University of Pittsburgh
February 7, 2002

Pitt's University Center for International Studies Announces First Global Academic Partnership Grants

Contact:  412-624-4147

February 8, 2002

PITTSBURGH The first round of grants from the Global Academic Partnership (GAP) has been announced by William Brustein, director of the University Center for International Studies (UCIS) at the University of Pittsburgh. GAP is a program launched last fall to strengthen interdisciplinary research on, and curriculum development in, global themes at Pitt while enhancing the University's international scholarly ties and raising its international profile.

The first round of GAP was sponsored by UCIS, the Office of the Provost, the Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH), the International Business Center in the Katz Graduate School of Business, the School of Engineering, and the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) at Pitt. It provided seed money grants of up to $25,000 plus administrative resources to support international research conferences and workshops on global issues on the Pitt campus. Projects were to relate to one of six issue areas of UCIS' global studies program: sustainable development, globalized economy and global governance, changing identities in a global world, technology and society, international security and conflict resolution, and global health.

Teams of faculty from at least two Pitt schools, including the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) and regional campuses, were eligible to submit a proposal; for the first round of grants, at least one of the applying faculty had to be from the Katz School of Business, the School of Engineering, GSPH, or GSPIA.

The first conference, which will occur in May, is titled "Environmental and Public Health Recovery and Protection in Yugoslavia," and will look at the environmental and public health consequences of armed conflict. It will be led by Radisav Vidic, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering in the School of Engineering, who will be joined by collaborators from GSPH and FAS, as well as participants from Yugoslavia.

GSPIA professor of public and urban affairs Louise Comfort, working with faculty from Pitt's School of Information Sciences (SIS), will conduct a research workshop titled "Hazard Reduction and Response in Metropolitan Regions: An Interdisciplinary Model." Scheduled for October, the workshop will include participants from Colombia, Mexico, Ecuador, and Japan who will discuss metropolitan models of risk assessment and responses to man-made and natural disasters.

Kenneth Thompson, M.D., associate professor of psychiatry and Soros Foundation Physician Advocate Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh, will lead a third GAP project, a workshop titled "Addressing Health Disparities, Social Inclusion, and Community Development"; he will be joined by a faculty team from the School of Social Work and GSPH and community health representatives. The workshop will be held in the fall and address the causes of and policy responses to health disparities between racial/ethnic communities and socioeconomic groups in postindustrialized areas, with particular focus on university/community health partnerships; it will include participants from New Castle and Glasgow, United Kingdom.

Martin B. Weiss, associate professor and chair of SIS' Department of Information Science and Telecommunications (DIST), and Kenneth Sochats, assistant professor of information science in DIST, will work with faculty from SIS, the Katz School, and partner institutions in the United Kingdom on a workshop titled "Demand Aggregation for Broadband Deployment in Rural Communities," which will be conducted this summer. The workshop will aim to create a set of resources to assist community leaders in identifying and accumulating existing and potential demand for broadband access.