Global Engagement Fund

The Global Engagement Fund is a competitive grant program that seeds creative, cross-disciplinary projects that will further Penn’s global initiatives.  The Fund is designed to offer maximum flexibility to support faculty initiatives that enhance Penn’s global engagement. It emphasizes projects that:

  1. Collaborate across Schools and disciplines and involve multiple faculty members in research and conferences;
  2. Engage regions of the world in which Penn has active academic partnerships and collaborative activities, such as China, India, Latin America, and Africa;
  3. Develop interdisciplinary courses and projects;
  4. Engage young researchers by including a stipend to support an undergraduate student doing research with investigators over a period of at least 8 weeks in the summer outside the United States.

In the past, the Global Engagement Fund's awardees have hosted high-profile cross-School conferences on global topics, conducted interdisciplinary research in Africa, and hosted distinguished international scholars. Many of the projects seek to push the boundaries of knowledge in their field of research.  At the same time, conferences and visiting scholars funded will bring the international experience to all members of the Penn community and enrich the learning experience.

Spotlight on Previous Projects

David Galligan, Marilyn Sommers, Mauro Guillen, Brian Spooner, Eugenie Birch, and Susan Wachter

Food Security in a Rapidly Urbanizing World


With the world population projected to reach 9 billion; its urban segment an astounding 6 billion by 2050 and the rate of rural to urban land conversion far outpacing this population growth, food security is a central question for today, not tomorrow. The purposes of the conference are to develop a new scholarly conversation among Penn faculty, students, and centers; to publish an edited book of conference papers in Penn Press’ City in the 21st Century series to establish Penn’s leadership capacity in this domain; and to use the conference as a platform to identify additional lines of funded research and/or curriculum development. The two-day conference will take place in Fall 2012. The conference will include a kickoff event, keynote speech, interactive panels, and workshops.


Spotlight on Previous Projects

Carrie Kovarik, Dan Wagner

Technology for Health Impact in Botswana: Broadening End-User Utility


In partnership with the University of Botswana School of Medicine, Carrie Kovarik, has been exploring the role of telementoring in resident physician education in Botswana.  Telementoring allows mentoring of students and residents from a distance, both by local UB Faculty and Penn partners.  Since June of 2010, this project has been piloting a Google myTouch smartphone, equipped with Android-based medical information application, telemedicine software, a built-in camera, and data-enabled SIM cards, with residents at a referral hospital in Gaborone. The Global Initiatives funding will provide 20 more phones as well as in-country expenses for Penn staff implementing the project. The second part of the project will involve GSE's Bridges to the Future Initiative (BFI). BFI will load specially designed software on health education to literarcy learners (children, youth, adults) on stand-alone computers at hospital waiting rooms. 


We are no longer accepting applications for Academic Year 2013/2014.

Applications will re-open in the Fall for Academic Year 2014/2015.

If you have questions about the Global Engagement Fund, please contact