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The Institute for Social Science Research and the School of Earth and Sustainability, in partnership with the Institute for Diversity Sciences at UMass, are pleased to announce the winners of this year's Social Science and Environment Seed Grant competition. These SSEN Seed Grant awards totaling $40,000 in new investments will stimulate new scholarly collaborations for innovative research centered on sustainability themes in the social sciences. The winning grants link scholars across three colleges at UMass, and exemplify the SSEN commitment to spanning disciplinary boundaries to open new ways of conceptualizing and studying the defining issues of our times. Please join us in celebrating these important initiatives.

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On Friday March 30, over 55 people gathered at the Design Building at UMass for an animated day of dialogue hosted by the Social Sciences, Humanities and Environment Network (SSEN).

Sustainability logo

The Institute for Social Science Research is pleased to announce a seed grant competition for interdisciplinary social science research in sustainability. This competition is designed to stimulate new scholarly collaborations for innovative research centered on sustainability themes in the social sciences. These seed grants are intended to support proposals that are not likely to be funded by traditional granting organizations because they are early in development and interdisciplinary in nature. It is anticipated that projects will clearly link to the future research, scholarly, or creative and artistic growth of the Institute for Social Science Research.

Spatial Analysis Showcase

Several of the panelists who presented their research at the December 4 ISSR seminar on innovations in spatial analysis have shared their presentation slides here for further discussion and dissemination. Check out the short summary of this intriguing showcase, and follow the links to get involved!

The UMass scholars leading the World Wide University Network's Climate-Resilient Open Partnership for Food Security  (CROP-FS) project have published correspondence in the current issue of Nature calling for early and intentional integration of social science in food security efforts. ISSR Director Laurel Smith-Doerr serves on the CROP-FS leadership team, where she and Sociology Doctoral student Timothy Sacco have been instrumental in bringing social science insights to highlight the social processes and institutions underlying scientific collaborations for food security.

Although there are a great deal of data on how prevalent smart devices are in the home, there has been no systematic investigation into how smart devices are being used. Similar to the television, which was also adopted by households before researchers could study its effects, smart phones could have significant impacts on family dynamics and on how children learn. For her dissertation and CRF Family Research Fellowship, Shayl Griffith is working with Professor David Arnold to analyze the use of smart devices in the home.

Vanessa Adel presenting on climate change publics

What are we called on to do as social science scholars in the face of catastrophic global climate change – and how are we called to do it? 

The five panelists who presented their research at the November 6 ISSR seminar on social science research engagement with climate change and sustainability have shared their presentation slides here for further discussion and dissemination. Please join us in an ongoing effort to promote research collaboration across disciplines, topics and national boundaries on this urgent topic.