Rutgers Global Grants 2021

Rutgers Global is pleased to announce the 2021 Rutgers Global Grants. These modest seed grants are offered yearly to all Rutgers faculty, including tenured, tenure-track, clinical, and NTT faculty. This year, there are four categories of grants: International Collaborative Research Grants, Global Health Seed Grants, Global Environmental Change Grants, and Virtual Exchange Course Development Grants.

International Collaborative Research Grants
Deadline: Friday, March 19, 2021

The International Collaborative Research Grants support international research, projects, and programs initiated by faculty with scholars around the world. The aim is to promote collaborative and inter-institutional research and scholarship with existing or new international partners. Approximately ten proposals will be awarded up to $8,000 each.

Proposal Information (PDF)
Checklist & Cover Page (Word)
Guidelines for Preparing Budgets (PDF)
Budget Worksheet (Excel)

Global Health Seed Grants
Deadline: Friday, March 19,2021

Administered by the Rutgers Global Health Institute, the Global Health Seed Grants are awarded to faculty conducting collaborative, interdisciplinary activities that address health inequities in New Jersey and around the world. With these grants, the institute aims to help faculty pursue new ideas and seed expanded research and funding. Five projects will be awarded up to $10,000 each in either of the following two categories: 1) Education, Training, and Capacity Building or 2) Research. These projects must involved partnerhips that directly impact the community experiencing inequity. Awarded projects can take place over a one- or two-year time period.

Instructions (PDF)
Application (PDF)

Global Environmental Change Grants
Deadline: Friday, March 19, 2021

Offered in partnership between Rutgers Global, the Rutgers Institute of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences (EOAS), and the Rutgers Climate Institute (RCI), the Global Environmental Change Grants aim to leverage and enhance Rutgers’ global presence and cross-disciplinary expertise to advance the understanding and/or governance of global environmental change. These projects can include collaborative, interdisciplinary research, institutional development, and/or other capacity-building projects. Approximately seven proposals will be awarded up to $15,000 each. Funds will be available for a one- or two-year time period, as requested by the applicant(s) in the proposal.

Proposal Information (PDF)
Checklist & Cover Page (Word)
Guidelines for Preparing Budgets (PDF)
Budget Worksheet (Excel)

Virtual Exchange Course Development Grants (*NEW*)
Deadline: Friday, March 19, 2021

A signature initiative of Global Collaborative Education Lab (GCEL), the Virtual Exchange Course Development Grants support faculty interested in developing undergraduate courses with an international partner that incorporate virtual exchange or collaborative online international learning (COIL) to connect students to work on collaborative projects. These courses include project and problem-based assignments and activities that provide undergraduate students with a variety of global engagement learning opportunities that do not require international travel. In addition to funding, faculty will also receive support in course design and in identifying potential international partners. Approximately ten proposals will be awarded $2,500 each.

Proposal Information (PDF)
Checklist & Cover Page (Word)

All faculty (tenured, tenure-track, clinical, or NTT faculty) with Rutgers appointments—and who do not have current Rutgers Global Grants—are eligible to apply. (NTT faculty will need to provide a letter from their Dean, Chair, or Director stating support for the proposal, and that it is expected that the applicant is in a position which will be renewed for the duration of the grant period).

Questions may be directed to Dr. Rick H. Lee, Director of Global Programs, Rutgers Global, at or 848-932-3093.

Download the full list of 2021 Rutgers Global Grants.

2020 Grant Recipients & Project Descriptions

International Collaborative Research Grants +

Dr. Arash Azadegan, Program in Supply Chain Management, Rutgers Business School–Newark and New Brunswick, Rutgers University–Newark and Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Humanitarian Relief in Refugee Camps: A Focus on Supply Chains Collaborations
What draws NGOs to collaborate in managing refugee camps? Meeting the needs of refugees includes taking into account complex contexts in a cross-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary settings approach that interfaces with moral, political, and ideological paradigms. These factors highlight the significance of collaboration and coordination in the challenge of managing refugee camps. In this research, we focus on differentiating the effectiveness of cooperation between the “dry” and “wet” (i.e., monsoon) seasons in how the Rohingya refugee camps in Southern Bangladesh operations. Moreover, we try to explain how the coordination of larger sized organization is differentiated from smaller sized ones. Through in-depth interviews of NGO managers and government representatives, we will gain further insight into inter-organizational collaborative efforts. The results of the study are aimed at top operations and supply chain management journals. 

Dr. Valerio Baćak, School of Criminal Justice, Rutgers University–Newark
Is there a Cycle of Sexual Violence in Adolescence?
It is widely documented that violent victimization is harmful for a range of outcomes, such as physical and mental health. But victimization also has other, less obvious, consequences: studies have linked the experience of victimization to an increased risk of engaging in violent behavior by victims themselves. This thesis is known as the “cycle of violence.” We know significantly less, however, about this cycle with respect to sexual violence among adolescents in Southeastern Europe. In this region, norms surrounding violence, gender, and sexuality are different from norms in North America and Western Europe where most of this research has been performed. The goal of the project is to start answering the question—Is there a cycle of sexual violence in adolescence?—by collaborating with scholars at the University of Zagreb, and using data from one of the first surveys in the region to assess sexual behavior in a longitudinal perspective.

Dr. Nada Boustany, Department of Biomedical Engineering, School of Engineering, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Combining FRET Microscopy with Optical Tweezers for the Study of Mechanobiology
Changes in cellular morphology and function in response to mechanical forces play an important role in tissue growth and repair, and affect several conditions including tumor development or tissue repair after injury. Understanding these mechanisms can shed light on novel pathways that could be exploited to promote disease prevention or tissue regeneration. The objective of this research project, which lies at the interface of optics, biophysics, and biology, is to leverage the advanced optical engineering and physics program at Institut d’Optique (Palaiseau, France) to develop an instrument that combines optical tweezers (N. Westbrook) with FRET microscopy of molecular tension probes (N. Boustany at Rutgers) to investigate the signaling pathways underlying mechanotransduction.

