UO researchers and scholars receive interdisciplinary awards

Tasia Smith

Several UO researchers and scholars recently received interdisciplinary awards intended to provide seed funding for a host of promising projects.

Most recently, the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation announced that three research teams received the 2017 Interdisciplinary Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

“These vital awards provide $25,000 in seed funding to conduct preparatory work on projects, paving the way for additional external funding,” said David Conover, vice president for research and innovation, in an announcement.

The awards are supported by the University of Oregon Foundation, and the program prioritizes projects that investigate the interrelationships between human activity and the environment.

“These dynamic scholars are committed to innovative projects that will have human impacts,” said Jim Shephard, chair of the foundation’s board. “The University of Oregon Foundation is proud to support their outstanding work through this award program.

The awards went to teams led by:

  • Michelle Jacob, education studies — The award will establish an Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge Research Partnership at the UO, building on the interdisciplinary research partnerships that already exist within the university and with Northwest tribal nations.
  • Ryan Light, sociology — Light will lead a team of researchers interested in using social media data to quickly and effectively identify public health concerns that are the results of environmental contamination.
  • Marsha Weisiger, history — The award will fund a two-year research and public engagement program on the topic of Oregon’s public lands carried out by the UO Center for Environmental Futures.

The news followed the announcement by the research office that Tasia Smith, and assistant professor in the Department of Counseling Psychology and Human Services, had won an Incubating Interdisciplinary Initiatives award, known as the I3 award. The award of $50,000 will support promising research on the feasibility and acceptability of the Oakridge Buying Club, a community-retailer food access partnership in rural Oregon.

The I3 award program is offered by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation to foster interdisciplinary research groups at the UO to provide pilot funding to promising research projects.