From the School of Social Work:

Call for Proposals: Boettner Financial Gerontology Research Fund, Spring 1997

Proposals due: Monday, May 5, 1997

Aging -- both population aging and individual aging -- is a fundamental social, financial, and demographic characteristic of contemporary society. It is widely recognized that the quality of life of aging individuals and aging societies is intertwined with the acquisition and depletion of human resources, including financial resources. Of equal importance are the subjective characteristics of financial resources which can be as instrumental as their objective characteristics in affecting a person's quality of life. This awareness directs concern to such life-span issues as employment and retirement; spending and saving; planning for health, illness, and death. Attention must be paid to relationships among private sector institutions and public policies--especially as these influence personal and family decision making.

Note that the focus here is on the dynamics of aging: gerontology is the study of the multiple processes of aging. It is not simply a focus on "the aged" or "the elderly." Financial gerontology, therefore, is as interested in middle aging as in older aging, and in social and family inter-relationships among men and women of different ages and generations.

The Boettner Center of Financial Gerontology was established in 1986 through the interest and generosity of the late Joseph E. Boettner and his wife Ruth Elizabeth Boettner, to advance understanding of the relationships among aging, financial issues, and quality of life. In pursuing a comprehensive program of applied research in financial gerontology the Boettner Center's aim is to support systematic investigation of the impact of both population aging and individual aging, on patterns of financial well-being within and across generations. The Boettner Center became affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania in 1992 and with the School of Social Work in 1995. The goal of the Boettner Financial Gerontology Research Fund is to support social research by senior researchers, faculty and doctoral students which promises both to promote knowledge and to enhance professional practice and social policy, with the broader societal goal of enhancing the financial well-being and life satisfaction of aging persons in contemporary society.

Proposal Guidelines

A major objective of the Boettner Center is to encourage research that explores the linkages among aging, financial dynamics, and the quality of life of aging individuals, families, and populations. In pursuit of this objective, the Boettner Financial Gerontology Research Fund was established at the School of Social Work to support a program of small research grants in three important categories: (1) seed money for innovative pilot projects that can lead to proposals that will be competitive for external funding; (2) projects requiring modest support for completion and publication; (3) dissertation support for Ph.D. Candidates.

Priority will be given to projects that develop new initiatives in one of three main areas: (1) research on policy and practice issues relevant to the major themes of financial gerontology, including but not limited to socioeconomic variations in retirement preparation, intergenerational care-giving, factors influencing patterns of spending and savings, and patterns of health care needs of middle-age and older-age populations; (2) conferences for either professional or public audiences on topics exploring linkages among aging, financial dynamics, and quality of life; and (3) curriculum development for graduate-level courses in social work and financial gerontology.

Eligibility for Boettner Research Awards: proposals for the spring 1997 competition are invited from university faculty and full-time research staff, conducting or planning research in the areas listed above.

Doctoral students are encouraged to submit proposals to the Boettner Fund. To be eligible: by the start date of the proposed award, the student's dissertation proposal must have been accepted by the appropriate graduate committee. Boettner dissertation fellowships may include full or partial support for the appropriate academic period, thesis fees, and limited research expenses (the justification for which should be clearly identified in the budget).

Requirements for proposals: the guidelines for proposals are as follows:

  1. Size of awards (maximum per award): Faculty and senior researcher awards: $20,000; student awards: $10,000

  2. Use of funds: data collection and analysis, research assistance, salary (including benefits), essential research-related travel, and manuscript preparation and publication costs

  3. The proposal: limited to 10 single-spaced pages
    i) Cover page: Name and title of principal investigator
    Title of proposal
    Amount requested
    100-word abstract of need
    Name of co-investigator or thesis advisor
    Amount and sources of current research support
    Other pending proposals for the same or related project
    ii) Brief curriculum vitae of principal investigator (2 pages)
    iii) introduction: (2-3 pp.): statement of the objectives and significance of the work and its relevance to financial gerontology
    iv) Description of the project (including research design, data sources, methods of analysis)
    v) If the grant is for a pilot study, how will the project f acilitate acquisition of future research funds, including funding agencies to be approached
    vi) Brief plan for the completion, publication, and dissemination of results/materials generated by the project; if a conference, how conference proceedings will be edited and dissemi nated
    vii) Budget (one-page): explicit as to amounts, use of, and Rationale for requests; include timetable [one year preferred, two-year plan acceptable]
  4. Submit 10 copies of the proposal, plus a disk with the proposal in WordPerfect or Microsoft Word format to:
    Steven J. Devlin, Ph.D., Acting Director
    Boettner Center of Financial Gerontology
    School of Social Work
    3701 Locust Walk, Caster Building
    Philadelphia, PA 19104-6214

  5. Reports: a report is required at the proposed termination date of the project, and upon completion if there is an extension. To meet the public dissemination goals of the Boettner Center, two brief (one-page) descriptions of the project, aimed at the educated non-specialist, are required. The first, describing the proposed project, must be submitted prior to release of funds; the sec ond, describing outcomes and results, must be submitted upon completion of the project. Individuals receiving Boettner Financial Gerontology Research Fund Awards will also be asked to prepare a one -hour presentation on their projects as part of the lecture series sponsored by the boettner center and the School of Social Work.

  6. Human subjects: all research projects involving human subjects must receive Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval prior to funding. Applicants are not required to receive IRB approval prior to submission of their proposal. However, funds will only be released to awardees following IRB review and approval.

Review Procedures: proposals will be reviewed by the financial gerontology research committee which includes representatives of the various academic centers in the university community applicants will be notified of the decision of the committee approximately one month after the submission deadline. Funding will begin July 1, 1997. We anticipate funding three or four projects.

For additional information about the Boettner Center or the Boettner Financial Gerontology Research Fund, please contact: Steven J. Devlin, 898 -6475, Fax: 573-3418, or E-mail: sdevlin@ssw.upenn.edu.


Almanac

Volume 43 Number 27
March 25, 1997


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