Dr. Laura Cuesta, School of Social Work, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
A Comparative Analysis of Child Support Systems of Colombia, Peru, and Uruguay
Child support from a nonresident father is a critical source of income for single-mother families, yet the majority of these families do not receive this monetary transfer, especially in less affluent nations. These two concepts beg the questions: How do child support systems operate in less affluent countries? How do these systems respond to changes in parents’ circumstances? An increasing proportion of children worldwide are raised by a single mother, and these families often experience poverty and material hardship. While we have begun to understand key processes behind this phenomenon, most of the prior research focuses on the U.S., with relatively little work on developing countries that experience high rates of union dissolution among parents of minor children. To answer these questions, we interview lawyers, child support agency staff, judges, and representatives of parents’ organizations in Colombia, Peru, and Uruguay. Findings will inform family policy and practice in the Americas.  

Dr. Karishma Desai, Graduate School of Education, Rutgers University–New Brunswick; and Dr. Sarada Balagopalan, Department of Childhood Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–Camden
Skills for Youth in Neoliberal India: Aspirations, Anxieties, and Postcolonial Capitalism
How do youth across India experience and navigate skilling programs set up to regulate their transitions to work? Lauded as its “demographic dividend,” India’s youth have been constructed as a source of optimism and moral anxiety for the country’s future. To channel this youth potential, the government launched an unprecedented national skill development initiative in 2015 which has consequently shaped young people’s imaginings of, and for, the future. Yet, these efforts promise new, unattainable life pathways in an increasingly unstable and precarious economy. This multi-sited project brings together scholars from Rutgers University (Graduate School of Education and the Department of Childhood Studies) and Indian Institute of Technology-Gandhinagar (IIT-G) currently researching this vast infrastructure of skills training established to craft new worker subjectivities among India’s youth in an effort to attend to the contested trajectories of aspirations and anxieties generated in the context of postcolonial capitalism.

Dr. Maria Dominguez Bello, Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick; and Dr. Jorge Marcone, Department of Spanish and Portuguese and Program in Comparative Literature, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Global Microbiome Network (GloMiNe)–Peru
What sustains the high gut microbiota diversity? Peru is a culturally, agriculturally biodiverse country, and we plan to initiate there the Global Microbiome Network (GloMiNe) to educate on the value of biodiversity of natural foods, and biodiversity of the human microbiome in peoples living traditional lifestyles. The courses will train students and faculty on standardized protocols to collect and preserve microbiome specimens, and promote collaborative and inter-institutional research and scholarship in relation to the human microbiome. The proposed activity will broaden Rutgers’ overall academic collaborations with Peru’s Academia, and will offer opportunities for scholarly collaborations. It will also initiate formation of the GloMiNe network, eventually adding countries with peoples living traditional lifestyles.

Dr. Donna E. Fennell, Department of Environmental Sciences, School of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Identifying a Dioxin Dehalogenase in Passaic River Microbial Enrichments
How do bacteria living in the sediments at the bottom of the highly contaminated Passaic River in New Jersey detoxify deadly dioxin? The lower eight miles of the Passaic River has a long history of industrial contamination. An important chemical pollutant found in the river is dioxin, one of the most harmful compounds known to humankind.  We cultured bacteria from the Passaic River that transform dioxin into less toxic compounds. Research during this project will identify the genetic elements (genes) that give these specialized bacteria the ability to convert dioxin into less harmful forms of the chemical.  Identifying the genes will allow us to develop ways to monitor the dioxin conversion process and better understand whether dioxin removal by the bacteria could be enhanced. In the future the bacteria could be used to clean up dioxin contamination from the Passaic River and other contaminated areas.

Dr. Weihong “Grace” Guo, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, School of Engineering, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Digital Twin of Metal Additive Manufacturing for High-Quality Components
How to ensure quality in metal additive manufacturing (AM) with digital twins? Metal AM offers tremendous freedom to create complex parts without the design constraints of traditional manufacturing. However, the widespread adoption of AM for producing functional parts is hampered by product reliability and traceability, because the quality of AM parts is not easily predictable or trustworthy. The process–quality relationship must be learned for each new material, machine, geometry, etc., and this is usually done in experimental trial-and-error, neither efficient nor cost-effective. The goal of this collaborative research project is to advance the understanding of the Digital Twin mechanism underpinning the “AM process–digital signature–part quality” causal relationship. The specific research objectives are to (1) build a digital twin of AM by integrating process history with in-process monitoring and data analytics, and (2) leverage deep reinforcement learning coupled with process physics to establish the process–quality causal relationship.

Dr. Nicole Houser, Rutgers Writing Program, Department of English, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Neurodiversity and English Language Learners: Creating a Pedagogy of Inclusion for the Global Classroom
What are the best practices for teaching neurodivergent multilingual learners of English, and how can English language programs cultivate an awareness of neurodiversity through sustained faculty development? The Rutgers English Language Institute (RELI) and the Language School at San Miguel de Allende, ENES León, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) will collaborate to create curriculum and faculty development materials that take neurodiversity into account for learners of English as an additional language. Awareness of best practices in this field is particularly important for contexts without an established system of diagnosis and accommodation. Faculty will collaborate virtually to create guidelines for both contexts, and RELI will host UNAM visiting scholars for a weeklong workshop on inclusive teaching for neurodivergent students featuring experts from Rutgers University. Participants will develop inclusive classroom materials, a digital storytelling project connecting students from both institutions, faculty development guides, and scholarly articles sharing the results of this collaboration.

