GLEAN Seeks Case Studies on Energy Access in Developing Countries

GLEAN

Deadline: January 26, 2018

The Global Energy Access Network (GLEAN) is an interdisciplinary community of graduate and professional students at Duke University who, in their work, recognize and highlight the foundational role of access to modern energy services in enabling economic growth and sustainable development in the Global South. GLEAN invites proposals for quantitative and qualitative case studies to be included in this Volume II Compilation, which will be released in May 2018.

See awarded case studies from last year’s Volume I Compilation (2016-2017), for reference.

See RFP for full details, including proposal evaluation criteria.

Reward

$300

Request

Focused case study on an energy access challenge in a low/middle-income country

Deadline

January 26, 2018*

*Proposals will be accepted and awarded on a rolling basis, up to a final date of January 26. Review of proposals will begin January 14, 2018.

Submission

Send PDF via email to gleansubmit@gmail.com.

Learn more and download the proposal application form.

GLEAN received a Duke Support for Interdisciplinary Graduate Networks (D-SIGN) grant from the Office of the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies. The next call for proposals will be released in early 2018. Any current Duke graduate student (including master’s, professional and Ph.D. students) may submit a proposal for interdisciplinary projects, trainings, or experiences during the 2018-19 academic year.

With D-SIGN Grants, Graduate Students Build Networks and Advance Research Interests

D-SIGN Duke grantees

Five groups led by Duke graduate students received Duke Support for Interdisciplinary Graduate Networks (D-SIGN) grants for the 2016-17 academic year, becoming the first cohort of students to make use of this new program from the Office of the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies. D-SIGN’s purpose is to enable graduate students to build or extend their networks and to integrate collaborative, cross-school experiences into their programs, thereby increasing the number of individuals whose graduate training reflects Duke’s commitment to interdisciplinarity and knowledge in the service of society.

The D-SIGN grantees included students from the School of Nursing, Sanford School of Public Policy, Arts & Sciences and the Nicholas School of the Environment who advanced a range of research projects and educational experiences that reach beyond disciplinary lines. Here are brief summaries of the groups’ activities.

Global Alliance on Disability and Health Innovation (GANDHI) – Children and Adolescents Health Group

Brittney Sullivan (Ph.D. in Nursing ’17, School of Nursing) and Anna Martin (Master of Public Policy student, Sanford School of Public Policy), established a graduate network affiliated with the Bass Connections project Global Alliance on Disability and Health Innovation (GANDHI) but focused on young people rather than adults. Their faculty sponsor was Janet Prvu Bettger (Nursing).

They aimed to establish the evidence for improving systems of care for children and adolescents living with disability after an acute hospitalization. Using a socioecological approach to identify the key needs for children newly living with disability, network members set out to examine and compare the social supports, health and community services and policies in three countries.

The group held weekly meetings with guest speakers throughout the year, supplemented by four group dinners. Three members traveled to Uganda in April to conduct interviews and observe some of the organizations that the group identified.

Anna Martin and Nelia Ekeji ’19 presented “GIS Study of Posthospital Services Supporting Children with Surgical Need in Uganda” at a Duke event, Strategies to Strengthen Health Systems Globally.

The group has a manuscript in preparation, “Spatial Distribution of Rehabilitation Services for Children Following Surgery in Uganda: Using the Data to Plan Interventions.” Members are transcribing and coding interviews, and Sarah Barton (Th.D. student, Divinity School) will lead the group in 2017-18.

Global Energy Access Network (GLEAN)

Three graduate students teamed up with faculty sponsors Subhrendu Pattanayak (Sanford School of Public Policy) and Brian Murray (Nicholas School of the Environment) to bring together students across Duke who are working on global energy transitions, energy access and energy poverty.

Rob Fetter and Faraz Usmani (University Ph.D. Program in Environmental Policy students, Nicholas School and Sanford School) and Hannah Girardeau (Master of Environmental Management student, Nicholas School) established GLEAN to ignite a research and policy dialogue around an understudied global issue.

