Faculty Global Research with Undergraduates (FGRU)

Through a generous grant from the Jefferson Trust, the Center for Global Inquiry + Innovation (CGI2) is pleased to announce a new grant opportunity to promote undergraduate involvement in faculty-directed global research projects.

Global Scope

CGI2’s mission is to stimulate research into problems and challenges of global scale, scope and concern. “Global research” may be thought of as a way of framing academic inquiry to emphasize the relationship between local and planetary perspectives while recognizing the rapidly-changing context of global knowledge production.  Such research aims to push at the limits of disciplinary commitments and to promote collaborative projects, especially among colleagues in different fields, on grounds and with partners across the world.  Examples of “global” projects include (this list is illustrative, not exhaustive):

  • Projects concerned with global impacts of contemporary institutional frameworks (e.g., international political economy, human rights and internatinal law, development studies).
  • Projects seeking to understand large natural and built systems and their local as well as global impacts (e.g., climate and environmental change, social media and information systems, global capital and business, NGOs and the development complex, global and transnational histories, global systems chemistry and biology, big data).
  • Projects aiming to explore pressing issues of human flourishing across cultures (e.g., comparative pedagogy, literary flows, memory in historical context, local knowledge and appropriate technologies in development thinking, design thinking in social context, comparative governance, agriculture and foodways).
  • Projects focusing on social problems of global scale or transnational scope (e.g., effects of climate change on human and nonhuman communities, youth unemployment, global poverty and inequality, global health, urban dynamics, problems of rural areas).
  • Projects that interpret and/or translate objects, texts, artifacts, ideas, images, knowledge and performances across borders and cultures (e.g. transnational movements of literature, music and art, circulations of material culture, information flows across linguistic and cultural lines, technology transfers).
  • Projects seeking to understand flows and movements of things, ideas and organisms across the face of the planet (e.g., disease, intellectual property, pollutants, mass migrations, money, media, violence, internet studies).
  • Projects focusing on international political, social and religious movements (e.g., global Islam, global Christianity, green movements, women’s empowerment, social media in new movements).
  • Projects focusing on resource allocation, development and use and their impacts (e.g., energy, water, food, technology, medical drugs).

 

Goal

The goal of the initial period of the grant is to establish a platform for faculty to create research/inquiry projects involving undergraduates as active researchers.  There are two main justifications for such projects.  First, faculty research can often benefit from the hands-on work of our better students.  Second, research is increasingly recognized as a critical component of undergraduate pedagogy, and our undergraduates rarely have the opportunity to benefit directly from the diversity of projects and wealth of faculty research talent we have on Grounds.

Such collaborations are common practice at the better liberal arts colleges around the nation (where the absence of gradaute students means undergraduates have far greater involvement in high-level research with faculty members than at large research universities).  It is also somewhat more commonly done in STEM fields, through the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) supported by the National Science Foundation.  Such collaborations are less common in Humanities and Social Science (HASS) fields.  The grant is open to colleagues from all fields and schools.

Format

There is no one format for these interactions.  Projects might take the form of a small class organized around a particular question and research design established by a faculty member to advance her or his own research agenda.  A faculty member might pursue a line of research in response to an issue raised by a student or group of students.  Or a faculty member might ask a student or students to help with an ongoing research project, or some component of a larger research agenda.  A project could take the form of an independent study, either during the semester, or during a Jan Term, Spring Break, May Term, or Summer Term.  Student-researchers could be integrated into emerging large-scale, multidisciplinary research collaborations as they begin to take shape across grounds.  Projects may engage a single student, or several and may have one or more faculty sponsors. 

Faculty must be the lead applicants for all projects.  Projects that involve collaborations among colleagues, especially across disciplinary lines are strongly encouraged, as are projects exposing student-researchers to international collaborators and partners.  Projects may be structured so as to advance both faculty members’ research and/or student-researchers’ research (e.g., for an undergraduate thesis).  No reasonable idea that promotes genuine faculty-student interaction in a global research context is out of bounds.  There are two guiding principles: that the project advance a clear research/inquiry goal; that student-researchers derive a meaningful experience from participating in the research – defining a question, developing a methology, executing a research design, producing an outcome – alongside a faculty mentor(s).

Proposals are invited from all fields, HASS (Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences) and  STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics).  Projects that cross disciplinary boundaries are strongly encouraged.  Research and inquiry have broad connotations that will vary by field, according to the standards of particular disciplines, and vary by the depth of cross-disciplinary engagement.

Process

The grant will run continuously over the remainder of academic year 2015-16 and into 2016-2017, including Jan Term, Spring Break, May Term and Summer Term sessions.  The Center invites proposals on a rolling basis, subject only to availability of funds.  An applicant should expect a reply within two weeks of submission.  The range of grants can vary, depending on the nature of projects proposed.  In general, it is unlikely that any single grant will exceed $10,000.  To be considered, proposals should address the following prompts fully by completing the associated electronic form, available at CGI2’s website.

  • The proposal should detail the project in terms of its research/inquiry question, especially its global quality, and what relationship it bears to the applicant’s research.
  • The proposal should indicate how student-researchers will be instructed in designing and conducting research in the relevant field.  Specifically, and within the limits of the particular project, the proposal should demonstrate that student-researchers will learn how a research question is framed, how a methodology is chosen, how implementation of the research design is carried out, and how outcomes are produced.
  • The proposal should indicate whether the applicant has sponsored research projects with undergraduates in the past, with details regarding those projects and their outcome.
  • The proposal should describe the anticipated outcome of the research/inquiry, whether publication in an academic journal, convening of a conference, production of a policy or recommendation report, creation of a performance or exhibition, writing of a grant proposal for future work along similar lines, creation of a research tool or platform for online interaction, or other intellectually significant product or outcome.
  • The proposal should specify the nature of the mentorship that the faculty member(s) will provide and how students will be evaluated.
  • The proposal should indicate a clear timeline, with a finish date for the project.
  • The proposal should lay out a budget indicating how requested funds will be spent.

Requests for funds to support global research collaborations should focus as tightly as possible on student-researchers.  This can include travel support for student-researchers, funds for material or equipment necessary for the student-researchers to undertake the research/inquiry and funds for materials to aid student-researchers in preparing for their roles in the research.  Students may not be compensated from requested funds.  Requests for travel/research support for faculty applicant(s) will be considered if they relate to the research and to the oversight, direction and mentorship of the student-researcher(s) engaged in field research or collaboration, either at UVA or away from grounds.

Successful applicants will be required to submit an end-of-project report, including a statement of what was accomplished in terms of research and pedagogy.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Complete the form, answering all fields (larger fields accomodate 3,700 characters, including spaces; approximately 500 words), and submit one copy via email (cam4z@virginia.edu). Download the Application form here (Word File).
 
For questions, please contact Brian Owensby (bpo3a@virginia.edu) or Cliff Maxwell (cam4z@virginia.edu).

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