Dr. Allan Punzalan Isaac, Department of American Studies and Department of English, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Queer Filipino Mobilities and Urban Migrations
This interdisciplinary project—in conversation with urban studies, migration, Asian diasporic, gender, race and sexuality, and Filipinx studies—considers the effects of sexuality on how migrant Filipinos inhabit, navigate, and thrive in the urban spaces of Toronto, Manila, and metro-New York through informal organizing. More broadly, it investigates how discourses around race, gender, sexuality, and migrancy circulate through the transnational social networks and political exchanges that LGBTQ+ Filipinos participate in and embody. Through faculty workshops and site-specific archival research, faculty members at Rutgers University, University of Toronto, and Ateneo De Manila University will collectively examine how the movements and migrations of sexual minority Filipino migrants in key urban centers as political sites of transit and exchange expand the meaning of the Global City beyond money flows.

Dr. Radha Jagannathan, Program in Urban Planning and Policy Development, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Jersey Roots, Global Reach: Rutgers as a Center for an International Organization
This project will explore the possibility of establishing a North American Center for PASCAL International Observatory at Rutgers University. Founded in 2002, PASCAL focuses on lifelong learning and is a global alliance of decision-makers, academic entrepreneurs, researchers, policy analysts, and practitioners drawn from governmental and non-governmental organizations, higher education, and the private sector. The project will feature two components: (1) A lecture series by PASCAL associates worldwide on topics that are of interest to Rutgers student-body, and (2) A research collaboration on social capital investments between interdisciplinary teams of faculty from Rutgers and PASCAL associates from the University of Catania. Successful implementation of both initiatives will provide important feedback on the feasibility of establishing a Rutgers Center for PASCAL, which is expected to promote and facilitate research and teaching collaborations for Rutgers faculty internationally, and to provide higher levels of research exposure for Rutgers as well as for PASCAL associates. 

Dr. Mubbasir Kapadia, Department of Computer Science, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Cognitive Modeling of Human Wayfinding in Built Environments
This proposal will develop a sustainable, multi-disciplinary research and academic partnership between Rutgers and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology to model the relation between human wayfinding and the built environment. The main goal is to develop a cognitively grounded computational framework of human wayfinding, which models the uncertainty, and fusion of multiple conflicting information sources. The proposed research will expand the scientific understanding of how humans navigate in complex environments and enhance practices for architects, planners, and civil engineers. We will ensure the sustainability of the partnership beyond the current grant, and develop a multi-disciplinary curriculum at both institutions, while training students at both sites. The team will organize workshops to kick-start a community in Human-Building Interaction, which includes world experts in Computer Science, Architecture, and Cognitive Science. The proposed activities can potentially have a long-term impact at both universities.

Dr. Debra L. Laskin, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
This global research grant between researchers at Rutgers and Sapienza University of Rome focuses on the role of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC)s in pulmonary fibrosis. MSCs are adult stem cells recently identified in the lung. Evidence suggests that MSCs can contribute to chronic lung pathologies; this occurs when MSCs differentiate into collagen producing myofibroblasts. Factors that regulate MSC differentiation and their contribution to fibrosis are unknown and this represents the focus of our collaborative research efforts. Research teams from Rutgers and Sapienza, consisting of the PI’s and two trainees from each University will participate in cross training followed by coordinated research activities. The research will culminate in a workshop to discuss results, manuscripts, and a joint grant application. This global collaboration takes advantage of unique expertise at the two universities; results will provide insights into the development of pulmonary fibrosis, and potentially identification of novel anti-fibrotic therapeutics.

Dr. Mark McGovern, Department of Health Behavior, Society, and Policy, School of Public Health, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
Economic Evaluation of a Malaria Intervention in Partnership with the University of Bamako (Mali)
Which malaria interventions provide the best value for money? Malaria is a major contributor to premature mortality and morbidity, and has an impact that is concentrated on women and children living in disadvantaged households in low income countries. Therefore, tackling the effects of malaria are crucial for achieving social justice and addressing global health disparities. This project will build a multidisciplinary collaboration between Rutgers and the University of Bamako in Mali, one of countries most affected by malaria. Through a partnership focused on economic evaluation of an intervention aimed at children (Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention), we aim to build capacity in Mali for undertaking economic analysis of public health programs. This is crucial for identifying interventions that achieve the greatest possible impact on population health for a given budget, and building an evidence base for decision-making on interventions to improve maternal and child health.

Dr. Tobias Schulze-Cleven, Program in Labor Studies and Employment Relations and Center for Global Work and Employment, School of Management and Labor Relations, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Crossing Disciplines and Boundaries: Moving from a “Future of Work” to a “Future of Workers”
Rapid technological change and deepened global economic integration have put the “future of work” (FoW) on the political agenda. This project seeks to redirect the predominant FoW discourse so that it takes into full account the agency that actors and advocates have in defining our collective future. Our objective is in part to address crucial blind spots in the overly narrow contemporary debate, which remains characterized by both technological and market determinism. To do this, we examine both how structural inequalities in contemporary societies shape the rollout of technology and how innovations in economic governance could better channel market forces to support a future in the interest of workers. With this agenda in mind, this project explicitly engages a FoW discourse that is intentionally global and inter-disciplinary in perspective. Affiliates of the Center for Global Work and Employment at the School of Management and Labor Relations (SMLR) actively collaborate with a student-led conference for PhD students forming the core of project activities.

Dr. Mi Shih, Program in Urban Planning and Policy Development, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Urban Housing Experiments: Case Study Research and Teaching
This project asks how solutions to urban housing challenges may be broadened and diversified if both informal practices and formal mechanisms are treated as possible sources of inspiration. Housing challenges include both housing accessibility and affordability. The project takes a case-study approach to examine how three urban experiments differently tackle housing challenges in the greater Taipei Metropolitan Region (TMR) in Taiwan. These three experiments are informal squatting, state-led land development, and regulatory measures. Collaborating with two institutional partners in Taiwan—National Cheng Kung University and National Chengchi University—the project will focus on three case studies: Treasure Hill settlement, Central North development, and density bonusing regulation. Each case study will examine the sociopolitical contexts through which specific housing practices arise and both the advantages and drawbacks associated with each housing experiment.

