Global Engagement Fund Recipients

Each year, nearly a dozen faculty receive support from the Global Engagement Fund for their international, interdisciplinary work. We invite you to meet the faculty who have received support from the Fund since its launch in 2011 and to learn more about their work.

For each funding cycle, GEF recipients are listed below in alphabetical order of the last name of the Principal Investigator.

Global Health Education Training Program
Stephen Avery (Perelman School of Medicine)

Building on a current partnership, Penn Radiation Oncology is strengthening Penn engagement by providing a road map for physics training. The long-term goal is to develop a USA/Africa Radiation Oncology Core (ROC), with both practical (PROC) and virtual (IROC) components, dedicated to Research Education/training in Radiation oncology in East Africa. It also provides desperately needed quality assurance tools for patient safety and research collaborations for cancer control. The department aims to establish a regional center of engagement with East Africa to significantly increase research capacity, ensure radiation/patient safety and build research capacity to address an ongoing silent crises which is undoubtedly causing significant loss of life and disability in Africa. This Core program will provide a hub for Radiation Oncology research/education in east Africa; benefiting students/researchers from neighboring countries like Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Malawi, Zambia DRC, Rwanda, South Sudan and Central Africa Republic.

The Global Leaders Projects: ‘Law and Diplomacy’ & ‘Law and Global Development’
Rangita de Silva de Alwis (Law)

Penn Law’s mission is to prepare global leaders who will contribute to the advancement of justice and the rule of law around the world. In a changing geopolitical landscape, our innovative and multilateral initiatives have set the standard for legal education. However, we must better equip our students to rise to the challenge of global leadership. We must empower them to seek a place at the table and provide the necessary skills to see them thrive. But how can we galvanize our community, now and in the future, to ask the big questions and shape global policy? We are approaching this challenge through two separate pillars: leadership in the realms of Diplomacy and Development.

1) The first pillar will be the first of its kind, ‘Global Leadership Institute in Law and Diplomacy.’ Our program will partner with the elite Institute of Diplomatic Studies in Cairo. This program will forge an understanding of diplomacy from the other side of the divide.
2) The second pillar will be a flagship 'Law and Global Development' project operated with the support of the Gates Foundation, World Bank Group, and UN Sustainable Development Fund. A high-level day-long institute at Penn, “The Institute for Law and Global Development: Inclusion, Investment, and Innovation” will be followed by opportunities for student researchers to analyze digital identity and its necessity for full participation of all members of society in the digital economy.

Both programs are being designed to jointly deliver leadership skills and in-depth substantive knowledge of issues on the razor-edge of global policy.

Energy and Comfort Assessment of Mongolian Ger Dwellings
William Braham (Design)

With the steady urbanization of Mongolia since the 1960s, former nomads have been settled in legal, semi-formal “ger districts” at the perimeter of the capital city, Ulaanbaatar. Roughly 60% of the residents of the capital live in a combination of ger ("yurt" in Russian) and self-built rigid frame houses, which burn soft coal to keep their dwellings warm, making it one of the most polluted cities in the world. This project was developed to help reduce or eliminate the combustion of coal in the ger-district. In the short term, this will support efforts to reduce coal consumption and pollution in the ger district. The longer term goal is the development of dramatically improved ger that can operate without a central stove.

There is currently no way to accurately compare the thermal performance or energy among ger, or to evaluate the effect of any improvements. The initial phase of the research was devoted to developing audit and diagnostic protocols that could be used to evaluate the thermal performance of ger. Through the first year, we imported and assembled a Mongolian ger at Pennovation, the research campus of the University of Pennsylvania, monitoring it to understand its thermal behavior and to identify opportunities to improve its comfort and energy performance. The team also obtained some temperature and other monitoring data from a selection of ger in the ger district of Ulaanbaatar to support that research, and visited a selection of ger in Ulaanbaatar to better understand their construction and operation.

Penn One Health in Latin America: Technology-aided strategies to prevent dog-mediated human rabies
Ricardo Castillo Neyra (Perelman School of Medicine)

A multidisciplinary team of faculty and students from Penn Medicine, Penn Vet and the Wharton School are partnering with Peruvian scientists to develop new strategies to fight dog rabies in Peru. In in most Latin American countries with mass dog vaccination campaigns, dog rabies has been controlled. However, the vaccination coverage of these official campaigns has decreased in some areas, enabling the introduction of the rabies virus in areas previously under control. In areas affected by urban rabies, free-roaming dogs are the main reservoirs. In this context, the behavior and distribution of free-roaming dogs are affected by the complex landscapes of cities, with structures influencing dogs' ecology, vaccination coverage, and ultimately rabies virus transmission. GPS tracking of dogs will allow researchers to remotely observe the movement of animals within a growing city, suffering a rabies outbreak to understand the influence of city structures on the transmission of infectious diseases. Through computational algorithms, the Penn team will develop optimized vaccination strategies to increase coverage. By integrating the study of human health, animal health and the urban environment, the Penn and Peruvian teams are applying the One Health approach to tackle an emergent and persistent public health problem.

ReFeed: A viable pathway for managing food waste for food security and sustainability
Dou Zhengxia (Veterinary Medicine)

This project embarks on a path-finding journey to address a serious and widespread problem -- consumer food waste, which is generated in large amounts (e.g. nearly 50 million tons annually in the U.S. alone), aggravating food security, resource and environmental sustainability, and climate change challenges. Current methods for dealing with the wasted food have serious limitations. This project presents a viable and superiour pathway for dealing with consumer food waste -- recovering it and converting it into value-added products, using treatment technologies, for livestock feeding (ReFeed). This option would not only return the otherwise-wasted food to the food supply chain as meat, eggs, or milk for humans, but also has a consequential cascade of efficiencies with resource and environmental benefits. 

The team will use the GEF grant to collect, synthesize, and document critical information on the successful Korean model for food waste management, focusing on key economic metrics and implementation parameters that are fundamental for adopting/adapting the model in the U.S. or elsewhere. The team also plans to convene an international workshop with interested parties in the U.S., China, and Australia to brainstorm strategies and formulate actions for promoting the ReFeed initiative.

