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$990,000 Sloan Foundation Grant for Next-Generation Sloan Network

November 2, 2010, Volume 57, No. 10


The Work and Family Researchers Network, a social and virtual connector for interdisciplinary work-family researchers based at the University of Pennsylvania, has been awarded a $990,000 grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The new Network builds on the well-established Sloan Work and Family Research Network that has operated at Boston College since 1997.  Sloan Foundation support will enable the current Network to transition from a Foundation-funded project to a sustainable organization enhancing future work-family scholarship.

Dr. Jerry A. Jacobs, a sociology professor and leading work-family scholar, will be the principal investigator and executive officer of the new Network.  Judith Casey, the principal investigator and director of the Sloan Work and Family Research Network at Boston College, will continue in her role as director.

“The challenges of combining work and family confront a large and growing segment of American society and labor force,” Dr. Jacobs said.  “This grant provides an exciting opportunity to bring together scholars and researchers from diverse disciplines, to communicate more effectively, to share ideas and to advance the ability of America’s institutions to address the needs of our nation’s families.”

By relocating to Penn, the new Network will be able to draw upon the skills and resources of Penn’s Population Studies Center, the Wharton School and more than 20 interdisciplinary work-family scholars located in eight of the University’s schools.

The Work and Family Researchers Network will be comprised of a virtual online community, a membership organization, biennial conferences and two new cohorts of the successful Early Career Scholars Program.

An innovative open-access web platform will be built with similar benefits to the current Network but at significantly lower costs.  This is a natural evolution of the Network’s existing model of staff-produced content to a decentralized, user-based model of community resource generation and dissemination.

Capitalizing on the latest technological advancements, the new website will include an open-access repository of academic work-family literature including journal articles, reports and working papers, a ‘news tagging’ system for updates in the field, a Who’s Who database and a document-download center archiving much of the current Network content.

The membership network will have many of the characteristics of a professional society, but members will be the driving force behind populating the site with content as well as contributing dues to ensure sustainability.  More than 150 scholars have already signed on as either Founding (senior scholars) or Sponsoring (junior scholars) members.

The synergy between the integrated open-access and membership components of the Work and Family Researchers Network will offer a new organizational model for 21st-century work-family research and scholarship.


Almanac - November 2, 2010, Volume 57, No. 10