Dr. David Shreiber, Department of Biomedical Engineering, School of Engineering, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
This project’s goal is to understand how mutations in collagen associated with vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (vEDS) affects tissue function. vEDS is a life-threatening connective tissue disorder that includes a risk of increased blood vessel and organ fragility. Professor Fei Xu from Jiangnan University in China is developing collagen-like peptides (CLPs) that form hydrogels. These peptides are made in bacteria, and the peptide sequence can be changed with relative ease to include common mutations from vEDS. We plan to use principles of tissue engineering to culture smooth muscle cells in these hydrogels and allow the cells to reorganize the gel into a tissue that mimics blood vessels. We will evaluate how different mutations affect the strength and composition of the engineered vessels.

Dr. Yuliya Strizhakova, Program in Marketing, School of Business–Camden, Rutgers University–Camden
Eco-Entrepreneurship in South Africa
Globalization has made environmental sustainability a preeminent global issue; however, individual engagement with environmental sustainability practices have yet to be fully examined, particularly in emerging markets where entrepreneurs are increasingly playing a significant role in economic development. With a focus on entrepreneurs in South Africa, our primary goal is to explore the interplay of global-local individual characteristics on the entrepreneur’s choices related to sustainability initiatives. Specifically, we are interested in entrepreneurs’ global-local identity and mindsets, with attention to contrasting entrepreneurs who are more versus less engaged with environmental sustainability. We will take a grounded theory approach and focus on depth interviews with South African entrepreneurs and relevant representatives of incubators who are engaged (not engaged) with environmental sustainability. 

Dr. Liping Zhao, Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology and Center for Nutrition, Microbiome, and Health, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Gut Microbiota as the Therapeutic Target for Traditional Chinese Medicine
This project aims to explore traditional Chinese medicine, with thousands of years of history, as the key to a new concept of microbiome-targeted interventions. Traditional Chinese medicine has been used as a complementary and alternative medicine and there is emerging evidence for a role of gut bacteria in mediating its therapeutic effects. This new partnership will leverage the expertise in microbiology and nutrition at the Center for Nutrition, Microbiome, and Health of Rutgers University and the clinical expertise at the School of Chinese Medicine of Hong Kong Baptist University to elucidate the mechanisms by which traditional Chinese medicine and the gut bacteria interact and determine the clinical significance of harnessing this interaction to improve human health. We see such synergy between basic and clinical research pivotal to integrate gut microbiome and traditional Chinese medicine into mainstream clinical applications.

Global Health Seed Grants +

(Offered in partnership with Rutgers Global Health Institute)

Research Grants

Dr. Ann D. Bagchi, Division of Nursing Science, School of Nursing, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
Development of a Mobile Health App to Improve the Safe Use, Storage, and Disposal of Opioid Medications
Collaborative Partners: Department of Rehabilitation and Movement Sciences, School of Health Professions; North Jersey Community Research Initiative 

Between 1999 and 2017, the United States saw nearly five times as many drug overdose deaths involving prescription opioid medications. A key driver of the epidemic is the misuse of legitimately prescribed opioid medications, such as more frequent dosing than prescribed and sharing prescribed medications with others. Education provided to patients via mobile technology may help to increase their knowledge of appropriate use of opioid medications; however, knowledge does not always translate into behavior modification. This study will use input from patients and providers to develop and test three versions of a mobile health app designed to improve appropriate opioid use. A goal of the study is to understand how patient-facing technology can be deployed to increase both knowledge and behaviors consistent with safe opioid use, storage, and disposal. Additionally, because the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically increased reliance on telehealth technologies, this study will provide evidence on how to ensure that telehealth solutions can be made more accessible and user-friendly for all consumers, beyond the opioid epidemic.

Dr. Edward J. Alessi, School of Social Work, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
The Development of an HIV Prevention Group Intervention for MSM Migrants in South Africa
Collaborative Partners: Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, School of Public Health; McGill University School of Social Work; People Against Suffering, Suppression, Oppression, and Poverty

HIV prevalence among South African men who have sex with men (MSM) is among the highest in the world. Yet, the country’s robust HIV/AIDS response over the years has tended to overlook MSM migrants, which is a significant population due to the country’s constitutional guarantees of nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The resulting disparities MSM migrants face present a serious challenge to reducing new HIV infections in South Africa and globally. The COVID-19 pandemic may magnify this risk because existing structural and psychosocial drivers of HIV—such as housing insecurity, lack of health care access, and perceived homophobia within their diaspora communities—will likely intersect with pandemic-related stressors. These increasingly complicated dynamics have the potential to create unprecedented health inequities for MSM migrants in South Africa. This pilot study will develop a group intervention and test its potential to increase knowledge about HIV prevention, increase self-efficacy in managing HIV risk, and reduce HIV-related stigma among MSM migrants in South Africa. This will lay the empirical foundation for testing the intervention on a larger scale, which could involve multiple languages, peer facilitators, and a control group.

Dr. KiBum Lee, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Development of an Ultrasensitive COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Detection Method Using Upconversion Nanoparticle-based Biosensing
Collaborative Partner: Sogang University

Testing remains a linchpin in worldwide efforts to control and understand the COVID-19 pandemic. Fast, selective, and highly sensitive tests for SARS-CoV-2 infection are critical for rapid and effective disease management as well as for monitoring the disease’s global spread. Biosensor technology, which measures biological or chemical reactions by generating signals proportional to the concentration of a substance in the reaction, offers promise for a new testing method that would provide clinicians and researchers with even more resources to battle COVID-19. This project aims to develop a biosensor that is luminescent resonance energy transfer-based and uses upconversion nanoparticle constructs to detect SARS-CoV-2 in blood samples. The outcome will feature the design and synthesis of a highly uniform technique for measuring the fluorescence intensity of graphene oxide emissions, a biochemical reaction that occurs when the coronavirus RNA’s aptamer changes structurally, thereby indicating the presence of SARS-CoV-2.

