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Cornell University

Research, Pedagogy, and Engagement for a World on the Move

Deadline: Proposals must be submitted by April 25. Applicants will be informed of their funding status by May 31. 

With support from the Mellon Foundation Just Futures Initiative and Global Cornell, the Migrations initiative invites proposals for four separate competitions:

  1. Interdisciplinary Team Research Grant
  2. Small Research Collaboration Grant
  3. Course or Curriculum Development Grant
  4. Community Engagement Grant

We seek proposals that center the connections between racism, dispossession, and migration in interdisciplinary, innovative, and impactful ways. The Migrations initiative will also support work that either adds or focuses on multi-species and international aspects of migrations.

Watch our info session about these grants, originally held on March 29. The Cornell Migrations team addressed questions about priorities, selection criteria, budgets, and other guidance on how to prepare a successful application.

1. Interdisciplinary Team Research Grant

Funding Priorities

We expect to fund up to four proposals, which can be focused on one of three thematic areas: 

Competitive proposals will bring together Cornell’s strength of building innovative approaches to address cutting-edge questions around racism, dispossession, and migration through multiple and relatively disparate fields. Research teams will convene meetings with university and community partners, co-designing and executing projects and discussing/disseminating results. Teams will advance research on relevant migration topics from an interdisciplinary perspective—especially humanistic—elevating antiracist and anticolonial research approaches. We are especially interested in advancing efforts leading to emerging collaborations with outside funders and supporting working groups both in and beyond academia across the themes. Teams will be invited to disseminate their work via seminars, workshops, social media, and academic and public writing.

Funds can be used for a range of national and international research expenses, including but not limited to: up to $90,000 for graduate student and post-doctoral fellowships, as well as up to $60,000 for summer salary, workshops, data-gathering, travel and communication, and publication costs. Funds may not be used for computers and student tuition.

We are interested in proposals that

  • Demonstrate a clear interdisciplinary perspective and articulate why the project theme (either focusing on dispossession-racism-migration or focusing on multi-species and international aspects of migrations) likely cannot be investigated adequately using a single disciplinary lens.
  • Have a team led by co-principle investigators that come from at least two colleges or departments on campus.
  • Prioritize the formation of a sustainable research team whose work is likely to extend beyond the grant period, and result in multiple, high-impact publications and/or opportunities for real-world change related to relevant migration topics.
  • Lead to emerging collaborations with outside funders and supporting working groups both in and beyond academia across the themes.
  • Provide research opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students, as well as postdoctoral fellows.
  • Generate new knowledge that addresses cutting-edge questions around racism, dispossession, and migrations as well as around multi-species and international aspects of migrations as identified in the Migrations Taskforce Report.
  • Conform to the highest academic standards.

How to Apply

2. Small Research Collaboration Grant

Funding Priorities

We expect to award up to five grants to provide pilot funding to leverage new or emerging collaborations with outside organizations, collaborators, or funders. Strong projects will relate to one of the three thematic areas listed above.

Funds can be used for data gathering, workshops and meetings, travel, and student assistance. Funds may not be used for salary offset or summer salary, computers, and student tuition.

We are interested in proposals that

  • Provide seed funding for the preparation of external funding requests that show high potential for continued funding for research on racism, dispossession, and migrations as well as on multi-species and international aspects of migrations beyond the grant period or support the advancement of existing high impact research initiatives.
  • Build on existing strengths at Cornell University while extending work on racism, dispossession, and migration as well as on multi-species and international aspects of migrations into new areas or collaborations.
  • Advance research on racism, dispossession, and migrations as well as on multi-species and international aspects of migrations by junior faculty.
  • Create networks and platforms for the study of racism, dispossession, and migrations as well as for the study of multi-species and international aspects of migrations that facilitate connection among scholars from across the university and from around the world.
  • Have long-term, discernible benefits to the study of racism, dispossession, and migrations as well as for the study of multi-species and international aspects of migrations.
  • Conform to the highest academic standards.

How to Apply

3. Course or Curriculum Development Grant

Funding Priorities

We expect to fund up to three proposals for one year, with courses expected to launch the following year. We seek to build a transformative new curriculum co-developed with scholars and community partners that exposes the role of racism, dispossession, and migration in the academy while working towards racial and immigrant justice on campus and beyond. Funding will support initiatives that advance an interdisciplinary "pedagogy beyond borders" based in multiple sites within and beyond New York State. Proposals should include collaborative, interactive, and reflective pedagogy with local community members, including migrants, refugees, and communities of color (including Black people, native peoples, Latinxs, Asian Americans, and other diasporas). Applicants are encouraged to directly address the role of racism, dispossession, and migration in the university's history and higher education more generally.

