meet new people, expand our networks on and off campus, and promote collaboration.

2023–2024 Themes

Starting in Fall 2023, we will be organizing 5x5 Working Groups around six different themes. You may apply to participate in more than one 5x5 group, but to allow for greater access to IAS opportunities, you will be selected for no more than one group. 

  • Broader Impacts: Rethinking the intersection between “broader impacts” (as required by NSF and some other funders) and community engagement
  • Just Housing: What is the future of housing? How can we create just housing?
  • Speculative Democracies: Exploring threats, challenges, and possibilities
  • Going Viral: Exploring the connections and parallels among social, technical, and medical phenomena
  • Digital Self-Determination: Questions of open access, data sovereignty, privacy, and who makes the call
  • Global Midwest: Exploring global implications of regional issues and local implications of global issues in areas including agriculture, industry, water, land management, universities, arts, wind farms, landscapes, and climate change


University of Minnesota faculty, staff, and students, as well as community members from Minnesota, are welcome to apply. Applications for 2023–2024 working groups are due Monday, October 2, 2023.




Stories of Successful 5x5 Groups