GLEAN has grown into a network of 50 graduate and undergraduate students, representing at least seven schools and departments across Duke. Members met once or twice each month to update the broader community about relevant activities taking place at their respective schools and departments.

Through the Energy Access Speaker Series, GLEAN organized seven talks by experts on energy, environment and development. Five of these events were co-organized with other Duke programs, which helped the members to forge new partnerships.

In June, the group published an edited volume of energy access case studies, Energy & Development. The six chapters are coauthored by graduate or undergraduate students and focus on five countries (India, Indonesia, Madagascar, Nicaragua, Peru). With support from the Duke University Energy Initiative—GLEAN’s institutional home—the group will promote the publication widely this fall.

Several members worked with three paid research associates to compile a detailed annotated bibliography of energy, environment and development data sources available publicly that will be useful in creating an Energy Access Index. The group received a follow-on D-SIGN grant to conduct an energy access and air quality survey, engage two keynote speakers, produce case studies on energy and development and coordinate an “Imagine Energy” photo contest and exhibition.

Rethinking Regulation – Graduate Student Working Group

Based in the Rethinking Regulation Program at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, this group provides a forum for student-led interdisciplinary discussion, research and analysis of issues related to regulatory governance. Mercy DeMenno (Ph.D. in Public Policy student, Sanford School) sought a D-SIGN grant to support research workshops, writing group meetings, analyses of contemporary regulatory policy issues and other collaborative activities.

The group has grown to involve 25 students from 13 disciplines/programs and nine schools/departments as well as an active alumni group. Faculty sponsors are Lori Bennear (Nicholas School) and Jonathan Wiener (Law).

The group convened 12 research workshops in which members received feedback on their conference papers, articles, dissertation proposals, chapters and research plans. Presentations covered a range of topics, including regulatory impact assessment, regulatory disclosure regimes for fracking, regulating household energy technology, private accreditation in education, water and sanitation service provision in the Middle East and tort reform.

In addition, the group convened two writing groups that met twice per month. One group focused on dissertation prospectus and grant proposal development while the other focused on dissertation articles, chapters and extensions.

A key initiative was the development of a student-led regulatory governance blog. The Rethinking Regulation Blog publishes short articles connecting scholarly work to contemporary regulatory policy issues, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary, collaborative and applied academic inquiry.

A STEM Researcher-Educator Network to Improve K-12 Science Literacy

Three doctoral students teamed up with faculty sponsors Kate Allman (Program in Education) and Brad Murray (Nicholas School) to create a network of STEM graduate students and Master of Arts in Teaching students who work together on lesson plans for local K-12 educators. Rebecca Lauzon (Ph.D. in Earth and Ocean Sciences student, Nicholas School), Eleanor Caves and Patrick Green (Ph.D. in Biology students, Arts & Sciences) utilized the structure of the Scientific Research and Education Network (SciREN), which develops relationships between researchers and educators to incorporate current research into K-12 classrooms.

They recruited two MAT students and 17 STEM researchers to develop K-12 lesson plans. The network produced 16 lesson plans, which were shared with 150 educators at SciREN’s annual networking event and added to SciREN’s portal.

“Polymers Matter” and “Modeling Cell Organelles” were selected for inclusion in SciREN’s lesson plan kit program. Educators were able to order these lessons and have all the necessary supplies mailed. These two lessons reached six schools and 400 students. “Exploring Marshes and Barrier Islands with a Scientific Model” and “Make It Rain: The Water Utility Management Game” were shared with an additional 50 educators at SciREN Coast, an educator-researcher networking event organized by the Duke and UNC marine labs.

The group organized two workshops for STEM researchers. Sixty people attended Demystifying STEM Outreach. Getting Down to Basics: Strategies for Communicating Complex Science was an interactive workshop for 25 students. From these events, the group produced a database of outreach/science communication opportunities.