Climate Change, Resilience, and Environmental Justice in Latin America & the Caribbean
Ocek Eke (Engineering), in partnership with the PLAC Committee

PLAC's fourth annual conference, "Climate Change, Resilience, and Environmental Justice in Latin America & the Caribbean," is being designed to relate to a number of UN Sustainable Development Goals. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the projected mean warming for Latin America to the end of the century ranges from 1 to 4°C. This warming, which has already been experienced through more frequent extreme weather events, including catastrophic hurricanes in the Caribbean, rising sea-levels and the retreat of glaciers, has major social, political, economic, environmental, health, and financial implications. 

This conference aims to advance understanding on how the region is tackling these complex challenges: 

  • Policies that have been or are in the process of being implemented for adaptation and mitigation

  • Trade-offs of transitioning to a greener economy considering the economic dependency on fossil fuels and mineral extraction

  • Socio-political, economic, environmental, health, and financial implications of climate change and how they will affect the development path and welfare of the region

  • Resiliency initiatives to overcome catastrophic weather related events and the protection of the most vulnerable populations

Conference presentations and activities will be planned to lead to Penn Community post-conference action and engagement to contribute to addressing these challenges. 

Penn's First International Symposium on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting
Ivona Percec (Perelman School of Medicine)

Penn’s First International Symposium on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting will bring leaders from across the globe to discuss Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), a horrific child and human rights violation. FGM affects millions of women worldwide. Over the past two decades, the number of women and girls in the US who have undergone or are at risk for FGM has tripled. Despite FGM having been illegal in the United States for 20 years, the first and only prosecution for FGM was in 2017. Half of the states in the U.S. currently have no law against it.

In order to give voice to the resultant suffering, this conference brings together faculty from the schools of Medicine, Law, and Social Policy. This symposium will review and highlight aspects of FGM including: the globalization of FGM, effect of immigration, cultural aspects, women’s physical and psychological health, reconstruction/repair, legal aspects, and current work being done to reduce the rate of FGM. Additionally, survivors of FGM will discuss their experience. Collaboration across specialties and fields is necessary as we work towards eradication of FGM. This symposium will highlight the work being done at Penn and across the globe and provide an opportunity for cross-discipline collaboration for future work.

Enhancing Surgical Education Through Mobile Health and Optical Technology
Neil Sheth (Perelman School of Medicine)

The Republic of Tanzania is experiencing increasing deficits in orthopaedic and musculoskeletal care. Marred by lack of quality surgeon education and training, continuity of patient care, and postoperative rehabilitation, upwards of 50% of patients do not receive the orthopaedic surgical care indicated, and over 30% of patients experience postoperative infections. We have pioneered a unique partnership with Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center (KCMC) in Moshi, Tanzania, to develop a novel and generalizable approach to sustainable telehealth surgical education. Employing modern advances in audiovisual and mobile health (mHealth) technology, we aim to provide orthopaedic surgeons in Tanzania, and potentially other low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), continual access to high-quality training and cutting-edge techniques through the development of a virtual orthopaedic surgical library.

Marketization of Higher Education in Peru: Implications for Students' Achievement and Equity
Amrit Thapa (Education)

Higher education policies in Peru have permitted the liberalization of the education market, which allowed for profit in universities. This has led to a massive expansion of for-profit private universities. As a result, there is an ongoing debate on the effect of this marketization to Peruvians. In this context, this pilot research study seeks to examine the effect of marketization of higher education in Peru, particularly with regard to student achievement and equity related aspects. The study applies a mixed methods approach in examining the topic. The qualitative study includes interviewing teachers, students, researchers and administrators from four (two public, two private) institutions in Peru. The quantitative study includes analyzing Young Lives data to conduct descriptive and correlational studies on key variables of interest, and to examine the patters of achievement and inequality among private and public institutions. 

The Galápagos Alliance: Deepening Penn’s Commitment and Planning for the Future
Michael Weisberg (Arts & Sciences)

This project expands the scope of Penn’s university-wide research efforts in Galápagos. Research to this point has involved working together with local leaders and community members to address pressing issues where ecology, climate change, poverty, and educational inequality intersect. These projects have been diverse, crossing the disciplines of philosophy, biology, engineering, and urban design. With this project, the team aims to deepen its focus in two areas, and begin planning for 20 years of engagement in Galápagos.

The team proposes to support PennDesign students and faculty as they design guidelines for managing urban growth and the potential impacts of sea-level rise in the populated coastal zone of San Cristóbal Island. The effort will also supplement Penn's flagship sea lion community science project, with a marine biodiversity monitoring project conducted by local women.Finally, the team will embark on a substantial planning exercise with local-to-Penn and local-to-Galápagos leaders, stakeholders, and potential funders, to chart a 20-year plan for engagement.

Hotspot Cities: Forging a Global alliance to mitigate conflict between urban growth and biodiversity in the world's biological hotspots
Richard Weller (Design)

After 4 years of self-funded work, on Earth Day 2017 Richard Weller, Chair of Landscape architecture at UPenn launched a web-based Atlas titled 'The Atlas for the End of the World- Atlas for the Beginning of the Anthropocene'. The Atlas includes over 800 maps that audit how the 142 nations that preside over the world's biological hotspots (regions of unique biodiversity threatened with extinction) are meeting 2020 United Nations' landscape conservation targets. In addition to auditing large scale land-use in the world's hotspots, the Atlas also focuses on how the cities in these landscapes are growing. It shows that over 90 per cent are sprawling - and unless something is done will continue to sprawl- directly and calamitously into remnant habitat. One recommendation of the Atlas is that a representative sample of these cities should now form a global alliance to confront the issue of destructive urban growth. This project is the catalyst for the formation of this alliance and also leads to the selection of two cities as case studies in which scenarios for alternative forms of urban growth will be modelled. The project aims to show how biodiversity and urban development can co-exist in a mutually supportive manner.

Center for Media@Risk Conference
Barbie Zelizer (Annenberg School for Communication)

The Center for Media@Risk formally launched in April 2018 with a cross-disciplinary two-day conference funded by Penn Global that brought together media practitioners and scholars in the joint endeavor of defining what media at risk means globally in circumstances of political intimidation.

