Global Grants Penn Global Awards $1.7 million in Research and Engagement Awards

April 19, 2023
By Penn Global Initiatives

Penn Global has awarded $1.7 million in research and engagement awards to support 19 new projects involving faculty from all of Penn’s 12 Schools.

All 19 projects selected for funding this year will engage one or more of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Established by the United States General Assembly in 2015, and adopted by all U.N Member States, the goals “are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere.” As the United Nations approaches the halfway point to achieve these Goals by 2030, Penn Global solicited proposals that sought to reassess the progress of these goals and promote initiatives that would advance their attainment. The latest cohort will engage nearly all 17 SDGs, with many focusing on good health and well-being (SDG 3), quality education (SDG 4), and reduced inequalities (SDG 10). 

"Positioning Penn research for global impact is central to our mission of bringing the world to Penn and Penn to the world, and a primary goal of our grant program,” says Penn’s Vice Provost for Global Initiatives Ezekiel Emanuel. “By supporting projects like the 19 selected this year, we are able to leverage the deep expertise of Penn faculty to generate new knowledge, tackle cross-border challenges, and amplify impact.” 

The Penn Global Research and Engagement Grant Program prioritizes projects that bring together leading scholars and practitioners across the University community and around the world to develop new insight on significant global issues, a core pillar of Penn’s global strategic framework. 

“It has been incredible to oversee the expansion of faculty support for global research since we founded Penn Global ten years ago," says Amy Gadsden, associate vice provost for global initiatives. "Our grant program now consists of the Global Engagement Fund, China and India Research and Engagement Funds, and the Holman Africa Research and Engagement Fund, and we are eager to expand to other regions under our next strategic plan so that we can achieve our goal of producing research for global impact."

This year’s cohort spans a wide range of disciplinary foci, exploring topics such as approaches to climate resilience, educational capacity-building for improved health outcomes, and early childhood interventions serving refugees, among others. Projects will engage countries and regions around the world including India, China, Africa, and Latin America, with multiple projects concurrently engaging numerous regions.

Director of China Programs and Strategic Initiatives Scott Moore, who manages Penn Global's grant program, is thrilled for the new grant recipients to begin their projects this summer. “I’m optimistic that they will advance Penn’s ongoing efforts to effectively  address global issues, such as climate action and sustainability, by working in close collaboration with partners from around the world to generate equitable, interdisciplinary solutions.”

This year’s grant recipients will introduce their projects at Penn Global’s upcoming annual launch symposium on April 27th at Perry World House. Among the faculty presenters is first-time grant recipient Bodong Chen, associate professor in the Graduate School of Education, who will discuss his plan to launch a Knowledge Building Innovation Network (KBIN) to support K-12 teachers across China as they integrate the UN SDGs in school curricula.

Postdoctoral researcher Sergey Molodstov will also join on behalf of Irina Marinov, associate professor of the Department of Earth and Environmental Science in the School of Arts and Sciences, to present their work investigating the balance between advancing human development while decreasing pressures on the oceans that result from both climate change and direct human activities.

Chen and Molodstov will participate in the symposium’s third panel on climate, education, and knowledge-sharing, alongside Simon Richter, Class of 1942 Endowed Term Professor of German in the School of Arts and Sciences and Zachary Herrmann, executive director of the Center for Professional Learning at the Graduate School of Education. The panel will be moderated by Melissa Brown Goodall, senior director of Penn’s Environmental Innovations Initiative.

The symposium will feature two additional panels of short presentations by Penn faculty as well as a fourth panel of presentations by Penn students and postdocs. Eugenie L. Birch, Lawrence C. Nussdorf Professor of Urban Research & Education at the Weitzman School of Design, will provide opening remarks highlighting Penn’s engagement with the SDGs.

Learn more about the 2023 cohort of projects supported by the Penn Global Research and Engagement Grant Program.

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