Pre- and post-surveys revealed that after participating in the network, STEM graduate students felt more qualified to do outreach with K-12 students and educators and to create lesson plans. The MAT students felt they built a network of scientists and gained experience-planning lessons on complicated subjects.

Duke Conservation Society

With faculty sponsor Stuart Pimm (Nicholas School), Priya Ranganathan (Master of Environmental Management student, Nicholas School) sought a D-SIGN grant to expand the Duke Conservation Society beyond the Nicholas School to engage interdisciplinary approaches to conservation.

The group’s mission is to enhance students’ understanding of the various scientific, political, economic and managerial tools available to address conservation issues; facilitate collaborations among undergraduate, master’s and Ph.D. students on conservation projects and analyses; and provide opportunities for professional development such as networking with conservation professionals, seminars and guest speakers.

The Duke Conservation Society organized multiple symposia and events geared toward sharing international perspectives on conservation. Members worked with Conservation X Labs, a company that produces technology for wildlife conservation, and Duke Conservation Tech, a student organization affiliated with the Pratt School of Engineering, to produce Blueprint: People + Wildlife. This was a competition for teams of undergraduate and graduate students in the Triangle area to create blueprints for novel conservation technologies to assist in fighting the illegal wildlife trade. Approximately 50 students participated in teams.

The group also used the D-SIGN grant to for a dinner seminar to discuss a project on urban gardening that the Divinity School and the Nicholas School will undertake together. The dinner featured Saskia Cornes of the Duke Campus Farm and Norman Wirzba of the Divinity School. The speakers discussed the intersection of conservation, urban agriculture and Christianity, and students from both schools collaborated on designs for the proposed courtyard garden at the Divinity School.

Learn More

Read about the six groups that received D-SIGN grants for 2017-18 and what they plan to do. The next call for proposals will be released in early 2018. Any current Duke graduate student (including master’s, professional and Ph.D. students) may submit a proposal for interdisciplinary projects, trainings or experiences during the 2018-19 academic year.

Six Graduate Student Groups Receive Interdisciplinary D-SIGN Grants

The Office of the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies has awarded Duke Support for Interdisciplinary Graduate Networks (D-SIGN) grants to six graduate student groups for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Desarrolla México

  • Student organizers: Ruxandra Popovici, Ph.D. in Environment, Nicholas School of the Environment; Emilio Blanco Gonzalez and Adam Cullen, Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering, Pratt School of Engineering

Desarrolla México is one of five projects developed by Duke Desarrolla. This group will conduct a summer project in Ejido Playa Grande, helping a rural community develop a renewable energy strategy and a formal business plan for its environmentally sustainable ecotourism business. In doing so, the group aims to promote a consultant-based approach to international development, connecting community members to business, marketing and engineering experts who can help them reach their particular business goals. This project is part of a research study on the obstacles faced by rural residents when attempting to reinvest funds received from Payments for Ecosystem Services programs into a community business. (See update.)

Global Energy Access Network (GLEAN)

  • Student organizers: Yating Li, Ph.D. in Environmental Policy, Nicholas School of the Environment and Sanford School of Public Policy; Muye Ru, Ph.D. in Earth and Ocean Sciences, Nicholas School of the Environment; Faraz Usmani, Ph.D. in Environmental Policy, Nicholas School of the Environment and Sanford School of Public Policy; Heidi Vreeland, Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering, Pratt School of Engineering

GLEAN includes more than 50 graduate and professional students from across Duke. The group received a D-SIGN grant last year and will use this follow-on grant to elevate the prominence of the global energy access challenge on campus; foster an interdisciplinary community of graduate and professional students wanting to engage with this challenge in their work; and offer opportunities to this community to do so. Activities will include an energy access and air quality survey, engagement with two keynote speakers, case studies on energy and development and an “Imagine Energy” photo contest and exhibition. (See update.)