The Center for Media@Risk aims to shed light on the workings of authoritarianism by providing a global hub for practical and scholarly strategizing in response to the threatening political conditions currently undermining the global media environment. Understanding how media practitioners work under political intimidation—from explicit authoritarian regimes to circumstances of creeping authoritarianism—rests at the core of the university’s mission. The Center for Media@Risk will provide the educational tools necessary for identifying the changing parameters of political threat across the global media landscape—in journalism, documentary, entertainment and the digital environment, writ large—helping to foster a free and critical media environment.

Responses to Current Global Agreements: New Theories and Practice of Development in Low and Middle Income Nations
Eugenie Birch (Design)

From summer 2017 to fall 2018, this project will pursued the following research question: How are local governments and their partners working with national governments to respond to recent UN global agreements? It explores the proposition that the successful implementation of the Sendai Framework, Addis Ababa Action Agreement, Agenda for 2030 Sustainable Development, Paris Agreement and the New Urban Agenda, will require new theories and practices of development and practices focused on local/national partnerships now being advanced within universities and in the field.

Data Intensive Research on the Languages of the Americas
Christopher Cieri (Arts & Sciences)

Professor Christopher Cieri will host an international conference to extend collaborative research in the areas of linguistics, language resource (LR) creation, and human language technology (HLT) development in the diverse languages of Latin America and the Caribbean. 

The First Penn Law / UN Joint Publication - Women and Lawmaking: Case Studies from the Field
Rangita de Silva de Alwis (Law)

Despite progressive legislation and the recognition of gender equality in formal legislative frameworks, the justice system (courts, police, and judiciary) remains inaccessible for most women around the world.  Phase 1 of this project convened a high-level roundtable of 30 ministers, judges, and subject matter experts from over 15 countries to examine policies, programs and strategies through a case study analysis. Phase 2 will deliver the detailed research report, which will require field research funding, publication costs, and a report launch in March 2018 hosted in partnership with UN Agencies. 

Penn in Latin America and the Caribbean 3rd Annual Conference: Right, Left, Right: U-Turns and Their Impact in Latin America and the Caribbean
Tulia Falleti (Arts & Sciences), in partnership with the PLAC Committee

The Third Annual Conference of Penn in Latin America and the Caribbean (PLAC), “Right, Left, Right-U-Turns and their Impact in Latin America and the Caribbean,” brought together professors, students, and other scholars from multiple disciplines across the University of Pennsylvania to showcase outstanding and cutting-edge research on the region.  It also served as a forum to catalyze collaborative research projects and inform the Penn community, especially students, how they can research, work, and study abroad in Latin America. The conference took place at the Perry World House on October 12, 2017.

Using Law to Fight Terror: Legal Approaches to Combatting Violent Non State Actors
Claire Finkelstein (Law)

The Center for Ethics and Rule of Law (CERL) at the University of Pennsylvania Law School hosted a conference, in partnership with the Perry World House and the Zicklin Center for Business Ethics, from October 27 until October 29, 2016 entitled Using Law to Fight Terror: Legal Approaches to Combatting Violent Non-State Actors. The conference brought together legal experts, senior military figures, international prosecutors, and Middle East experts to examine the legal means available to combat and eliminate the threat that ISIS poses to the world.

Ancillary Employment Generation Impact of Microfinance Initiatives in Karnataka
Femida Handy (Social Policy & Practice)

This project investigates the ancillary employment generated in implementing the Self-Help Group (SHG) models initiated for advancing micro financing schemes in rural Karnataka (India), home to India’s growing number of such groups. Extant literature focuses on the income generation, self-employment, poverty reduction and women’s empowerment as a result of using the SHG model, but this project addresses the paucity of research on the ancillary employment generated by these schemes. 

Global Perspectives on Childhood Poverty, Family Separation, and Educational Opportunity
Emily Hannum (Arts & Sciences)

Building on a review of challenges of poverty measurement in global and regional educational surveys published in 2017 (Hannum, Liu and Alvarado-Urbina, Comparative Education), this project aims to conduct and present two empirical studies: a comparative paper using global and regional education and household surveys to estimate poverty-related disadvantages in educational access and performance, and a paper on one of the key challenges to poverty measurement: family separation. Through developing these two papers, cultivating expertise with the data sources used in these projects, and exploring collaborative possibilities at a comparative education conference in Mexico City, the researchers hope to lay the groundwork for future work on a comparative study of childhood poverty and education.

Cuban Media and Media Studies in Transition
Marwan Kraidy (Annenberg School for Communication)

The purpose of this project is threefold: (1) to organize a major international conference, Cuban Media and Cuban Media Studies in Transition, with strong participation from FCOM-Havana, along with Annenberg and Penn faculty and graduate students, and several leading scholars of Cuban media from US and European universities, (2) publish a bilingual journal issue/edited volume, and (3) to seed the launch of a long-term collaboration among Annenberg School for Communication, the Center for Advanced Research in Global Communication, and La Facultad de Communicación de la Universidad de La Habana (FCOM-Havana). 

The 2018 Tihosuco Heritage Preservation and Community Development Project
Richard Leventhal (Penn Museum)

The Tihosuco Heritage Preservation and Community Development Project works with a Maya community on the development of a very different heritage story of the past tied to small-scale economic projects. This is a major shift in how archaeology is conducted and the connection of archaeological studies, not just about the past, but to the creation of communities in the 21st century.  Equally groundbreaking, the project follows a bottom-up model of heritage and economic development.

University of West Indies and University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing Partnership for Hypertension Control in Jamaica
Lisa Lewis (Nursing)

This project seeks to develop a collaboration between faculty and students at the University of West Indies-Mona and the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing to build capacity for behavioral research to promote cardiovascular health in the Caribbean. 

Summer South Asia Research Funding Support for Undergraduates
Lisa Mitchell (Arts & Sciences)

The South Asia Center will develop research opportunities for Penn undergraduates who wish to engage in summer research in South Asia. Moreover, these funds will seed future development work and the expansion and long-term sustainability of the program. 

