Provost Ronald Daniels and GAPSA Chair Lela Jacobsohn are pleased to announce a new competitive award program for graduate and professional student-conceived interdisciplinary projects. The GAPSA-Provost’s Award for Interdisciplinary Innovation encourages the collaboration of student scholars from different University departments and/or schools and includes a summer fellowship, jointly funded by GAPSA and the Office of the Provost, for a select group of students.
“GAPSA has been striving to foster interdisciplinary study and work among graduate and professional students and to identify additional, especially summer, funding sources for students. The Award for Interdisciplinary Innovation not only achieves both of these important goals but also advances the principles set forth in the Penn Compact,” said GAPSA Chair Jacobsohn. “It’s a tremendous accomplishment for GAPSA, and more significantly, it’s a phenomenal opportunity for graduate and professional students.”
“These new grants reinforce several key values we hold in high regard at Penn,” said Provost Daniels. “The integration of knowledge across disciplines is becoming increasingly vital in almost every major field of study. Increasing access—opportunity—for students to pursue their scholarly ambitions is another valuable consequence of these awards. Finally, it’s my hope that these fellowships will contribute to an enhanced sense of collaboration and cooperation between scholars and schools.”
Interdisciplinary study, research, and work provide a valuable contribution to the academy and have the power to help address some of society’s most pressing needs, but graduate and professional student-originated ideas for such endeavors are often abandoned due to lack of funding.
In spring 2005, GAPSA initiated the idea for graduate and professional student fellowships focused on interdisciplinary collaborative projects and brought it to Provost Daniels upon his arrival. As a result, a partnership between GAPSA and the Office of the Provost led to the creation of the Award for Interdisciplinary Innovation. The Award program will enable graduate and professional students to integrate knowledge across academic disciplines and engage in a project of their own design to explore, research, and act on critical societal issues. To overcome the barrier of financial support, students will be selected, based on the quality of their application and their funding status, to receive a $2,000 monthly fellowship from June through August for this work. This funding will be awarded to the Project Manager in each instance but can be dispersed among project team members.
GAPSA and the Office of the Provost have worked together throughout the year to develop the award program and define the application process, criteria for selection, and other related details. “We [GAPSA] have been thrilled to collaborate with the Provost on this initiative and motivated by his energy to turn ideas into reality,” shared Ms. Jacobsohn.
The Award application as well as details regarding eligible projects, fellowship funding, and composition of project teams are available on the GAPSA—Provost’s Award for Interdisciplinary Innovation website, www.gapsa.upenn.edu/fellowship_app/. The deadline for completed applications is Monday, April 17, 2006. All applicants will receive final notification of the status of their application by May 12, 2006.