The Global South after 2010

  • Student organizers: Renee Ragin, Ph.D. in Literature, Arts & Sciences; Giulia Ricco, Ph.D. in Romance Studies, Arts & Sciences

This group will explore the aesthetics, ethics and politics of transnational violence in the Global South. Are there systematic trends in the types of sociopolitical violence that have characterized social movements after the Arab Spring? How has this violence been represented in the media and in popular culture? What are the legal and political consequences of such representations? Activities will include three seminars with guest facilitators and a graduate student conference. Student participants will come from humanities and social science programs in the Graduate School, as well as from Fuqua, Sanford and Law. The organizers aim to create an edited anthology at the conclusion of this working group. (See update.)

Lowndes County Sanitation Access Network

  • Student organizers: Emily Meza, Master of Environmental Management, Nicholas School of the Environment; Katy Hansen, Ph.D. in Environmental Policy, Nicholas School of the Environment and Sanford School of Public Policy; Ryan Juskus, Ph.D. in Religion, Arts & Sciences

Students from Divinity, Law, Nicholas, Pratt and Sanford will undertake a community-based research project to improve wastewater treatment in Lowndes County, Alabama, where 90% of households have inadequate or no access to sanitation. More than 80% of households cannot connect to the municipal sewerage and must finance their own septic systems. With a median household income among the lowest in the U.S., many households cannot afford to do so. In addition, half of the septic systems are failing. Poor sanitation poses serious health risks (including hookworm, found in fecal samples from Lowndes County residents). The group will take the lead in diagnosing the interlaced physical, financial, legal and political barriers to sanitation access and evaluate potential solutions. (See update.)

Modeling Health & Environment Graduate Working Group

  • Student organizers: Shashika Bandara, Master of Science in Global Health, Duke Global Health Institute; Varun Mallampalli, Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering, Pratt School of Engineering

A working group of graduate students from diverse backgrounds will design a course for undergraduates on systems thinking and modeling in health and environment. Graduate students with backgrounds in energy, environmental studies and health will collaboratively develop instructional models based on real-world case studies that will serve as course materials for the undergraduate course. Through their interdisciplinary collaboration and the process of contributing to the course, the graduate students will acquire system dynamics modeling skills as well as relevant subject matter knowledge on global health, the environment and the interconnections between the two. (See update.)

Network to Enrich GALS Summer Science Program

  • Student organizers: Jacqueline Gerson, Ph.D. in Ecology, Arts & Sciences; Emily Levy, Ph.D. in Biology, Arts & Sciences

This summer, the Girls on outdoor Adventures in Leadership and Science (GALS) group is piloting a free two-week summer camp for girls aged 15-18 from underrepresented backgrounds to encourage them to pursue STEM fields. The D-SIGN grant will be used to improve the training of GALS leaders and foster a community of environmental educators for a broad array of disciplines. Activities include facilitating interdisciplinary working groups to improve lesson plans and the structure of GALS; expanding resources for GALS leaders and increasing the number of leaders; sharing the curriculum and logistics to encourage similar programs across North Carolina; and creating mentorship programs between Duke students from underserved communities and GALS participants. (See update.)

About D-SIGN

This internal funding mechanism encourages graduate students to explore beyond disciplinary lines, both in research and coursework. The goal is to enable graduate students to build or extend their networks and to integrate collaborative, cross-school experiences into their programs, thereby increasing the number of individuals whose graduate training reflects Duke’s commitment to interdisciplinarity and knowledge in the service of society.

A January 2017 RFP invited all current Duke graduate students (including master’s, professional and Ph.D. students) to propose an interdisciplinary project, training or experience lasting up to a year.

Proposals were reviewed by an ad hoc committee convened by the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies with representation from faculty, institute directors and graduate students.

The first cohort of D-SIGN grantees (2016-2017) included Duke Conservation Society; Global Alliance on Disability and Health Innovation – Children and Adolescents Project; Global Energy Access Network (GLEAN); Rethinking Regulation – Graduate Student Working Group; and A STEM Researcher-Educator Network to Improve K-12 Science Literacy.