Education, Training, and Capacity Building Grants

Dr. Diane Hill, Office of University-Community Partnerships, Rutgers University–Newark
Transdisciplinary Intergenerational Community Engagement Model for Senior Health Promotion in Greater Newark
Collaborative Partners: Advocates for Healthy Living Initiative, School of Public Affairs and Administration; Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research; Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences; Health Equity and Multicultural Initiatives, American Heart Association; City of Newark Department of Recreation, Cultural Affairs, and Senior Services; City of East Orange Division of Senior Services; Hillside Senior Services; Newark/North Jersey Committee of Black Churchmen; Screen NJ; University Hospital; West Ward Community Coalition

Urban health inequity is rampant throughout America, creating detrimental lags in health literacy and appropriate health care utilization within urban communities of color. Complicating matters, the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to disrupt ways of connecting with communities well into the foreseeable future. In Newark, New Jersey, the state’s most populous city, older residents are at great risk for increasing declines in health and wellness due to the conflation of these factors. This intervention seeks to support the city’s senior population by launching a health promotion program, titled Living Your Best Life: Virtually. The initiative is delivered online as a five-week series of 15 video-based wellness workshops tailored for the city’s senior population, involving trusted members of the community as facilitators. The project also includes the creation of training webinars, designed for the Rutgers research community, on how to use the Transdisciplinary Intergenerational Community Engagement Model created by Rutgers University–Newark’s Office of University-Community Partnerships. This model focuses on the value of partnerships between university and community and how to create, strengthen, and nurture them.

Dr. Manuel Jimenez, Department of Pediatrics, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
A Cross-sector Partnership to Promote Equity in School Readiness
Collaborative Partners: Center for Literacy Development, Graduate School of Education; Department of World Languages and Cultures, Faculty of Arts and Sciences–Camden; Greater Brunswick Charter School; Eric B. Chandler Health Center, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Even before children start kindergarten, their “school readiness”—in a sense, their social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development—is a critical indicator of their long-term well-being. This includes their potential to thrive well into adulthood, including college attendance, career trajectory, and saving money for retirement. Young dual- language learners from low-income Latino backgrounds are at elevated risk for poor school readiness. Additional hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will amplify the inequities these children and their families face. Preschool closures, for example, and anticipated future disruptions have created an urgent need for innovative solutions to mitigate harms. Beginning locally in New Brunswick, this interdisciplinary project will pilot test a family-oriented virtual program that promotes literacy and language acquisition in both English and Spanish through the discussion of important health topics, while also evaluating the role of technology throughout. The family literacy program leverages the expertise of educators and pediatric primary care health professionals and the relationships they have with parents and children. This work will lay the foundation to expand and to prepare for an uncertain future.

Global Environmental Change Grants +

(Offered in partnership between Rutgers Global, the Rutgers Institute of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, and the Rutgers Climate Institute)

Dr. Kristina Keating, Department of Earth and Environmental Science, School of Arts and Sciences–Newark, Rutgers University–Newark
Evaluating the Impacts of a Changing Climate on Water Storage and Water Yield in Andean Peru
The Peruvian Andes are home to 71% of the world’s tropical glaciers. As glaciers continue to recede in response to global climate change, downstream water users in this region will become vulnerable to water scarcity. Evaluating and quantifying water storage and sustainable water yield is thus a critical step in helping Peruvian communities make informed water management decisions and to meet future water demands. In this project we will perform hydrogeologic and hydrogeophysical study to understand and quantify water storage and availability in two watersheds, the Ramuschaka watershed and the Marashuaycoco watershed, in Andean Peru. The Ramuschaka and Marashuaycoco watersheds are in the puna grasslands of the Andes, which are an understudied but important non-glacier fed water source within the region.

Dr. Cymie Payne, Dr. Karen O’Neill, Dr. Pamela McElwee, Dr. Rachael Shwom, and Dr. Victoria Ramenzoni, Department of Human Ecology, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Imagining Environmental Governance Futures in the Anthropocene
How can the environmental humanities, critical social sciences, law, and planetary observation creatively collaborate to reimagine effective, just, and legitimate governance for the Anthropocene? While governance models for the uncertainties of our era can include adaptive management, risk scenario planning, multicriteria decision-making, and other approaches, critical questions still exist regarding their effectiveness, implementation, public legitimacy, and acceptability to policy makers. The Sustainability and Governance in the Anthropocene (SAGA) initiative, based in the Department of Human Ecology, aims to improve governance to planetary stewardship through the key themes: institutional architecture, decision-making under uncertainty, and visioning sustainable futures. The initiative will include a public conference, Values and Visions: Governance for Sustainable Futures and a workshop, Research Needs in Global Environmental Governance and Models for Global Environmental Governance Centers, with leaders from other governance centers in Europe, Latin America, and Asia. Through these activities SAGA will deepen and extend Rutgers’ engagement on global environmental governance.

Dr. Ying Fan Reinfelder and Mr. Caio Mattos, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Building Collaboration with Brazilian Scientists to Understand Amazon Forest Change 
How will the Amazon forest respond to a warmer climate and more frequent droughts? Can forests adapt to changing environments? Can water in the deep soil sustain plants during droughts? We will answer these questions through a collaboration with Brazilian scientists, initiated by Rutgers graduate student and Brazilian native Caio Mattos. In the Amazon rainforest, we will measure how much water is stored in the deep soils and how tree roots “find” the deep water, how deep soil water storage change from hilltops to valley floors, and how the properties of the forest reflect such changes. Instead of looking at trees as separate entities, we will examine them in the context of their physical environment to understand the role played by water availability in shaping forest response to drought. Results will shed new lights on how Amazon forests obtain their water, and how they may respond to future climatic change.

