PIIRS Research Communities
Through the PIIRS Research Community initiative, the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies provides up to $750,000 spread over three years to groups of Princeton faculty in support of research, teaching, and scholarly dialogue on a common theme of broad interest within international studies that cuts across disciplines and world regions
A PIIRS Research Community consists of an interdisciplinary group of faculty and graduate students engaged in the study of a common theme of broad comparative or global significance. Examples of the kinds of themes around which a research community might be formed include: modernity and modernization; private wealth and public power; religion and violence; citizenship, nation, and cultural identity; gender and human rights; empire and resistance; diasporas and migrations; the human dimensions of climate change; the public sphere in comparative perspective; revolutions; democracy and inequality; legacies of the Cold War; global justice and human rights; diversity and public goods; the politics of the commons; and the shaping of social memory. These are broad themes that cut across all regions of the world, engage multiple disciplines, and have cultural, social, and political dimensions that open up the possibility for broad interdisciplinary and cross-area intellectual engagement.
Research communities are to be established initially around a minimal core community of six faculty members from at least three different departments and run by a rotating steering committee of three core members. Research community activities are open for participation by all Princeton faculty and graduate students, and any Princeton faculty member is eligible to become a core community member. Moreover, research communities are expected to undertake efforts to expand their core membership over the course of the three-year funding cycle. Each spring within the three-year funding cycle the community steering committee is to present PIIRS with an annual plan and budget covering the activities of the community for the following year. All community activities are to be run by core community members with the aid of PIIRS staff.
Funding for a PIIRS Research Community is to be used to support a variety of activities related to the community’s broader theme: faculty and graduate student research, conferences, lecture series, graduate fellowships, a visiting fellows program, and course development. Each research community is eligible to receive a substantial amount of research funds annually (up to $70,000) to be used to support faculty research by core community members on some aspect of the community’s theme. As a condition of funding, research communities are required to meet at least once a month in a community meeting which all core community members are normally expected to attend. These community meetings could assume a variety of formats. For example, a research community might choose to hold its community meetings over dinner and use them to discuss a particularly interesting book or article relevant to the community theme, bring in an author to talk about his or her work, or hear presentations from faculty about their own research. Research communities are also expected to sponsor one graduate and one undergraduate course each year related to the community’s theme; these may be new offerings or may come from existing curriculum.
The first year of a research community’s funding cycle is to be devoted primarily to establishing the community and would involve a series of activities (community meetings, lectures, and workshops) intended to solidify the community and the common interaction of its members. The second year of a research community’s funding cycle will be the community’s “focus year,” in which additional funds will be invested in the community to support a visiting fellows program, graduate students working on the theme of the community, and additional workshops and lecture series run by core community members. The final year of funding is aimed at community consolidation, with the possibility of refunding should the community prove successful. Success of a research community is to be judged by the size and diversity of the community’s core faculty, attendance at its activities, the quality of its discussions, and its publication results. Typically, communities seeking refunding would also need to demonstrate evidence of application for significant external funding.
How to Apply
Applications can be made by groups of at least three Princeton faculty members from at least two academic departments. An application will consist of: 1) an elaboration of the theme of the research community and its importance across multiple world regions and academic disciplines; 2) a list and description of the faculty who have agreed to become core community members and others who might be asked; 3) a plan and budget for the community’s first year of activity; and 4) a short description of the kinds of community activities that might be undertaken in future years.
PIIRS seeks only a two- or three-page pre-proposal describing the theme of the proposed research community and identifying other Princeton faculty who might be involved. Any Princeton faculty member may submit a pre-proposal. One or more of the pre-proposals will be selected by PIIRS for more detailed development. Pre-proposals should be sent to PIIRS Director Mark Beissinger (firstname.lastname@example.org) by February 17, 2013.
Further questions or inquiries about the PIIRS Research Community initiative can be addressed to Mark Beissinger.