Grants Available to Support Interdisciplinary Graduate Networks

Deadline: March 29, 2017

[Please take note, the 2018 RFP is located here.]

Opportunity

Through this internal funding mechanism, graduate students are encouraged to explore beyond disciplinary lines, both in research and coursework. The goal of this grant competition is to enable graduate students to build or extend their networks and to integrate collaborative, cross-school experiences into their programs, thereby increasing the number of individuals whose graduate training reflects the university’s signature commitments to interdisciplinarity and knowledge in the service of society. We believe such experiences will lead to better preparation/training, whether for academic positions or other career trajectories.

Duke Support for Interdisciplinary Graduate Network (D-SIGN) Grants are available to graduate student groups to propose an interdisciplinary project, training, or experience lasting up to a year. Preference will be given to proposals that include participation across schools and that include professional students and well as doctoral students.

Proposals require a lead faculty sponsor who agrees to mentor the group; an organizational sponsor (preferably a department, school, or institute/initiative) willing to handle funds and provide logistical support; endorsement from an additional faculty member from a different discipline or school; a plan of work; and anticipated outcomes. Where appropriate, these activities should count toward curricular requirements.

Proposed projects or activities could include a year-long research team (e.g., on the Bass Connections model that incorporates undergraduates and engages with external partners such as community organizations); groups to explore a compelling theme or problem that cuts across disciplinary lines (e.g., a reading group, group independent study, dissertation writing group); a joint effort to construct an interdisciplinary course for undergraduates, etc. For reference, see previous awardees and project descriptions.

Eligibility

All current graduate students (post-undergraduate, including master’s, professional, and PhD students) in any program at Duke University may propose interdisciplinary groups and activities.

Proposals

Proposals will be accepted from February 15 through March 29, 2017, at 5:00 p.m. and should be submitted to Amber Martinez (Amber.Martinez@duke.edu) in the Office of the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies. Proposals should include:

  • Updated Curriculum Vitae (no more than 2 pages), for all lead proposers
  • A brief narrative that articulates the plan of work, the proposed group, the goals of the network and how it fits with the students’ overall academic, research and professional plans (no more than 3 pages)
  • A budget plan (up to $20,000), timeline for use of the funds, and identification of the sponsoring unit (to manage the funds); we anticipate most budgets and awards will fall in the $5,000-$15,000 range
  • A listing of all other concurrent proposals for funding to support the proposed activities (we will ask awardees to update us when any additional funding for the proposed activities is awarded/received)
  • Letters or e-mails from the faculty sponsor and an additional faculty member from a different discipline or school in support of the proposed network.

Review and Selection

Proposals will be reviewed by an ad hoc committee convened by the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies, to include representation from faculty, deans, institute directors, and graduate students, representing all divisions of knowledge. Decisions will be announced by mid-April 2017 and funds will be awarded as appropriate to the timing of the activities. Awardees will be expected to provide updates on their activities during the year, which may include meeting with the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies.

Doctoral Students Honored for Excellence in Mentoring

Duke graduate students Eleanor Caves (Biology), Joyell Arscott (Nursing) and Zachary Carico (Immunology) are this year’s student recipients of the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring.

Caves (pictured above) is part of a graduate student group that received a Duke Support for Interdisciplinary Graduate Networks (D-SIGN) grant for the 2016-2017 academic year. Her successful proposal, submitted with Rebecca Lauzon, Ph.D. student in Earth and Ocean Sciences, and Patrick Green, Ph.D. student in Biology, called for a new network of STEM graduate students and Master of Arts in Teaching students to create lesson plans based on current research and distribute them to local K-12 educators. The network utilizes the structure of a graduate student-run STEM outreach group called the Scientific Research and Education Network (SciREN), which develops relationships between researchers and educators to incorporate current research into K-12 classrooms. All lesson plans created for SciREN are freely available to educators through an online repository. The group’s faculty sponsors are Kate Allman and Brad Murray.