Global Health Justice and Governance
Jennifer Ruger (Social Policy & Practice)

For this project, Professor Jennifer Prah Ruger will host a symposium on Global Health Justice and Governance to bring together leading experts in global health, global justice, international relations and institutions, and law to address theoretical and empirical questions of justice and governance in global health.  The team will invite to campus internationally renowned scholars and policy leaders at this interdisciplinary nexus to investigate these pressing global issues. 

Developing Numeracy and the Ability to Sustain Attention: An Interdisciplinary Research Program with Adaptive Technologies in India
Heather Schofield (Perelman School of Medicine & Wharton)

This study will use a randomized field experiment to test the impact of an adaptive tablet-based learning platform on two components of human capital: (i) students' mathematical skills - a central aspect of academic achievement - and (ii) students' ability to sustain focused attention - a fundamental skill underlying cognitive and non-cognitive tasks. The study will provide rigorous evidence on a novel, scalable low-cost policy solution for schooling in development countries. In addition, it will provide the first piece of empirical evidence on whether sustained attention is malleable - with the potential to reshape how we conceptualize human capital and the role of schooling.

The Global Institutions of Financial Regulation
Peter Conti-Brown (Wharton), David Zaring (Wharton)

This project convened a three-day conference in Philadelphia in April 2017 with the aim of breaking down national silos in the study of finance and financial regulation, aiming particularly to facilitate conversations between US and Western European scholars on the one hand and those from India and Latin America on the other. The conference will include approximately 30 scholars selected on the basis of prior work.

Penn in Latin America Conference 2016
Glen Gaulton (Perelman School of Medicine) & Antonia Villarruel (Nursing), in partnership with the PLAC Committee

Led by the Perelman School of Medicine's Center for Global Health, this conference on public health threats in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) aimed to: (1) mobilize LAC-interested faculty throughout Penn to participate in a half-to-one day symposium; (2) engage faculty from at least five Schools of the university to serve as speakers in this symposium; (3) invite distinguished external guests who couple to ongoing and/or desired strategic relationships in LAC – e.g. Costa Rica, Guatemala, Brazil, Colombia and Peru; (4) coalesce the conference observations/conclusions in a white-paper to be submitted for publication; and (5) provide seed funding for 2 research projects which were enhanced or initiated through conference networking activities.

Penn India reSEARCH: A Collaboration for High-Impact Health and Demographic Research
Devesh Kapur (Arts & Sciences), Jere Behrman (Arts & Sciences), Michel Guillot (Arts & Sciences)

This proposal seeks to develop a collaboration between Penn and a demographic surveillance site in India called SEARCH (in the district of Gadchiroli, Maharashtra) for the purpose of generating new knowledge about important health and demographic outcomes in India. This project has two main components. First, the researchers will use existing rich data from this site to study four important but under-studied topics in the Indian context: (1) the distribution and determinants of birth weights; (2) Patterns of under-five mortality in relation to health interventions; (3) Patterns of adult mortality with a focus on risks factors such as smoking and alcohol; and (4) Health differentials between indigenous vs. non-indigenous populations and their associated factors. Second, we will lay the foundations for future Penn-SEARCH collaborative projects, building on SEARCH’s infrastructure and experience, as well as common research interests between Penn and SEARCH.

Multi-Disciplinary Local Case Studies on Higher Education Reform in India
Laura Perna (Education), Matt Hartley (Education)

This proposal furthers Penn’s engagement in India through a set of activities related to the reform of higher education. The Indian government is engaged in several efforts designed to create substantial reform of its higher education system. One initiative seeks to create 20 world-class universities while another focuses on changes on its state universities.

With support from the Global Engagement Fund, the proposed projects will enable us to gain a deeper understanding and insights into the complex environment in which Indian higher education operates and, consequently, improve our understanding of how government reform is unfolding at the university level. The proposed case studies will generate research-based exploratory knowledge to frame future research and development activities in the country .The proposed project capitalizes on the scope of higher education reform in India and the opportunity to engage in collaborative research projects and activities with Indian colleges.

The Impact of Pain Reduction on Productivity and Cognitive Function: A Penn-IFMR Collaboration in India
Heather Schofield (Penn Medicine & Wharton)

Physical pain is a common but largely overlooked aspect of the lives of the poor, yet its consequences are not well understood. While evidence is scarce, chronic pain appears to be highly prevalent among the poor in developing countries due to frequent involvement in hard physical labor, uncomfortable living conditions, and limited access to adequate medical care.

The proposed seed project seeks to take the first steps in understanding the broader causal impact of physical pain on the lives of the poor via a collaboration between faculty and students at the University of Pennsylvania and a local partner organization, The Institute for Financial Management and Research (IFMR). The project will enroll 360 low-income women in Chennai, India in a randomized-controlled trial in which participants are randomly assigned to receive 600 mg of ibuprofen, a placebo pill, or no medication (pure control). All participants will engage in a task identical to their everyday work to measure their economic productivity, a battery of cognitive tests, a task providing an objective benchmark for pain ratings, and a survey to gather demographic and health information. This study will provide data to apply for funding for a larger and longer duration study of the impact of pain reduction on productivity in the workplace, as measured by daily earnings and cognitive outcomes.

Engaging the Local Community to Study Invasive Species in the Galápagos Archipelago
Michael Weisberg (Arts & Sciences), Deena Skolnick Weisberg (Arts & Sciences), Erol Ackay (Arts & Sciences), Tim Linksvayer (Arts & Sciences)

The Galápagos Archipelago is a series of 18 large volcanic islands and a number of smaller rocks 906 km off the coast of mainland Ecuador. Famously the inspiration for many of Darwin’s ideas in Origin of Species, the islands remain an important focal point of biological work due to their relative isolation, their large number of endemic species, and their unique, fragile ecosystems. However, due to the increasing popularity of ecotourism, the growing local population on three of the islands, and changes in global climate, these fragile islands face many ecological challenges.

One of the greatest threats to these islands are invasive ants, whose impact is especially high in the settled areas. Invasive ants can outcompete and exclude native ant species, eliminate other invertebrates, and threaten vertebrates such as ground-nesting reptiles and birds. If the Galápagos is to be preserved in more-or-less its current state, current invasions must be monitored and controlled, and future invasions must be prevented. The only way to realistically accomplish this is in partnership with the local population. Although advances have been made in preventing and controlling invasion, these often take the form of protocols imposed on the community, without a lot of effort to cultivate local understanding. Our prior research suggests that this is a mistake; scientific and ecological literacy require appreciating the nature and character of the scientific research process.