Dr. Åsa Rennermalm, Department of Geography, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick; Dr. Kyle Mattingly, Institute of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick; and Dr. Mark Miller, Department of Environmental Sciences, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Towards Understanding Greenland Ice Sheet Melting by Mapping Boundary Layer Properties with Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
Greenland ice sheet mass loss is one of the leading causes of the current global sea-level rise. Since 2000, the majority of the ice sheet mass loss has been caused by an increase in surface melt, controlled by a warming atmosphere. However, exactly how warm air is able to penetrate the cold air layer over the ice sheet and generate surface snow and ice melt is unresolved. Detailed measurements of the atmosphere over Greenland are extremely rare, and none occurs at the tundra-ice sheet interface. In this project, unmanned aerial vehicles (i.e. drones) will be deployed at the tundra-ice sheet interface in Southwest Greenland. Here, the project team will measure critical parameters such as the temperature, humidity, and wind speed of the near-surface atmosphere. These data will be used to assess the feasibility of using drones to collect data that can expose the processes that underlie atmosphere-ice sheet interactions.

Dr. Amy Savage, Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–Camden
Assessing the Resilience of Cuban Ecological Communities to Multiple Simultaneous Drivers of Anthropogenic Change 
A key goal of Ecology is to make accurate predictions about how populations, communities, and ecosystems will change over time. This goal is both more important and more difficult in the face of rapid, human-driven environmental change. Specific environmental changes caused by humans are both local and global in scale and often occur simultaneously, yet most studies investigate their effects in isolation. This disparity between the way that human-driven changes occur and the way that they are studied hampers our ability to make reliable predictions about how populations, communities, and ecosystems are likely to change over time. In this study, we will assess the simultaneous effects of disturbance from hurricanes and species invasions on the resilience of ant-honeydew producing insect networks. It will advance fundamental and applied ecological knowledge and lead to more accurate predictions about how diversity in the tropics will respond to local and global environmental change.

Dr. Kimberlee Thamatrakoln, Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Disentangling the Biogeochemical Consequence of Algal Host-virus Interactions on Carbon Sequestration in the Gulf of Naples, Italy
Carbon cycling is arguably the most impactful process on our planet, driving ecosystem dynamics and the Earth’s climate. In the ocean, phytoplankton play a critical role in removing atmospheric carbon dioxide through sequestration. As these organisms die, their associated cellular material can be remineralized and recycled in the surface ocean or exported through sinking and lost to depth. This project will explore how viruses impact carbon cycling through infection and mortality of diatoms, a group of phytoplankton responsible for ~20% of oxygen on the planet. In the Gulf of Naples, the long-term ecological research station, MareChiara, routinely experiences Spring diatom blooms, providing an opportunity to explore the temporal dynamics of host-virus interactions through bloom progression. Using chemical, biological, and omic-based measurements, we will diagnose viral infection and quantify the ecological processes that facilitate remineralization and sinking to assess the biogeochemical consequence of infection on the fate of carbon in the ocean.

Dr. Erin Vogel, Department of Anthropology, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Building On-the-Ground Conservation Infrastructure for Long-Term Monitoring of Anthropogenic Air Pollution and Its Impact on Forest Dynamics and Wild Bornean Orangutans
How do human induced fires in the peatland forests affect wild orangutan health and the ecology of the habitats they inhabit? Peatland fires in Indonesia have increased in magnitude over the past decade, resulting in increases in human population exposure to hazardous levels of smoke emissions. Adverse health effects, including heightened mortality rates in humans, have increased during peak exposure periods on an international scale. However, few attempts have been made to assess the consequences of this exposure on wildlife populations, despite the high density of endangered and endemic species in this mega-diverse country. We will monitor carbon emissions and document the impacts of smoke on the health of wild Bornean orangutans and the environment in which they live. Combining air quality monitoring with on-going assessment of forest dynamics and orangutan health, we will quantify the impact of human-induced smoke and climatic variation on local plant and wildlife populations.

Study Abroad Grants +

Curriculum Integration Grants

Dr. Jorge Contesse, Center for Transnational Law, Rutgers Law School, Rutgers University–Newark
Law School Study Abroad Curriculum Integration: Center for Transnational Law
Rutgers Law School is committed to expanding its nationwide innovative curriculum globally. Legal practice requires that students be exposed to a number of issues with international and transnational implications, from intellectual property to maritime law, to international taxation to human rights law. Exposure to a variety of legal cultures can give Rutgers law students a deeper and more complex understanding of the law. This proposal aims at allowing the newly established Center for Transnational Law to become Rutgers Law School’s institutional platform to give our students learning opportunities that expand their legal education. The proposal builds on existing projects and seeks to establish new ones with the goal of expanding the Center’s (and the law school’s) reach and make Rutgers a global law school—both by allowing students to travel (contingent on travel restrictions) and by funding international and comparative scholars to spend time at Rutgers Law.

Dr. Christina Ho, Rutgers Law School, Rutgers University–Newark
Law School Study Abroad Curriculum Integration: Global Crossroads Week
Rutgers Law School faculty work with a number of partners in other countries. For instance, we offer at least four courses (Cuba, Dominican Republic, South Africa, and Guatemala) with travel components where faculty bring groups of students to a foreign country over Spring or Winter Break for 1-week learning experiences, often embedded in a semester-long course. We propose to institute a Global Crossroads Week in spring where we reciprocate by inviting our partners in those host countries to Rutgers for one-week not only to deepen the engagement of students in our international immersive courses by arranging for repeated interactions with their international counterparts, but also to serve as a focal point for each of our other faculty to consider whether their Spring course has a global or comparative component that could be highlighted that week, and allow for the integration of our foreign partners as one-time visitors in their classrooms.

