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November 6, 2000

New program funds conferences,

By Eric Rangus

Research funding is a constant concern for scholars of all sorts. This fall the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences is attempting to address this struggle with the establishment of the Quadrangle Fund for Advanced Research.

The fund consists of three separate, competitive award programs, and also a portion that provides subventions (or subsidies) for faculty publications.

“The primary purpose of it is to make possible conversations, conferences and seminars among people who wouldn’t necessarily get together,” said graduate school Dean Bobby Paul.

“The thought is that at any university, there are intellectual projects going on that would benefit greatly by cross-pollenization,” said the fund’s primary administrator, Virginia Shadron, director of special projects, programs and initiatives at the graduate school. “People don’t always realize what’s going on out there.”

By that measure, fostering interdisciplinary scholarship is one of the new program’s goals. The idea is for the funding to stimulate both collective and individual research agendas.

The three competitive awards are:

Quadrangle Research Workshops will be ongoing projects that last at least one semester and are eligible for renewed funding for up to two years. Multidisciplinary subjects are encouraged and workshop participants can be faculty, graduate students or any mix thereof (although graduate students need a faculty sponsor for application). The fund will support up to eight two-semester workshops each year with a maximum award of $15,000.

“One of the great things about this is discovering working groups that already exist on campus which are research-based, interdisciplinary, cooperative ventures,” Shadron said. “One faculty member called me and said, ‘It’s like you described exactly what we are doing.’”

New workshops and currently existing ones are both eligible for funding.

The Burke Nicholson Interdisciplinary Forum is named for the man who established it, the chair of the graduate school advisory council. Unlike the workshops, the forum focuses on sponsoring symposiums that run one or two days, or perhaps a weekend (Paul called them “splash” events).

Three awards of up to $6,000 are available annually—one each for the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences.

The Emory University Conference Center Subvention Fund provides grants to assist in holding events at that site.

“While the financial support is very nice,” Paul said, “perhaps the greatest benefit is access to a professional conference coordinator [Elizabeth Gallu from the provost’s office] who can help out faculty with planning.”

Proposals to make use of this fund for conferences during the 2001–02 academic year will be accepted through Nov. 15. The Spring 2001 application deadline for the Nicholson Forum and Research Workshops passed Oct. 31, but Fall 2001 applications will be accepted through March 15. Requests for publication subventions can be submitted at any time.

For a full list of application requirements, refer to the graduate school website at www.
and follow the link to quadrangle programs.

Paul said that work and research completed using the Quadrangle Fund, could—if it is seen as having long-term vitality—be added to the curriculum.

Shadron cited the Psychoanalytic Studies program and the inter-institutional Atlanta Seminar in the Comparative History of Labor, Industry, Technology and Society (SCHLITS) as two examples of curriculum offerings that humbly began as small workshops or informal conferences.


Back to Emory Report Nov. 6, 2000