This project entails a two-pronged research project in the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, on the island of San Cristóbal: The research team will study the invasion front of bigheaded ants on San Cristóbal, and at the same time, will train local high school students in the techniques of field ecology and in scientific methodology more generally. By having local students conduct the bulk of the fieldwork, we aim to not only do high quality science, but also address problems of invasion by cultivating a deeper understanding of ecology and a deeper appreciation for science in the community.

 

Healthcare Workforce and Quality Outcomes: Lessons from Chile, United States, and Europe
Linda Aiken (Nursing), Jere Behrman (Arts & Sciences), Eileen Lake (Nursing), Matthew McHugh (Nursing), Herb Smith (Arts & Sciences)

In this project, Penn faculty and staff work with their primary Chilean partner, the School of Nursing at Universidad de los Andes to lay the groundwork to do a full-scale replication of a Penn-Nursing-led research design developed over the past 20 years. The project aims produce empirical evidence of hospital performance and factors associated with better patient outcomes in Chile including patient to nurse staffing ratio, relationships between doctors and nurses, quality and safety assessments, reports of the frequency of adverse patient outcomes such as infections, and so forth.

Establishment of Medical Physics Training Program in Tanzania
Stephen Avery (Perelman School of Medicine)

The future of cancer treatment and research, and the health of populations in developing countries, could benefit greatly through the development of partnerships between Universities and University Hospitals in the United States and developing countries such as Tanzania. These partnerships can serve as a platform for bi-directional learning where health providers can exchange best practices and innovations as well as develop the skills necessary to help their countries succeed in the rapidly advancing world of cancer treatment.

Globalization through a Japanese Prism
Julie Davis (Arts & Sciences), Fred Dickinson (Arts & Sciences), David Spafford (Arts & Sciences)

This project aimed to facilitate a newly integrative and interdisciplinary discussion of early modern intellectual, cultural, and aesthetic life. For decades considered the fount of Japanese conservatism, Mito Learning was highlighted in a new interdisciplinary colloquium, curatorial seminar, and Arthur Ross Gallery exhibit as a momentous force for change in the early modern world. These events comprised the inaugural programs highlighting the new integrative study of Japan promoted by Penn's new Center for the Integrated Study of Japan (CISJ).

Joint Symposium on Materials and Energy Research with Peking University of China
Feng Gai (Arts & Sciences), Jeffery Saven (Arts & Sciences), Arjun Yodh (Arts & Sciences)

Peking University (PKU) is one of Penn's international partner universities. Founded in 1898, PKU is China's first comprehensive national university and is now a leading institution of higher education and advanced research in the world. To further expand research and educational engagement and collaboration between Penn and PKU, this project co-sponsored a Joint Symposium on Materials and Energy Research with the College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering of PKU.

Education for Refugees at the World's Crossroads
Ameena Ghaffar-Kucher (Education)

Thus, this qualitative study seeks to understand the specific educational needs of refugee students in New York City Schools. The first phase of the study examines which school institutional factors best facilitate refugee/asylee youth’s academic achievement. This second phase of the study (pending funding) will explore the ways in which both secular and faith based organization involved with refugee resettlement, as well as faith-based institutional spaces (such as churches and mosques) provide educational support to refugee and asylee children and youth. Together, the findings from this two-pronged study will yield important insights regarding how to improve schooling for vulnerable populations.

Functional Dental and Orofacial Tissue Reconstruction from Mesenchymal Stem Cells
Songtao Shi (Dental), Syngcuk Kim (Dental)

This project established the Penn/Peking Research Center -- a close collaboration between Penn Dental Medicine and Peking Dental School. The collaboration aims to facilitate training and research opportunities for dental students, postdocs and junior faculty members from both institutions fulfilling our Global initiatives. In addition, the project convened the Penn Dental Global Symposium on Functional dental and oral-facial tissue reconstruction from Mesenchymal Stem Cells in September, 2015 on the Peking Dental School campus in order to further stimulate and sensitize dental academicians and researchers in China as well as other Asian countries in the importance of research on orofacial tissue reconstruction.

Heritage Preservation Projects in Syria and Iraq
Richard Leventhal (Arts & Sciences, Penn Museum), Salam al Kuntar (Penn Museum), Brian Daniels (Penn Museum)

Warfare, rebellion, and civil unrest have swept throughout the countries of Syria and Iraq in the Middle East. During this period of unrest, important cultural heritage sites are being destroyed - some for economic gain and some for the attempted destruction and elimination of a group's identity.

The Penn Cultural Heritage Center of the Penn Museum is part of an international collaboration that has been formed to research and attempt to preserve this heritage. This collaboration includes the Smithsonian Institution, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the US Institute of Peace, and the Day After Association.

Primary goals for this work:
1) Development of long-term research about the purposeful destruction of heritage (such as the activities of ISIS and the destruction of the Tomb of Jonah);
2) Development of a conservation team in both Syria and Iraq who will be trained to document heritage destruction.
3) Develop training and documentation programs for these conservation teams.
4) Develop a series of conservation programs for museums (Ma'arra Museum) and heritage sites (Ebla and Dead Cities) to conserve and preserve these sites even during this period of massive unrest, warfare, and destruction.

C.U. in India and Southeast Asia
Lisa Mitchell (Arts & Sciences), Daud Ali (Arts & Sciences), Raili Roy (Arts & Sciences), Teren Sevea (Arts & Sciences)

Through this grant, the South Asia Center expand the C.U. in India program to 1) integrate standing faculty, 2) introduce a new program location, Southeast Asia, where our standing faculty member has expertise, and 3) increase the number of available course enrollment slots, in response to the high demand they experienced during the admissions process.