Funds can be used for salary offset or summer salary (up to $20,000) as well as for other course related expenses including travel, student assistants, interns, and community partners' time (up to $10,000). Funds may not be used for computers and student tuition. Additional funding will be available for student fellowships for internships and research projects.

We are interested in proposals that

  • Use a collaborative, interactive, and reflective pedagogy.
  • Are co-developed and create new partnerships with community partners focusing on racism, dispossession, and migrations.
  • Advance an interdisciplinary "pedagogy beyond borders" based in multiple sites within and beyond New York State.
  • Generates a transformative new curriculum that exposes the role of racism, dispossession, and migration in the academy and can be launched in the following year.
  • Have long-term and discernible benefits addressing racial and immigrant justice on campus and beyond.
  • Conform to the highest academic standards.
 

How to Apply

4. Community Engagement Grant

Funding Priorities

We seek to support inclusive and participatory collaborations with community partners dedicated to applying research and/or pedagogy to further positive social justice or impact. We will fund four to eight proposals for one year.

With this work, we seek to support migrant rights and representation in public discourse. Proposals should include cross-disciplinary research and learning teams working towards artistic, policy, and technological innovations that will improve the lives of racialized minorities and migrants in an era when rights and public benefits are under attack. Team participants will come together with community partners to work on tangible products to benefit society. We aim to support collective learning strategies such as those that deploy public art, social media, podcasts, and other rich digital content for students. This public engagement should break down elite university spaces via interactive art installations, open-access media projects, or co-designed practical applications. These community-oriented projects will highlight the university's historical and contemporary role in facilitating racism, dispossession, and migration while developing useful tools for accountability and redress.

Funds can be used for collaborators' salaries, materials, communication, programming, interns, and travel.

We are interested in proposals that

  • Have cross-disciplinary and participatory research and learning teams with U.S. community partners.

  • Develop collective learning strategies, such as those that deploy public art, social media, podcasts, and other rich digital content for students.

  • Support migrant rights and representation in public discourse in the U.S.
  • Develop artistic, policy, and technological innovations and tangible products that will improve the lives of racialized minorities and migrants in the U.S.
  • Develop useful tools for accountability and redress given the university's historical and contemporary role in facilitating racism, dispossession, and migration.
  • Have long-term and discernible benefits addressing racial and immigrant justice on campus and beyond.
  • Conform to the highest academic standards.

How to Apply


Application Process

Eligibility:

All PI-eligible faculty are able to apply (including tenured, tenure-track, professors of practice, senior research associates, and clinical-track faculty), as are faculty-led programs and centers within the university, irrespective of their college or school. We are particularly encouraging underrepresented, junior, and female faculty to apply.

How to Apply:

  • All applications and supporting materials must be submitted electronically via Qualtrics 
  • All proposals must be submitted by Cornell faculty who are PI-eligible
  • The completed application must be received by the application deadline of April 25, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. ET. Applicants will be informed of their funding status no later than May 31.

Proposals must include:

  • Description of the proposed project:
    • Title, background, objectives, activities, outputs, and impacts (maximum of three pages for all grants, except for team research grants which can be five pages).
    • PDF format, single-spaced, 12-point font, 1-inch margins.
    • The proposal should be free of disciplinary jargon so that its significance and contribution towards advancing research on migrations (i.e., the movement of people, plants, and animals) can be easily evaluated by faculty reviewers representing diverse disciplines.
  • CVs of the applicant(s) and key collaborators in PDF format (maximum of two pages for each individual)
  • Research approvals (IRB, IADCUC, etc.) are not required for proposal submission but are required to accept an award or receive funds.
  • Detailed budget with justification of expenses (budget template)
  • We cannot accept research proposals from recipients of 2020 Migration initiative grants whose projects are still in progress. Faculty are still able to apply for curriculum or engagement grants.

Awardee Responsibilities:

  • Participate in occasional Migrations initiative events, including presenting at one research seminar during the grant period
  • Submit annual grant reports and a final report using a provided template
  • At the end of the grant cycle, prepare a press release announcing your results (in coordination with Global Cornell communication staff)
  • Acknowledge the Cornell University Migrations Global Grand Challenge and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in all project products (reports, publications, presentations, etc.) that were made possible, in whole or in part, through this grant. 

Questions? 

Please direct any questions about the grants or the application process to migrations@global.cornell.edu.


Cornell Migrations and the Mellon Just Futures Initiative 

Slavery, colonization, Indigenous dispossession, and war have driven migration and other patterns of racial violence, urban segregation, and health disparities. Funded teams will bring together expertise from multiple disciplines, temporal periods, and geographic scales to analyze the many intersections and implications of racism, dispossession, and migration. 