Dr. Sunita Kramer, Office of the Provost, Rutgers University–New Brunswick; and Ms. Lisa Hetfield, Institute for Women’s Leadership, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
i.d.e.a and Institute for Women’s Leadership Pilot
The i.d.e.a. and Institute for Women's Leadership Pilot will integrate research, real world problem solving, and global experiences into the undergraduate curriculum. i.d.e.a. is designed to bring undergraduates into direct contact with the widest possible range of expertise and advanced research at the university. Students from the incoming class at Rutgers–New Brunswick will be invited to participate based on their interests and previous involvement with innovative activities in high school. A sequence of opportunities for participants in the i.d.e.a. interdisciplinary experience for New Brunswick students will include the Anita Ashok Datar Design Lab for Women’s Global Health, the i.d.e.a. IWL Byrne Seminar, and the Anita Ashok Datar Lecture on Women’s Global Health. This pilot program also seeks to bring in international partners from the University of Montpellier in France and Lingnan University in Hong Kong.

Dr. Matthew Matsaganis, Department of Communication, School of Communication and Information, Rutgers University–New Brunswick ; and Dr. Riva Touger-Decker, Department of Clinical and Preventative Nutritional Sciences, School of Health Professions, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
International Health Communication Summer Seminar: Advancing Health Communication Education in Greece and the U.S. through Intra-Rutgers and International Partnerships
The core objectives of this joint initiative between the School of Communication and Information and the School of Health Professions are to advance health communication and health professions research, education, and practice in the U.S. and internationally. The project’s co-PIs will engage graduate and advanced undergraduate students, faculty, and administrators in the development of the inaugural International Health Communication Summer Seminar (IHCSS). Through IHCSS, students will be introduced to key and cutting-edge dimensions of health communication, through the lenses of multiple health professions and from an international/intercultural perspective. Activities planned as part of the first IHCSS, including focus groups, will guide the future development of the program.

International Service Learning Innovation Grants

Dr. Jorge Contesse, Center for Transnational Law, Rutgers Law School, Rutgers University–Newark
Center for Transnational Law – Summer Internships
Law is a global phenomenon.  Whether it is business transactions, family relations, or human rights issues, lawyers are increasingly exposed to foreign and international legal cultures. The Center for Transnational Law at Rutgers Law School provides students with opportunities to work as summer interns with leading human rights non-governmental organizations, in connection to specialized courses on international law, human rights, and comparative law offered at the Law School. Students will travel to Bogotá, Santiago and Washington, DC, to use their skills to work on human rights petitions, conduct legal research, and take part in social and cultural activities related to their work as legal interns. They will become part of teams of lawyers who are conducting cutting-edge work in countries with different legal traditions, thus providing a unique opportunity to integrate students’ legal education with actual work on global issues affecting populations in other places around the world.

Ms. Madinah Elamin, Global Village Program, Douglass Residential College, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Access to Africa
Research asserts that underrepresented minority (URM) students participate in service learning and study abroad at significantly lower rates than their white peers. Furthermore, even when URM students do travel, they often express feelings of alienation due to the low enrollment of other students of color and a stronger connection to the communities being served than to their peers. Access to Africa will provide a mechanism for URM students to travel and serve together as learners abroad in the majority. This funding will support a short-term international service-learning trip for underrepresented minority students in the Global Village program. More specifically, the funding will support a short-term service-learning trip to a country in the African Diaspora for approximately ten days in January 2022. After the trip, students will lead an event to share their experience with other underrepresented minority students who may be interested in study abroad or international service learning.

Dr. Rebecca Davis and Dr. Laura Johnson, School of Social Work, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Service-Learning on Gender-Based Violence and Global Social Work in Ethiopia
Gender-based violence (GBV) is a significant social, cultural, economic, and political issue in Ethiopia. Recognizing the significant barriers to independence that women and girls face as a result of GBV and other human rights issues, many non-governmental organizations (NGO) have been established within Ethiopia to address these disparities. Building on the program development efforts already initiated by the Rutgers School of Social Work, this proposed project will pilot a service-learning independent study for social work students. The topical focus of this program is GBV and global social work. Students will partner with Studio Samuel, an NGO that provides a range of services for girls in Ethiopia, with a primary focus on girls’ education. This pilot trip will identify a study abroad model for moving forward, building on established partnerships with Ethiopian universities, while exploring new partnerships. The formalized self-sustaining program will be offered in academic year 2021-2022 to 10-12 students.

Dr. Lorraine Minnite, Department of Public Policy and Administration, College of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–Camden
Sustainable Urban Agriculture and Food Systems in Cuba and New Jersey
Opportunities for non-traditional and low-income students to study abroad are often difficult to navigate. Our project involves a cross-campus collaboration that increases access for all Rutgers students to global and service-learning opportunities. Through a partnership between the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences’ (SEBS) Agriculture and Food Systems major, the Urban Ag Lab, and the Rutgers-Camden Urban Studies program we will develop innovative educational programming around sustainable urban agriculture that incorporates a 10-day study trip Cuba, a world leader in the field. The study trip is designed to provide students with academic and service learning opportunities for exploring community-based food systems centered on social and environmental justice. Activities include site visits to urban farm, garden, and locales of cultural significance across Cuba, where students can observe and contribute to the nation's decades long agroecological revolution. Returning home, students will evaluate their experiences and apply lessons learned to improving urban farming and agriculture in New Jersey's distressed cities.

Dr. Ziad Sifri, Department of Surgery, New Jersey Medical School, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences; and Dr. Harsh Sule, Department of Emergency Medicine, New Jersey Medical School, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
Service learning and education for medical students and residents in medical and surgical care in Ghana
While there is a growing interest among medical students and residents in global health, when eager learners engage in inadequately vetted global health activities, they are often ill-prepared, not properly supervised, and worse yet can have a detrimental effect on the host community. This project leverages a long-term existing relationship with Tetteh Quarshie Memorial Hospital in Mampong, Ghana. Learners will receive pre-departure education on a variety of global health topics, disease burden and ethics, while on the ground they will participate in multi-disciplinary healthcare teams and educational initiatives including local personnel and Rutgers NJMS faculty. The project offers medical students and residents opportunities to be involved in a curated, longitudinal, and sustainable project while concurrently presenting an opportunity to improve their cultural awareness and build upon culturally tailored interventions related to the West African community of which there is a significant diaspora in the Newark area.