Seeing/Hearing South Africa: Penn Students at the National Arts Festival
Carol Muller (Arts & Sciences)

This grant funded travel funding for students registered in Music 56, a class that starts at Penn in the spring but takes students to the National Arts Festival in South Africa for two weeks in the summer. Seeing/Hearing Africa is a both a face to face and short term study abroad class mostly for Penn undergraduates. It begins with a semester long introduction to South African politics and performance history, travel to South Africa, attendance of the festival with conversations about issues and the arts at the beginning or end of each day of the eleven day festival, extends into a tour of one of the neighboring townships whose history tells the story of twentieth century black South African struggles and triumphs, a visit to the International Library of African Music, the largest of its kind in the world, and ends with a substantial reflection paper once students return home.

Penn-EUSP ARCHES – American-Russian Collaborations in Higher Education
Kevin Platt (Arts & Sciences), Monroe Price (Annenberg School for Communication)

This grant brought four professors and four graduate students from the European University at St. Petersburg (EUSP) to Penn for a week during the fall of 2015, for a conference devoted to “Russian Relations With the West In (Deep) Historical Perspective.”

Infant Facial Recognition for Vaccine Delivery Tracking
Harvey Rubin (Penn Medicine), Jianbo Shi (Engineering)

This project sought to use facial recognition to develop a robust, simple, reliable method to identify, track, and record infants as they receive their vaccines -- a major requirement for every vaccine program in the world. While this may be straightforward in the developed world, in many areas, especially remote regions of the world, no such method is available. This has been amply recognized by the major groups working in this space including GAVI, the Gates Foudation and UNICEF.

Secular Real Estate Price Indices for Major Chinese Urban Areas
Susan Wachter (Wharton), Daniel Raff (Wharton)

This project sought to expand on earlier work by Daniel Raff and Susan Wachter of the Wharton School and Se Yan of Peking University to develop a Beijing price index for real estate from 1644 to the late 1940s and also to develop a similar index series for Shanghai from around the time of the establishment of the French, British and American Concessions after the Opium War of the early 1840s once again through the late 1940s.

A Study of Regulatory Strategies in India and China
Shyamkrishna Balganesh (Penn Law), Jacques deLisle (Penn Law, Arts & Sciences)

India and China are addressing the challenges of regulating the world's largest emerging economies from fundamentally different legal and institutional frameworks and traditions, and they are now doing so at a time of leadership transition and reexamination of the models that have produced impressive recent economic success. This project convened a major international conference on comparative regulation in contemporary India and China, addressing conceptual and structural issues of regulation in both countries and assess the regulation of particular important, illustrative, or exemplary sectors in the two countries. Penn participants Balganesh and deLisle plan to develop a comparative India-China law course based partly on this project.

Real Time Wireless Tracking of Pharmacy Refill Data
Robert Gross (Perelman School of Medicine), Carrie Kovarik (Perelman School of Medicine), Elizabeth Lowenthal (Perelman School of Medicine), Nancy Hanrahan (Nursing), Dolores Albaracin (Annenberg School for Communication)

This project aimed to systematically test an already developed and successfully pilot-tested cellphone app for wirelessly tracking medication refills in Botswana. The new app is expected to be more user friendly than existing methods. In turn, the wireless tracking system is expected to produce more referrals of non-adherent patients to adherence counseling and produce more reengagement of patients who have abandoned care.

Penn-Leuven Faculty Exchange: Teaching Modern American History and American Economic History in Belgium
Walter Licht (Arts & Sciences)

This project supported a faculty exchange program between Penn and the University of Leuven, Belgium. Dr. Licht taught a thirteen-week survey course in Modern American History to 200 Belgian students and conduct a workshop on American economic history for faculty, graduate students, undergraduate history majors, and possibly faculty from other Universities in Belgium.

Undergraduate Research & Cultural Immersion Experiences in India
Lisa Mitchell (Arts & Sciences), Raili Roy (Arts & Sciences), Pushkar Sohoni (Penn Libraries)

This project supported the South Asia Center's C.U. in India pilot course program. C.U. in India is a hybrid, domestic/overseas course series in which Penn undergraduate students can travel to India as part of their enrollment in the intensive, interdisciplinary, 2-CU courses "Gender and Development in India" and/or "Innovation & Improvisation: History of Architecture in India.

A Multi-disciplinary Approach to Improve the Socio-economic Status of Smallholder Livestock Farmers in Rural India
Dipti Pitta (Veterinary Medicine), Zhengxia Dou (Veterinary Medicine), James Ferguson (Veterinary Medicine), Dave Galligan (Veterinary Medicine), Elizabeth Grice (Penn Medicine), Brian Spooner (Arts & Sciences)

This project sought to identify and assemble the various academic disciplines at the University of Pennsylvania needed to comprehensively address the challeging issue of global poverty. Poverty is and has always been a complex web of issues around resource availability and use along with an array of socio-economic problems, requiring integrated solutions. Improvements in health care alone constitute only a transient improvement in quality of life, if food insecurity is always lurking in the shadows. This project sought to deal with food insecurity head-on, by examining closely the relevant issues affecting smallholder livestock farmers in Indian villages.

The Global Implications of Mobile Media
Monroe Price (Annenberg School for Communication), Joseph Turow (Annenberg School for Communication), Marwan Kraidy (Annenberg School for Communication)

This project sought to strengthen the community at Penn concerned with the significant social impact of the mobile telephone revolution and highlight Penn as an international leader in mobile research. The project built on the existing interdisciplinary networks of scholars from various Schools and Centers at Penn, and bring leaders in various fields and industries working on mobile issues to Penn. The researchers organized a workshop series and one day conference bringing experts together to examine the ways in which the mobile phone is transforming the lives of diverse populations and activities of research communities around the world.

Developing Agricultural Technologies and Equipment Marketable in China to Increase Dairy Production Efficiency
David Galligan (Veterinary Medicine), Zhiguo Wu (Veterinary Medicine), Joseph Sun (Engineering)

Global food production must double by the year 2050 in order to meet a growing affluent population of 9 billion.  With limited land and water resources, developing technologies that promote the efficiency of production is critically important.  In this project, the Center for Animal Health and Productivity at Penn worked with China, particularly Northwest Agricultural and Forestry University, in the development of software that can be used in the field on Chinese dairy herd to improve dairy production efficiency.