Intersecting Themes

Racism

The United States and many other contexts across the globe are based on structures of white supremacy.  Structural racism becomes institutionalized in our everyday lives, going far beyond individual prejudice or even implicit bias. Therefore, racialized stereotypes of migrants must be understood in relationship to anti-blackness and the displacement of native communities. This political and cultural landscape drives the militarization of borders, the concretizing of the police state, and whether and how migrant rights are allowed and respected. How societies remember and recognize previous acts of colonizers, and the flows of enslaved peoples and indigenous populations they kidnapped and displaced, are significant to national and global discussions of the rights of both migrants and other marginalized groups. These erasures are also reflected in underrepresentation in university spaces but also become vibrant platforms for social movements and demands for racial justice.

Dispossession

Dispossession—the loss of land, rights, or resources and a driver of inequality—can shape well-being for centuries. Continuous extraction, forced labor, racial violence, and alienation are outgrowths of colonization and hallmarks of so-called “development” projects. Ongoing “accumulation by dispossession” actively continues in housing evictions, deportations, and imprisonment reflect deep racial inequalities. Land Grant universities like Cornell have been complicit in the Plantationocene, both through the displacement of native peoples and the propagation of large-scale commodity agriculture. We call on the land grant mission of the university to actively work towards redress: understanding and correcting the multi-faceted nature and effects of dispossession. 

Migration

Migration must be understood as rooted in histories of dispossession and racism.  Despite university calls for inclusion, there is insufficient access to university admissions, employment, and leadership for migrant scholars and workers. Together these projects will build on the deep expertise on the Cornell campus to co-create a research, teaching, and engagement agenda that works across borders (political, cultural, geographic, temporal) and across communities (students, scholars, civil society, government, native communities, undocumented workers, people of color, refugees).  In doing so, funded projects will challenge strategies of othering; and expose structures of enduring dispossession/inequalities to build new cultural imaginaries rooted in antiracial and anticolonial justice. 

Through these lenses, this round of funding will support work in the following core arenas of the current political moment.

Research and Praxis Arenas

Authority, Governance, and Racial Injustice

There is a range of regulatory institutions and social hierarchies that shape migrations. National governments are the world’s primary apparatus for regulating migration, reifying new ethno-racial categories, or eradicating them from public discourse. Supra-national and regional institutions also police migrant flows and regulate migrant life. While much of the focus has been on urban migrant destinations, often invisible migrant communities labor in dairies and orchards and fields and meatpacking plants in rural regions. Their presence is transforming race relations, local governments, and the built-environments of these communities, often triggering right-wing nativist political agendas. Racism and populism have intertwined in particularly virulent strains of xenophobia in the U.S. and have metastasized into powerful political forces. Indeed, fascist and racist movements are often connected, as vibrant pro-migrant mobilizations have emerged in response.

Climate, Dispossession, and Natural and Built Environments

The momentous shifts in global migrations involve both humans and other species moving across continents or hemispheres, which in turn impact the communities that depend on these environments. Environmental justice is a cornerstone of both racial justice and migrant rights. For example, the erection of dams, roads, walls, fences, pipelines, or new land-uses can have profound ecological and social consequences, as Hurricane Katrina, Standing Rock, and recent wildfires in the American West exemplify. Attempts to protect pristine habitats must also grapple with the rights of indigenous groups to preserve their territories and lifeworlds. As climate change reshapes habitable spaces, coastal cities often become vulnerable, leading to massive upheaval and new migrations. Additionally, disease and the flow of pathogens (e.g., COVID-19, Ebola, MERS) is a crucial issue that is often weaponized as a justification for migrant restriction and surveillance and a tool of dispossession and resource extraction.

Trafficking, Displacement, and the Right to Stay Home

Untenable conditions at “home” can generate streams of forced migration, whether due to geopolitical unrest, environmental degradation, or resource scarcity. With the exception of the privileged cosmopolitans, most migrants opt to leave their home when staying put becomes untenable. Governments often create arbitrary categories to legitimize humanitarian relief rationing, and their state-sanctioned expulsions are symptomatic of broader societal dislocations. Unscrupulous actors often facilitate these movements (sometimes at the willing request of migrants with few alternatives), and exploitative labor relations are poorly regulated (often especially precarious for women and children). Co-ethnic relations can sometimes insulate and protect but very often also breed further precarity via exploitative social networks. Our research program links the struggles of international and internal migrants, such as indigenous persons, who have been robbed of the right to stay home.

Read about the grants awarded in 2020.