2.2 Foster Research, Instruction, and Outreach in Emerging, Interdisciplinary Fields of Great Societal Importance

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November 2013

(Year 2-3: 2010-2012)

Year 1: 2009-2010

The Social Science Research Institute (SSRI) continues to focus on catalyzing interdisciplinary research within four broad content areas: Children, Youth, and Families; Demographic and Social Change; Innovative Methods; and Biological Bases of Behavior, Health, and Development. The SSRI, Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences, and College of Medicine collaborated to form the Penn State Institute of the Neurosciences. In 2009-2010 the Materials Research Institute (MRI) acquired almost $3 million in new equipment for nanofabrication, and supported research in areas related to neuroscience, energy, and defense. Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment (PSIEE) completed its first formal seed grant programs. In cooperation with SSRI and the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute, PSIEE launched a Marcellus Shale seed grant program, with $200,000 awarded to five projects in spring 2010; in cooperation with Penn State’s Office of Physical Plant and Outreach, PSIEE led a Sustainability seed grant program that awarded over $350,000 to 14 projects.

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Year 2: 2010-2011

Five faculty members were hired in spring 2011 in emerging interdisciplinary fields, including bioenergy, politics and energy, landscape ecology, environmental anthropology, and earth systems ecology. Over $4 million in awards has been received for intervention work for military families. The Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the amount of $27.3 million will support the Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), a collaboration of University, community, and industry partners focusing on improving the health of Pennsylvanians. At the Philadelphia Navy Yard, 23 faculty members from five Penn State colleges are involved with applying a $129 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and three other federal agencies to create anEnergy Innovation Hub.

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Year 3: 2011-2012

With reference to Strategy 2.2, increasing work in interdisciplinary fields, Penn State’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI)is one of 60 institutions in the United States to receive National Institutes of Health funding to develop a framework supporting research across biomedical, social, life, and physical sciences.

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