Interdisciplinary conference exploring Chinese and Indian state and firm-level interventions in Africa and Latin America
Mauro Guillen (Wharton), Fred Dickinson (Arts & Sciences), Lee Cassanelli (Arts & Sciences)

This grant supported the Joseph H. Lauder Institute of Management & International Studies in convening an interdisciplinary conference exploring Chinese and Indian state and firm-level interventions in Africa and Latin America as harbingers of an emergent global economic structure, defined by intensified and re-configured South-South linkages. 

Support for the Global Distinguished Lecture speaker series
Kathleen Hall (Graduate School of Education)

The Department of Education-supported National Resource Centers at Penn (South Asia Center, Center for East Asian Studies, Africa Center, and Middle East Center) function under the conviction that the world is becoming increasingly connected across cultures and geographic regions, thus making the promotion of global issue awareness a central part of our work. This grant supported the National Resource Centers in bringing Pakistani documentary filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy as a distinguished speaker. Her films, which depict the predicaments of vulnerable populations across the world, have garnered international acclaim and won numerous prestigious awards.

Peking University – Penn Population Center Partnership
Emily Hannum (Arts & Sciences)

This project established a partnership—faculty and student exchanges and web‐enabled workshops between Penn’s Population Studies Center (PSC) and Peking University’s Sociology Department in order to facilitate training and research opportunities for doctoral students in demography and those in other parts of the university with population‐related interests. 

Support for a CASI Distinguished International Scholar
Devesh Kapur (Arts & Sciences)

This grant support Dr. C. Raja Mohan, who accepted an invitation as a 2013 Spring Semester Visiting Scholar from the Center of the Advanced Study of India (CASI) in SAS at Penn. Dr. Raja Mohan is the Head of the Strategic Studies Initiative and Distinguished Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation in Delhi and a contributing editor for the Indian Express. Besides being a widely respected scholar and author, Dr. Raja Mohan is considered to be one of the foremost strategic and foreign policy experts in India.

The Future of Archaeological Heritage in a Rapidly Changing World: A Global Conversation
Frank Matero (Design), C. Brian Rose (Arts & Sciences), Julian Siggers (Penn Museum)

Archaeological sites have long ranked among the most represented of heritage sites worldwide as reflected on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, yet efforts to protect, preserve, and develop these places as cultural and economic assets have progressed with little consensus on methods and goals or indicators of success. Despite over a century of activity, there has been limited effort toward critical evaluation or the opportunity for academic and professional debate on the strategies for cultural heritage protection across international boundaries and disciplines. This grant supported a two-day conference in the fall of 2013, convening academics, professionals, and leaders from heritage organizations including UNESCO, World Bank, World Monuments Fund, the Archaeological Institute of America, and other international players in order to stimulate fresh conversation with Penn faculty, students, and centers.

International Accountability and Information Harms
Andrea Matwyshyn (Wharton), Peter Decherney (Arts & Sciences) 

This conference – a collaboration across Wharton, SAS and Engineering -- explored the deficits that exist in international legal regimes around holding individuals and companies accountable for information harms they cause across international borders. Specifically, this conference focused on international privacy, information security, and intellectual property harms.

Conference on Contested Spaces in India and South Asia
Lisa Mitchell (Arts & Sciences)

This grant supported a two-day international conference on Contested Spaces in India and South Asia, on March 29-30, 2012 on the Penn campus. Participants included anthropologists, landscape architects, geographers, historians, and area studies specialists drawn from three continents (Europe, India, and the US). 

New Technologies, Human Rights and Transparency: A Cross Disciplinary and Public Interest Approach
Monroe Price (Annenberg School for Communication)

This grant supported an innovative partnership between Wharton, Annenberg, Law, Engineering, and other Interdisciplinary centers on campus that will place the University of Pennsylvania at the forefront of a significant field of research. New Technologies, Human Rights, and Transparency examines the relationship between government and corporate power in today’s digitally networked world. Project goals include the construction of a sound methodology for analyzing the policies and practices of powerful Information and Communication Technology (ICT) companies as well as the creation of a high profile, cross-institution research group to explore free expression and privacy online, associated public policy issues, and methods for educating the public about how new communications technologies affect citizens’ rights and liberties in the Internet age.

Real Estate Markets in Informal Settings: India and Brazil
Susan Wachter (Wharton), Eugenie Birch (Design)

A range of policy approaches have been developed to create “slum-free” cities. Despite these efforts, informal housing remains ubiquitous. To understand the processes that govern informal settlements, they cannot be assumed to be divorced from market forces, but must be understood as complex environments where state policies, market actors and civil society play a role.This project convened scholars and practitioners working in India and Brazil to foster the emergence of a multidisciplinary, comparative understanding of the structures and mechanisms that govern urban land and housing markets in informal settlements.

Global Health Education Training Program
Stephen Avery (
Perelman School of Medicine)

Building on a current partnership, Penn Radiation Oncology is strengthening Penn engagement by providing a road map for physics training. The long-term goal is to develop a USA/Africa Radiation Oncology Core (ROC), with both practical (PROC) and virtual (IROC) components, dedicated to Research Education/training in Radiation oncology in East Africa.

International Nursing Research Collaboration with KU Leuven
Linda Aiken (Nursing)

Having developed a successful research collaboration spanning 16 countries, Penn Nursing used this GEF grant to expand and extend its RN4CAST study, which examines how hospital nurse staffing, skill mix, educational composition, and quality of the nurse work environment impact hospital mortality, failure to rescue, quality of care, patient safety, and patient satisfaction. The study was initially conducted in China, South Africa, and Botswana. This project expanded its scope to Europe.

Advanced Kannada, Advanced Telugu, and India's Literature
Daud Ali (Arts & Sciences)

This grant supported the development of language courses on Telegu and Kannada, as well as a course on India’s literature. Telugu and Kannada are important languages of contemporary India of the Dravidian language group. Telugu is the third most widely spoken language in India after Hindi and Bengali, and is the mother tongue of a significant number of Penn undergraduates of South Asian origin, many of whom are second generation immigrants to the U.S. and are actively seeking additional language training in their mother tongue. Kannada is the 8th most widely spoken language in India, spoken by nearly 40 million people, and, like Telugu, is the mother tongue of a significant group of Penn undergraduates, many of whom are second-generation immigrants.

