New Grant Opportunities Promote
Interdisciplinary Research and Teaching

A newly funded grant opportunity will promote environmental collaborations for teaching and research across Yale University.
yale university campus
The Leitner Awards for Uncommon Environmental Collaboration will aim to foster new research and teaching in six areas identified by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies’ (F&ES) strategic plan: climate change, urban systems and the environment, environmental communications, environmental data science, environmental justice and environmental health, and interdisciplinary team teaching.
Proposed collaborations must include one principal investigator from F&ES and at least one co-investigator from another unit at Yale University.

Read the funding announcement [PDF].
The new grants were made possible by a generous gift from James Leitner ’75 B.A., a past recipient the Yale Medal for his outstanding service to the Association of Yale Alumni, whose volunteer service to Yale has extended across many disciplines, from engineering to nursing to international studies.

“The big global challenges that we’re facing don’t limit themselves to sectors or silos — they’re unbounded and unconstrained,” said Leitner. “So I think we need approaches to solutions that are also unbounded and unconstrained.”

It is expected that grants of up to $25,000 and $75,000 will be awarded for teaching and research proposals, respectively.
“If we want to find meaningful solutions to our thorniest environmental challenges we’re simply going to have to work across disciplines and sectors. That’s why this generous gift from Jim Leitner is so important,” said F&ES Dean Indy Burke.
“These collaborations across traditional academic boundaries will better equip our faculty to tackle these complex problems — and, we hope, find answers that change the world.”
Research and teaching faculty, as well as research scientists, who have fulltime appointments at Yale University are eligible to apply for funds to support either new research initiatives and pilot work or the development of new courses that are adopted into the F&ES or undergraduate college curriculum.
Postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and research associates are not eligible to apply or be named as co-PIs for these pilot grants.

Leitner believes Yale University is an ideal setting for such collaboration because of its range of world-leading expertise. “You have this range of specialists — scientists and economists, doctors and architects. I believe that if we can bring them together and draw on their specialized knowledge we can bridge major gaps.
“The payoff can be tremendous. What’s the worst-case outcome? You bring together different specialists who do interesting things together and produce original research. But there’s also that outside chance that they can touch on something that is truly game-changing.”
Those interested should send a brief email to Gai Doran, director of research at F&ES, by March 7. A letter of intent must be submitted by April 23 and full applications are due on June 1.
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PUBLISHED: February 20, 2018

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