Tuesday, April 23, 2024

W&M’s Global Research Institute Receives $1.9M to Tackle Pressing Challenges Around the World

Multidisciplinary hub: Students and faculty members attend a cookout at William & Mary’s Global Research Institute, where scholars and policy practitioners collaborate to apply research to real world issues. (Photo courtesy of GRI)

This story is brought to WYDaily readers courtesy of William & Mary. -Ed.

WILLIAMSBURG — New support for William & Mary’s Global Research Institute (GRI) totaling $1.9 million will enhance the university’s ability to address critical international challenges such as the changing role of the U.S. in geopolitics, conflict and peace building in Africa, a growing debt crisis and threats to the stability of democratic regimes. The funds will expand GRI’s impact through groundbreaking research, innovative teaching and strengthened connections between the academic world and policymakers. 

Four post-doctoral fellowships will be created through two separate grants: one from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and another from the Charles Koch Foundation in partnership with former W&M Board of Visitors member Paul C. Jost ’76, J.D. ’88 and Laura Holmes Jost, longtime benefactors of the university.

Funds from the Carnegie Corporation will extend GRI’s new Post-Doctoral Fellowship for Academic Diversity, launched as a pilot program in 2020, and will build on the grantmaking foundation’s long-term support of the Teaching, Research, and International Policy (TRIP) Project, which gathers data and publishes analyses on the relationship between the study and practice of international relations. Carnegie funds will also support the Institute’s communications team in providing decision-makers with access to the most accurate and up-to-date knowledge generated through applied research.

The post-doctoral fellows funded through the partnership between the Charles Koch Foundation and the Josts will help William & Mary to diversify and expand research and teaching in the areas of international security and U.S. foreign policy. 

Across these two awards, post-doctoral fellows will represent a wide range of academic disciplines and cultural backgrounds.

“We are enormously grateful to our philanthropic partners for recognizing the GRI’s transformative work with this generous funding,” Provost Peggy Agouris said. “With their support, William & Mary is better positioned to extend our influence globally and bring about positive change in line with our strategic plan, Vision 2026.”

The Carnegie Corporation’s support will ensure the continuation of GRI’s Post-Doctoral Fellowship for Academic Diversity, which recently brought two post-doctoral fellows to William & Mary. The program creates a pipeline for scholars from underrepresented groups, such as women and first-generation students, international scholars, racial minorities, military veterans and scholars with disabilities to advance in the field of international relations. These fellows, in turn, serve as mentors for William & Mary students from underrepresented groups from across multiple fields who might not otherwise get an opportunity to engage in a mentored research experience.

“Carnegie has long provided vital support to TRIP and other projects seeking to bridge the gap between theory and practice,” said Sue Peterson, W&M government department chair and Reves professor of government and international relations. “This new grant will allow us to increase opportunities for students and emerging scholars from underrepresented groups. In the process, Carnegie not only is transforming TRIP and our work, but also is helping to transform the discipline of international relations.”

One of the Carnegie fellows will work with GRI’s TRIP Project on the theory and practice of international relations. The other will work with the Institute’s Africa Research Center on urbanization, labor markets, conflict management and peacebuilding in sub-Saharan Africa.

“The Corporation has long valued the insights generated by the TRIP project that flesh out the non-linear relationship between academic research and policy,” said Stephen Del Rosso, director of the Carnegie Corporation’s International Peace and Security program. “We are also pleased to support GRI’s communications efforts to connect its work to the policy realm and to promote diversity in the international relations field.”

Funds from the Charles Koch Foundation (CKF) and from the Jost family will allow GRI to hire post-doctoral fellows who bring new theoretical perspectives not currently represented at the Institute and who are committed to the principle of open inquiry and the free exchange of ideas. These fellows will collaborate with students on policy-relevant research, covering topics such as U.S. alliances and overseas military commitments, foreign aid, trade, diplomacy and the links between public opinion and U.S. foreign policy.

The fellows funded through the Koch/Jost grant will teach courses not currently offered at William & Mary on topics related to U.S. foreign policy. To support development of a security studies program at GRI, these fellows will lead programs in the fall and spring that convene scholars and policy practitioners in Williamsburg.

“We are excited to continue our support for William & Mary and its incredible students and faculty,” said the Jost family. “This institution is one of the country’s premier research universities. We’re excited to help it contribute to the conversation about how to create a foreign policy that is based on realism and restraint and that relies on strength and smarts to ensure Americans’ security and well-being.”

“The United States is one of the safest countries in the world, and as a great power with a global economy, there’s an opportunity to better understand the role we play,” said CKF Executive Director Ryan Stowers. “Developing grand strategy requires rigorous scholarship and open inquiry into the successes and failures of the past, and evidence-based assessments of the world and our place in it. We look forward to learning from GRI’s top scholars as they address these fundamental questions.”

Each post-doctoral appointment will have a duration of two years, with both Carnegie-funded post-doctoral fellows coming on board this August along with one of the two Koch/Jost fellows; the other would arrive in August 2023.

“At the Global Research Institute, teams of students and faculty collaborate to address real-world problems. The work we do requires diverse teams and the freedom to explore new ideas. We need to engage ideas from across theoretical, ideological and disciplinary perspectives,” said GRI Director Mike Tierney, ’87, M.A. ’89. “We are delighted that these two awards will bring a broader range of expertise and experience to William & Mary and expand our post-doctoral fellows pilot program, while providing promising scholars support to create new knowledge and bridge the academic-policy divide.”

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