University of Oregon faculty members and students have until March 1 to apply for the 2022-23 Consumer Protection Research Grants, which are funded through a 2014 class-action lawsuit.
Teams are encouraged to apply for research grants that look at ways to protect Oregon consumers. The study areas are:
- Legal research that serves to inform and influence case law and legislation relating to consumers.
- Policy research that would promote a fair marketplace for consumers.
- Community impacts that provide insight into consumer needs, harms or inequities at a community level, or that tests community interventions to address tose harms or inequities.
- Consumer response regarding consumer behavior or decision-making at the individual consumer level, or that tests interventions to address those harms at an individual level.
Elizabeth Tippett, UO law professor chairs the committee that awards grants from the Universities Consumer Protection Research Fund. For details, visit the Consumer Protection Research Grant website.
The funding for the grants is a byproduct of the lawsuit Scharfstein v. BP West Coast Product. The court was responsible for redistributing more than $400 million dollars in damage awards due to unauthorized debit card transactions by the gas company. After settlement money was distributed amongst 1.7 million people, $162 million remained unclaimed. The UO was given $3 million of those funds over 10 years to fund research and address issues affecting consumers in Oregon.
Past funded projects have included “Saving Black Portland: Reimaging Urban Redevelopment as a Tool for Black Economic Empowerment,’ A project by Angela Addae, UO law professor. Her research examined the historical and contemporary effects of urban redevelopment on Black businesses in Portland.
Sanjay Srivastava, UO psychology professor, and Bradley Hughes, psychology graduate employee, led “Whose Consumer Complaints are Taken Seriously.” Their research tested if socioeconomic status-based stereotypes shaped the responses Oregonians receive when they talk about their experiences as consumers.