Graduate Student Groups Receive New D-SIGN Grants for Interdisciplinary Activities

D-SIGN recipients

Duke Support for Interdisciplinary Graduate Networks (D-SIGN) grants have been awarded to five graduate student groups for the 2016-2017 academic year.

In March an RFP invited all current graduate students (including master’s, professional and Ph.D. students) in any program at Duke to propose interdisciplinary groups and activities. Through this new internal funding mechanism, graduate students have the opportunity to propose research projects and educational experiences that reach beyond disciplinary lines. These grants help graduate students to build or extend their networks and to integrate collaborative, cross-school endeavors into their programs.

Over the last 15 years, Duke has committed itself to furthering interdisciplinary education and research and fostering knowledge in the service of society. With maturing interdisciplinary organizations and communities on campus, Duke is well-positioned to expand the interdisciplinary experiences available to graduate students.

Duke Conservation Society

  • Submitted by Priya Ranganathan, Master of Environmental Management student, Nicholas School of the Environment
  • Faculty sponsor: Stuart Pimm

The Duke Conservation Society will expand its network beyond the Nicholas School of the Environment to engage interdisciplinary approaches to conservation. The group’s mission is to enhance students’ understanding of the various scientific, political, economic and managerial tools available to address conservation issues; facilitate collaborations among undergraduate, master’s and Ph.D. students on conservation projects and analyses; and provide opportunities for professional development such as networking with conservation professionals, seminars and guest speakers.

Global Alliance on Disability and Health Innovation – Children and Adolescents Project

  • Submitted by Brittney Sullivan, Ph.D. in Nursing student, School of Nursing; and Anna Martin, Master of Public Policy student, Sanford School of Public Policy
  • Faculty sponsor: Janet Prvu Bettger

The Bass Connections project team Global Alliance on Disability and Health Innovation (GANDHI) was designed with a focus on adults. A new interdisciplinary graduate network affiliated with GANDHI will aim to establish the evidence for improving systems of care and support specifically for children and adolescents living with disability after an acute hospitalization. Using a socioecological approach to identify the key needs for children newly living with disability, network members will examine and compare the social supports, health and community services and policies in three countries. Members hope this project will inform future interdisciplinary research to strengthen health systems for children and adolescents transitioning home from the hospital.

Global Energy Access Network

  • Submitted by Rob Fetter and Faraz Usmani, University Ph.D. Program in Environmental Policy students, Nicholas School of the Environment and Sanford School of Public Policy; and Hannah Girardeau, Master of Environmental Management student, Nicholas School of the Environment
  • Faculty sponsors: Subhrendu Pattanayak and Brian Murray

The Global Energy Access Network (GLEAN) will bring together students working on global energy transitions, energy access and energy poverty. It will create a forum to explore shared interests, learn from experienced researchers and practitioners and construct new statistical indicators around the theme of energy access in emerging economies. The group aims to ignite a research and policy dialogue around an understudied global issue, and to help position Duke as a central contributor to that dialogue within a global network.

Rethinking Regulation – Graduate Student Working Group

  • Submitted by Mercy DeMenno, Ph.D. in Public Policy student, Sanford School of Public Policy
  • Faculty sponsors: Lori Bennear and Jonathan Wiener

The Rethinking Regulation – Graduate Student Working Group provides a forum for student-led interdisciplinary discussion, research and analysis of issues related to regulatory governance. Based in the Rethinking Regulation program at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, the group comprises twenty doctoral and professional students from nine disciplines and eight schools/departments. Members have a wide range of academic and professional experiences, and are united by a common interest in regulatory governance and a shared commitment to interdisciplinary collaborative inquiry in the service of society. Funding will support research workshops, writing group meetings, analyses of contemporary regulatory policy issues and other collaborative activities.