Expanding Penn's Global Engagement in Guatemala
Charles Branas (
Perelman School of Medicine)

The project aimed to expand Penn’s interdisciplinary engagement in Guatemala through shared leadership and collaboration with Guatemalan communities and institutions. Penn has been actively partnering with Guatemalan institutions for nearly a century, making Guatemala one of Penn’s oldest global partners.

Pilot Studies to Improve Participation in Chagas Disease Vector Control Programs
Alison Buttenheim (Nursing)

This project examined an ongoing Chagas disease vector control campaign in Arequipa, Peru, as a case study to further understanding of the determinants of participation in large-scale, population-based interventions more broadly.

Developing Science Based Technology for Sustainable Ruminant Production in China, India, and the US
James Ferguson (Veterinary Medicine)

This grant funded supported the training of veterinarians from China and India at the Center for Animal Health and Productivity in Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine, with the broad goal of developing and propagating techniques to sustainably and ethically increase yields for dairy cows.

Food Security in a Rapidly Urbanizing World
David Galligan (Veterinary Medicine)

This grant supported a two-day interdisciplinary conference in the Fall of 2012 on “Food Security in a Rapidly Urbanizing World.” Topics of inquiry included urban and rural economies, the politics of food and world trade, food production practices, access to food for urban rich and poor, public health and community education, environmental conservation, land use, property laws and business practices, area studies and policy development.

Philanthropy in India: Practice and Promise
Femida Handy (Social Policy & Practice)

This grant supported research for a book on the history and practice of philanthropy in India, which has a long tradition in the Subcontinent, cutting across religions, cultures, caste, and socio-economic strata. This project sought to compare the philanthropy in pre- and post-independence India.

Diaspora to Diaspora: Creating links between Africana, African, and Jewish Studies
John Jackson (Arts & Sciences)

This grant brought British historian Tudor Parfitt to campus to stimulate conversation between students and faculty in the too-rarely intersecting fields of Africana Studies, African Studies, and Jewish Studies. Tudor’s work, particularly on the movement of the Biblical Ark within Africa, sits at the nexus of these fields.

Distinguished International Scholar Prof. Yung Woo Park. Collaboration at the Nano/Bio Interface Between Penn and Seoul National University
Charlie Johnson (Arts & Sciences)

This grant brought Prof. Yung Woo Park of Seoul National University, a leader in the field of nanoscale science and engineering (NSE) to Penn for a year. Park worked with Penn’s Nano/Bio Interface center and delivered public lectures in the Departments of Physics & Astronomy and Materials Sciences & Engineering.

International Symposium on Engineering Research & Education Collaboration (ISEREC): The Energy Frontier: Controlling Matter at the Nanoscale
Cherie Kagan (Engineering)

This grant supported a two-day International Symposium on Engineering Research and Education Collaboration in August, 2012, with representatives from five counterpart Centers at universities abroad.

Global Research Seminar: Islamic Finance and Investment in the International Markets
Michael Knoll (Penn Law)

This grant supported the program costs for field research in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia as part of an innovative and intensive Global Research Seminar (GRS) on Islamic Finance and Investment in the International Markets. The class conducted hands-on research during a ten-day field research visit to Malaysia over Spring Break. While in Kuala Lumpur, students met with the Malaysian central bank (Bank Negara), the Islamic Financial Services Board (ISFB), and private sector firms and companies that are at the center of designing, implementing and overseeing the financial services products that are shaping Islamic finance now and in the coming decades.

Asian Urbanism: Multiple Perspectives
John Landis (Design)

This grant supported two conferences on Asian Urbanism: one on Penn’s campus in May 2012, and one in Beijing in June 2012. The conferences centered on comparative models of city planning and governance across Asia.

World Heritage Now: Evaluating the Past, Present, and Future of UNESCO’s Cultural Policy Program
Richard Leventhal (Arts & Sciences)

This grant supported a conference examining two key UNESCO international conventions: the 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Cultural Property and the 1972 Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.

Real-time Control of Re-emerging Chagas Disease Vectors in Arequipa, Peru
Michael Levy (
Perelman School of Medicine)

This grant furthered The University of Pennsylvania’s established, long-standing global health partnership with the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (UPCH), the premiere research and teaching university in Peru. The collaboration includes a large project on the control of Chagas disease in Southern Peru. Chagas disease is one of the principal infectious causes of morbidity and mortality in the Americas.

Securing Machine-To-Machine Communication
Rahul Mangharam (Engineering)

This grant supported a collaboration between Penn and NIIT University, India on Internet of Things or Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications.

Penn-in-Grahamstown
Carol Muller (Arts & Sciences)

This grant supported student travel costs and program fees for the Penn-in-Grahamstown program, which was created in response to numerous requests from Penn undergraduates in African Studies, Music, Theatre Arts, and other areas of study, for a summer abroad option in Africa. For its second year, this unique program offered students the extraordinary opportunity to immerse themselves in the Grahamstown National Arts Festival and the rich culture of South Africa.

Seminar on Methods of Monitoring and Evaluation in International Development
Monroe Price (Annenberg School for Communication)

This grant supported an interdisciplinary seminar that explored the significant field of Monitoring and Evaluation in global development work. Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) has often been a neglected element of program execution, as implementers have prioritized spending funds on program activities that have a direct impact in the communities they serve. However, as international development work has expanded – an estimated 2.3 trillion dollars have been spent on programs in health, media, agriculture, literacy, and civic education over the last few decades – program implementers and donors have come under increased pressure to demonstrate the utility of the programs they develop and fund. This growing demand among development agencies for studies that measure impact has consequences for the university. It drives researchers to think more about the outcomes development programs seek to achieve, to monitor sustainability, and to understand the impact of both successful and failed project objectives within and outside of their discipline.

The Beijing Housing Market in Historical Perspective, 1644-1948
Daniel Raff (Wharton)

For this project, Daniel Raff and Susan Wachter of Wharton collaborated with Se Yan on the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University to study real estate pricing in China over three centuries.

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