Inaugural Recipients Announced for New Dean’s Integrative Global Inquiries Fund

May 4, 2017

A new Penn Arts and Sciences initiative is awarding grants to faculty to encourage the collective investigation of global topics across the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. Dean Steven J. Fluharty recently announced the first round of projects to be funded through this program, called the Dean’s Integrative Global Inquiries Fund.

The new fund was established to advance the School’s commitment to global inquiry, a priority outlined in its strategic plan, Our Foundations and Frontiers. Dean Fluharty says that the funded projects demonstrate “the pairing of extraordinarily complex global questions with our extraordinary faculty. These projects stimulate collective investigation across the arts and sciences and create opportunities for the collaboration and knowledge-sharing paramount for global inquiry.”

The following four projects were selected to receive up to $50,000 to support a variety of activities including research, visiting scholars, workshops, and symposia. Each project was evaluated for its potential to expand  global collaboration and employ transdisciplinary approaches in exploring a range of cultural, social, political, and economic forces.

The Global Problem of Child Poverty: Can Neuroscience Help?
This project, led by psychology’s Martha Farah, Walter H. Annenberg Professor in the Natural Sciences, will examine the relevance of documented neurological impacts of childhood poverty beyond the developed world, along with ways in which the scientific knowledge may be applied to policy. Collaborators include Jere Behrman, Williams R.  Kenan, Jr. Professor of Economics and Sociology; Petra Todd, Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Term Professor of Economics; and Allyson Mackey, Assistant Professor of Psychology.

Migration and Cognitive Change: Creating a Transatlantic Research Network  
This interdisciplinary collaboration is being awarded seed funding to establish a transatlantic network of migration scholars and cognitive scientists that will work to advance understanding of the cognitive impacts of mobility on migrants and receiving societies. The effort is being led by Devesh Kapur, Professor of Political Science and Madan Lal Sobti Professor for the Study of Contemporary India, along with Irma Elo, Professor of Sociology; Dan Hopkins, Associate Professor of Political Science; and Deena Weisberg, a senior fellow in psychology.

International Symposium on Race, Science, and Society from a Global Perspective
This symposium will bring together an international group of biological and social scientists working on questions of race in various national and political contexts to explore three themes: Purity and Mixture; Stability and Circulation; and Past and Promise. The organizing team is led by Dorothy Roberts, George A. Weiss University Professor with appointments in sociology, Africana studies, and law, and the Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights. Collaborators include Projit Bihari Mukharji, Associate Professor of History and Sociology of Science; Sarah Tishkoff, David and Lyn Silfen University Professor in Genetics and Biology; and postdoctoral fellow Eram Alam.

Prenatal Air Pollution Exposure and Child Welfare in China
This research project will investigate impacts on birth outcomes of air quality improvements during the 2010 Asian Games. Emily Hannum, Professor of Sociology; Jere Behrman, Williams R.  Kenan, Jr. Professor of Economics and Sociology; and postdoctoral researcher Xiaoying Liu will lead efforts to collect and analyze prenatal air pollution exposure linked to pregnancy outcomes and children’s early physical, cognitive, and socio-emotional development.