A STEM Researcher-Educator Network to Improve K-12 Science Literacy

  • Submitted by Rebecca Lauzon, Ph.D. in Earth and Ocean Sciences student, Nicholas School of the Environment; and Eleanor Caves and Patrick Green, Ph.D. in Biology students, Graduate School
  • Faculty sponsors: Kate Allman and Brad Murray

A new network of STEM graduate students (from the Graduate School, Pratt School of Engineering and/or the Nicholas School of the Environment) and Master of Arts in Teaching students will create lesson plans based on current research and distribute them to local K-12 educators. The network will utilize the structure of a graduate student-run STEM outreach group called the Scientific Research and Education Network (SciREN), which develops relationships between researchers and educators to incorporate current research into K-12 classrooms. All lesson plans created for SciREN are freely available to educators through an online repository.

Proposals were reviewed by an ad hoc committee convened by the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies with representation from faculty, deans, institute directors and graduate students. By June 30, 2017, recipients will report on their group’s activities, use of funds and progress toward anticipated outcomes.

Clockwise from upper left: Priya Ranganathan, Brittney Sullivan, Anna Martin, Rob Fetter, Faraz Usmani, Hannah Girardeau, Mercy DeMenno, Rebecca Lauzon, Eleanor Caves, Patrick Green

Duke Support for Interdisciplinary Graduate Networks (D-SIGN) Grants: 2016 RFP

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Deadline: April 29, 2016

Spring 2016 Request for Proposals

[Please take note, the 2018 RFP is located here.]

Opportunity

Over the last fifteen years, Duke has committed itself to furthering interdisciplinarity and knowledge in the service of society. Now, with a new strategic planning process charting the university’s direction for the next decade, we have an opportunity to build upon our successes. With maturing interdisciplinary organizations and communities on campus, Duke is well-positioned to expand the interdisciplinary experiences available to graduate students.

Through this new internal funding mechanism, graduate students are encouraged to explore beyond disciplinary lines, both in research and coursework. The goal of this grant competition is to enable graduate students to build or extend their networks and to integrate collaborative, cross-school experiences into their programs, thereby increasing the number of individuals whose graduate training reflects the university’s signature commitments. We believe such experiences will lead to better preparation/training, whether for academic positions or other career trajectories.

Interdisciplinary Graduate Network Grants are available to graduate student groups to propose an interdisciplinary project, training, or experience lasting up to a year. Preference will be given to proposals that include participation across schools and that include professional students as well as doctoral students.

Proposals would require a lead faculty sponsor who would agree to mentor the group; an organizational sponsor (preferably a department, school, or institute/initiative) willing to handle funds and provide logistical support; endorsement from an additional faculty member from a different discipline or school; a plan of work; and anticipated outcomes. Where appropriate, these activities should count toward curricular requirements.

Proposed projects or activities could include a year-long research team (e.g., on the Bass Connections model that incorporates undergraduates and engages with external partners such as community organizations); groups to explore a compelling theme or problem that cuts across disciplinary lines (e.g., a reading group, group independent study, dissertation writing group); a joint effort to construct an interdisciplinary course for undergraduates, etc.

Eligibility

All current graduate students (post-undergraduate, including master’s, professional, and PhD students) in any program at Duke University may propose interdisciplinary groups and activities.

Proposals

Proposals should be submitted to Hallie Knuffman (hallie.knuffman@duke.edu) in the Office of the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies by Friday, April 29 at 5:00pm and should include:

  • a brief narrative that articulates the plan of work, the proposed group, the goals of the network, and how it fits with the students’ overall academic, research, and professional plans (no more than 3 pages);
  • a budget plan (up to $20,000), timeline for use of the funds, and identification of the sponsoring unit (to manage the funds);
  • letters or e-mails from the faculty sponsor and an additional faculty member from a different discipline or school in support of the proposed network.

Review and Selection

Proposals will be reviewed by an ad hoc committee convened by the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies, to include representation from faculty, deans, institute directors, and graduate students, representing all divisions of knowledge. Decisions will be announced by mid-May 2016 and funds will be awarded as appropriate to the timing of the activities.