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GAPSA—Provost’s Award for Interdisciplinary Innovation: April 16
March 20, 2007, Volume 53, No. 26

Provost Ronald Daniels and GAPSA Chair Lee Shaker are pleased to announce a second year of funding 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. 

“Last year, the Award for Interdisciplinary Innovation provided a tremendous opportunity for students to engage in cutting edge research and build bridges of collaboration across Penn’s campus. The results were exciting from both local and global perspectives, and we believe the Award for Interdisciplinary Innovation truly embodies the principles set forth in the Penn Compact,” said the GAPSA Chair Lee Shaker. “This program is a wonderful opportunity for students and an exhilarating step towards unknown but fertile future research horizons.”

“These grants reinforce a number of Penn’s most cherished values,” said Provost Daniels. “They support graduate students in significant summer research, and they promote an integration of knowledge across disciplines. Both are vital to the future of academic scholarship. It is our further hope that these fellowships will contribute to an enhanced sense of collaboration and cooperation among Penn’s many scholars and schools.”

Interdisciplinary study, research, and work provide valuable contributions 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 to develop the award program and define the application process, criteria for selection, and other related details. “We [GAPSA] continue to be thrilled with the Provost’s commitment to nourishing the academic environment at Penn and are pleased to work with him in this endeavor,” said Mr. Shaker. 

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/funding/fellowships. The deadline for completed applications is Monday, April 16, 2007. All applicants will receive final notification of the status of their application by May 14, 2007.

Almanac - March 20, 2007, Volume 53, No. 26