Skip to content Skip to navigation

OIA grants address faculty international research needs

July 20, 2015
Image credit: David Duprey / FlickR

The Office of International Affairs (OIA) is pleased to announce recipients of their 2014-2015 Proof of Concept Seed Grants.  Based on feedback from a series of faculty focus group meetings convened by Ann Arvin, Vice Provost and Dean of Research, and Brendan Walsh, Director, OIA, these seed grants are flexible and nimble, providing faculty with seed money that is typically not available.

One major concern for faculty is offering bilateral reciprocity to their international collaborators. While it is typical for grants to allow Stanford faculty to travel abroad, there is usually very little funding that allows Stanford faculty to bring their collaborators to Stanford. From 2013-2014, OIA addressed this concern by awarding 11 seed grants to faculty to bring their collaborators from a group of countries that were identified as either a least developed country (LDC) by the United Nations or a low to low middle income country (LIC or LMIC) by the World Bank. Through this funding, Stanford faculty invited their collaborators from Bangladesh, Kenya, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Paraguay, and Zimbabwe to Stanford.

Availability of small amounts of proof of concept funding is another concern. Providing small amounts of funding has allowed faculty to test their concepts and allow them to subsequently apply for larger federal grants. Since OIA’s inception in 2011, they have awarded 19 seed grants for international research spanning the globe.

The OIA's 2014-15 Proof of Concept Seed Grants were open to faculty in all schools and are intended to broaden and deepen the scope of international research, The four recipients of the latest round of grants are all in the School of Humanities and Sciences.  The current round of winning research projects demonstrate global impact, and include plans to support undergraduate student mentorship, provide graduate student research opportunities and/or engage in-country alumni. They will receive grants up to $30,000.

According to Brendan Walsh

“Over the past three years, OIA has identified three areas in which faculty consistently have requested additional support: getting graduate students into the field to expand research opportunities; providing better mentorship for undergraduate research; and, connecting with local networks in-country, including with alumni. We are very pleased to be able help these four faculty to begin addressing these issues through these innovative projects.”

The lead researchers and their winning projects are:

    Zephyr Frank, associate professor of history and director of the Program on Urban Studies, aims to convene two workshops and an Urban Sustainability Expo at the Stanford Center at Peking University (SCPKU) in partnership with universities in China on the theme of sustainable cities. Frank hopes the  grant will enable the Program on Urban Studies to establish a home base at SCPKU and conduct field research in Beijing.

    Maurice "Rush" Rehm, professor of theater and performance studies and classics, will collaborate with Eleni Paplaxiou, a faculty member at the University of the Peloponnese to establish a summer institute in Greece's Argolid region. Rehm hopes that the institute will serve as an international center for research on Greek tragedy and that it will become a center for theatrical exploration.

    Krish Seetah, assistant professor of anthropology, is conducting research on improving "early warning" models that predict the incidence of malaria in Mauritius. Working with colleagues from the U.S., U.K., Denmark and Mauritius, they plan to recover and analyze archaeological samples, assemble a record of past climate change, and correlate these data with historic incidences of malaria epidemics.

    Michael Tomz, professor of political science, will collaborate with Professor  Masaru Kohno of Waseda University to study Japanese attitudes toward foreign policy. They will design, field and analyze public opinion polls about major foreign policy topics, including territorial disputes, military alliances, trade agreements, economics sanctions, humanitarian intervention, and environmental treaties.