From a digital art exhibit to measuring air pollution in Senegal, new round of Global Research Awards covers innovative projects

Small image of rotunda columns with sun peeking through

In Fall 2021, Center for Global Inquiry + Innovation in the Office of the Vice Provost for Global Affairs announced a new round of grants to support global research for faculty and graduate students. The grants included smaller ones given to faculty for individual research (up to $15,000), as well as a G-pod for larger collaborative work (up to $100,000). In addition, CGII also awarded grants to more than 15 graduate students to help with their dissertation research.

“After a difficult 2020, when much research came to a screeching halt because of the pandemic, 2021 has provided a much-needed push forward,” said Brian Owensby, Director of CGII. He added that faculty are restarting their global research agendas, traveling, and bringing collaborators to Grounds. “Applications for the spring and fall grant cycles were strong and we are expecting a solid spring 2022.”

The awarded faculty projects ranged from a digital exhibit of art after hurricanes to launching an Asian Urbanism Collaborative; from Global legal history at UVA to transfer of materials science knowledge to developing countries.

Some of the student projects that were awarded in the Fall included The Decorative Arts of colonial Jamaica by Catherine Doucette, Through the Waves: Radio Bari, the Fascist Radio Heard Across the Mediterranean by Emily Mellen, Soil Stories/Soil Futures by Theodore Teichman, and Strategic Making: aspiration, endurance, and collective care in rural Tanzania by Erin Jordan.

Two larger grants known as G-Pods were also awarded in the fall cycle.  

The faculty projects awarded in the Fall are:

  • Global Legal History at UVA (GLH@UVA) by Fahad Bishara
  • Accelerating transfer of materials science knowledge to developing countries with the use of accessible chemicals and techniques by Gaurav Giri
  • Asian Urbanism Collaborative – Launch and Workshop Series by Esther Lorentz
  • Disinformation and Democracy: A Study in the Myanmar De Facto Military Authority’s Use of Disinformation to Discredit Non-Violent Democratic Activism by Steve Parks
  • Coasts in Crisis: A Digital Exhibit of Art After Hurricanes by Charlotte Rogers
  • Empowering Democratic Institutions to Address Climate Change Induced Water Imbalances by Sheetal Sekhri

In addition to center grants, CGII offered two G-Pods. G-Pods are larger grants given in the fall semester to jump-start collaborative global research for faculty. The awarded projects are:

Digital Democracy: The Uses and Misuse of Technology in Unequal Societies by, Sayan Banerjee; Gabrielle Kruks-Wisner; David Nemer; Siva Vaidhyanathan

This interdisciplinary and collaborative research program is dedicated to the study of digital technologies and their consequences for local democracy. Through research and community partnerships in three large, diverse, federal democracies – India, Brazil, and the United States – we ask: how can the power of the digital age be harnessed to promote greater equality, voice, and representation in contexts marked by rising political polarization and social inequality? The program is centered around three interconnected strands of research on (1) social media, intergroup relations, and public opinion; (2) misinformation, trust, and local media; and (3) community media, participation, and accountability. 

Observing regional air pollution across Senegal: a UVA-UCAD partnership by Sally E. Pusede

This project will support the establishment of an air quality network across Senegal measuring two important pollutants, fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). PM2.5 and NO2 are associated with various adverse health effects, with PM2.5 exposure among the leading causes of mortality globally. This network will provide unprecedented observations of air pollution abundance, sources, and spatiotemporal patterns across the country. The network will also strengthen an existing research partnership between UVA and the Université Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD), provide unique training opportunities for Senegalese and UVA students, and initiate new collaborations with scholars in other countries.

The Center has opened applications for the Spring cycle awards with a deadline of March 18, 2022.