Dr. Ian Watson and Dr. Paul Sternberger, Department of Arts, Culture, and Media, School of Arts and Sciences–Newark, Rutgers University–Newark
Public Scholarship, Civic Dialogue, Democracy, and the Arts
This project is a 2-week international immersion experience that explores ways creative disciplines can be tools for community engagement and positive social change. Led by local Polish experts with many years of experience as cultural facilitators, academics, and workshop leaders, the program is based in two locations, at Warsaw University, and at the Sejny and Krasnagruda facilities of the Borderland Foundation. In Warsaw, students will participate in lectures, workshops, and visits to community-based organizations affiliated with the University of Warsaw’s Institute of Polish Culture, learning how arts-oriented strategies are employed in local urban communities as generators of civic engagement and grassroots-based social change. At the Borderland Foundation headquarters in northeast Poland, students will learn about and engage with Borderland’s work in both Poland and abroad in conflict regions around the world, and they will work with local communities and the Foundation’s partners in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Short-Term Faculty Led Program Development Grants

Dr. Salam Al Kuntar, Department of Classics, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Cultural Heritage and Human Displacement in Jordan and Lebanon
The project aims to create an undergraduate summer study abroad program in Jordan with an intellectual service-learning internship in Lebanon in 2022. It also seeks to develop a long-term archaeological field school in Jordan to begin in 2023. Together these three programs will create opportunities for students to explore the rich cultural heritage of the Middle East and learn about the ancient, classical, and Islamic history of the region. Students will consider the productive exchange between diverse ethnic and religious communities, their entangled histories of conflict, and the challenges of migration and displacements historically and in the present. The program in Jordan and Lebanon is new and original. By offering robust cultural and historical anchoring to the region and incorporating service-learning opportunities for students in contemporary challenges such as human rights and cultural preservation, it differs from other MENA-region programs offered by Rutgers that focus mainly on language acquisition.

Dr. Young-mee Yu Cho, Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Rutgers-Ewha Summer Abroad (RESA) Project
The proposed project, Rutgers-Ewha Summer Abroad (RESA), is a summer faculty-led study abroad program (SAP), based in Ewha Womans University in Seoul. This initiative will offer a diverse group of Rutgers students from the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures’ thriving Korean program the opportunity to extend and deepen their language skills and to better understand Korean culture and history through a dynamic curriculum. In addition to course offerings, the program will foster firsthand intercultural engagement through internships, service learning, and on-site visits to museums, institutes, archives, and memorials. Our program’s benefits will extend to the rest of Rutgers campus-wide, when students return with greater receptivity to internationalized perspectives and the ability to understand and meet local challenges within a global framework.

Dr. Ann Freedman and Professor Victoria Chase, Rutgers Law School, Rutgers University–Camden
Restorative Justice and Conflict Transformation in the United States and Northern Ireland
This proposal supports the creation of a travel study course exploring modalities developed to alleviate oppressive forces, harsh penalties, and other negative individual, familial, and community consequences associated with mainstream punitive justice practices. Alternative paradigms, including approaches built on theories of restorative justice, transformative justice, non-violence and conflict transformation promise to ameliorate these harms and offer more creative alternatives to the devastating effects of incarceration, violent conflict, and unjust social arrangements. Punitive hierarchies complicate and limit the impact of these alternative approaches. Reform efforts in the United States, thus far, have gained traction in a small range of contexts. This course offers an exploration of these models and the obstacles each encounters in application and opportunities for students to develop skills relevant to these practices. The course includes a travel study component to Northern Ireland to enable students to explore enduring restorative justice, community healing and conflict transformation practices and theory through immersion in a region deeply affected by sectarian and political conflict.

Dr. Sabiha Hussain, Department of Medicine, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
Educational Programming to Ensure Sustainable Internationalization of Quality Pulmonary and Critical Care
Global health education is especially important in training pulmonary and critical care fellows. The tremendous global burden of respiratory and critical care illness cannot be under emphasized. Disease entities like the current Coronavirus epidemic as well as prior epidemics such as SARS, H1N1, Ebola, the Zika virus point to the impossibility of medical isolationism. Successful global health programs that result in internationalization of care practices in pulmonary and critical care require partnerships and collaborations with international sites that emphasize bidirectional exchange. The aim of this project is to develop a global partnership between the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Medicine and partners in Romania and, in the future, in Ghana and the Dominican Republic in order to provide a better quality of health care through educational initiatives.

Glocal Learning and Language Engagement Innovation Grants

Dr. Robert Scott, Department of Anthropology, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick; and Dr. Carole Allamand, Department of French, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Paléontologie en France
Paléontologie in France is a new 6-credit summer study abroad program designed to introduce students to both French and paleontology, but also to science as a worldwide cooperative activity. Held in beautiful southern France, this 6-week program is open to students with little or no experience in either domain. First, students will travel to Quarante, a village located in the region of Occitany, near the 10-million-year old fossil site of Montredon. In a 3-credit course held at the site and in the lab of the Paleontology Museum of Cruzy, they will learn techniques of excavation, identification, conservation, and cataloging of fossils. The group will then move to the town of Aix-en-Provence where they will be hosted in local families and spend mornings enrolled in a 3-credit intensive French course. Located in the heart of Provence, only 15 miles from France’s oldest city (Marseille), Aix is an ideal gateway to French culture and history, which students will discover through guided excursions in and around town.