Funding for Faculty

The Gladstein Family Human Rights Institute is excited to share three funding opportunities. UConn faculty and staff focused on human rights may apply for research funding through three programs:

Dr. Fiona Vernal speaking at a podium

Seed Grant for Faculty Research in Human Rights

Our seed grant competition is meant to support and promote faculty research projects on human rights and to facilitate the writing of external grant proposals. We offer one award of $15,000 each academic year. Proposed research projects should make a significant contribution to ongoing scholarly and/or policy debates in the field of human rights. They will be evaluated for overall excellence on human rights issues, understood broadly. All proposals will be reviewed by a multidisciplinary committee chaired by the Associate Director of the Gladstein Family Human Rights Institute.

2023 Seed Grant Recipient

Sara Silverstein
Assistant Professor, Department of History & Gladstein Family Human Rights Institute

 

"A Place to Exist: Histories of Statelessness from Empire to European Integration"

 

A Place to Exist: Histories of Statelessness from Empire to European Integration considers the history of statelessness and belonging from the perspective of people who were themselves stateless. The project examines how stateless people conceptualized rights and created mechanisms to protect rights during the period in which modern understandings of the state and of citizenship emerged, focusing on the 1910s-1960s. A Place to Exist concentrates on people labeled as minority nationalities who identified as lacking a state to represent their interests – including Ukrainians, Jews, Crimean Tatars, Macedonians, and Roma – in addition to people without citizenship who officially qualified as “stateless” under international law, and people whose identity fell outside any international legal categorization. The focus will start in Europe and will extend from there to individuals and communities who engaged with these stateless Europeans, including anti-colonial activists and American Civil Rights activists. Reclaiming lost voices reveals the same period that saw the rise of the modern nation-state was a time of vibrant thought and action for alternative ideas of sovereignty, statehood, and citizenship, while stateless people also worked pragmatically to develop institutions and procedures to protect their rights. This project makes the case that their work was indispensable to the realization of later international collaborations and organizations, of European integration, and of the theories and practices of human rights.

More about Sara Silverstein

Sara Silverstein is an Assistant Professor at the University of Connecticut, jointly appointed in the Department of History and the Gladstein Family Human Rights Institute, and co-director of HRI's Research Program in Humanitarianism. Her work addresses the histories of statelessness, minority rights, internationalism, public and global health, and refugees and migration, with a geographic concentration in Modern and Eastern Europe. Her first book, For Your Health and Ours: The East European History of International Health, explored international health projects and practices of development that originated in eastern European following the First World War. She has published articles and chapters on the histories of internationalism, public and international health, the right to health, and state-building and democracy in post-imperial Eastern Europe. She has been a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Yale Jackson School for Global Affairs, a Fox Fellow at Sciences Po, Paris, and a junior visiting fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna.

Former Recipients

2022

Manisha Desai
Professor, Sociology and Asian and Asian American Studies
"Women’s Rights, Land Rights, and Climate Justice"

2021

Alaina Brenick
Associate Professor, Human Development and Family Science
"A Right to Housing, A Right to Health: How do Connecticut Constituents View the Homeless Community’s Right to Housing During and Beyond COVID-19"

Eligibility Criteria & Requirements

  1. Open to full-time, permanent UConn faculty in any discipline at any UConn campus.
  2. Applicant must be affiliated with UConn during the entire award period.
  3. Applicants may apply for both the HRI Seed Grant and the HRI Small Grant, but the recipient of the HRI Seed Grant will be ineligible to receive an HRI Small Grant in the same year.
  4. Disbursement of funds is contingent upon receipt of any required IRB approval.
  5. The grant holder agrees to:
    1. Submit a progress report (2 page maximum) on the research project by July 30, 2025.
    2. The Grant holder also agrees to present at a public HRI Research Talk in the year following their Grant.
  6. The seed grant may be used to:
    1. Support graduate assistant or undergraduate student labor costs at university-established rates.
    2. Contribute towards course replacement costs, following the model of the Research Excellence Program. This must be approved by your department head.
    3. Pay for direct costs associated with travel for research or research support costs.

How to Apply

Access the application via Microsoft Forms. The application requires the following materials:

  1. Narrative description of the research project (5 pages, double spaced, 12 pt. font);
  2. Brief explanation of plans to apply for outside grants (no more than a half page);
  3. Budget narrative (1 page maximum);
  4. Bibliography for the project (1 page maximum); and
  5. Current CV

Application Deadline for 2024: Extended to April 15

Evaluation Criteria

The following criteria will be used in evaluating applications:

  • Significance of the contribution that the project will make to knowledge in the field of human rights.
  • Quality of the conception, definition, organization, and description of the project.
  • Feasibility of the project, including rationale for the budget.
  • Priority will be given to applicants who indicate clearly their plans to apply for external funding.
  • Additional priority may be given to applications from junior faculty and to those faculty who have not received this grant in recent years.
  • Applications that do not follow the guidelines for page length and supporting documents will not be considered.

Questions about the competition? Please email humanrights@uconn.edu or call 860-486-5393.

Small Grants for Faculty & Staff Research in Human Rights

Our research grant competition for the faculty and staff supports and promotes research projects on human rights related questions. Projects should make a significant contribution to ongoing scholarly and/or policy debates in the field of human rights.

Awards will prioritize primary research, including library research, fieldwork, interviewing, historical archival research, pilot studies, data collection, and data set construction. Book preparation requests are permitted and could include copy editing, indexing, and editorial assistance. Requests to provide a subvention for an open access publication or for access to databases for research will be considered.

2023 Small Grant Recipients

Thelma Z. Abu

Assistant Professor, Department of Geography

 

"Understanding and Responding to Issues of Water Security and Gender-Based Violence in
Sub-Saharan Africa"

 

The United Nations (UN) declared access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) a basic human right in 2010. Yet social disparities situated within power imbalances and contextual knowledge gaps impede achieving safe WASH access. In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), these challenges typically affect rural and marginalized communities in urban areas. At the community level, the greatest burdens related to water and sanitation fall on women and girls responsible for providing these services. These women and girls are at risk of both physical and sexual violence when searching for WASH services or do not successfully deliver on their domestic responsibilities. In addition, women and men have unequal roles and varied levels of participation in water governance, particularly at the community level. In rare circumstances when women are involved, their participation is typically passive.

In response to inequities in WASH access, several global initiatives such as the Millennium Development Goals (2000- 2015) have been implemented, however, achieving the WASH-related goals is challenging (UN, 2015). In 2015, the world transitioned to sustainable development goals (SDGs). The focus of the world today is to achieve the 17 SDG goals and 169 targets to ensure that the distribution of resources for life around the world happens equitably such that, by 2030, there is health and life for all. SDG 6 conveys the need for ensuring access to water and sanitation for all. Targets 6.1,6.2 and 6.b further address the gendered dimensions of accessing and participating in WASH decision-making. In addition, recent studies indicate the role of access to WASH in empowering women and ensuring gender equality in SSA.

This proposed research takes a feminist political ecology approach to document and investigate the WASH and empowerment narrative expressed through oral histories of women in Uganda and Ghana. This approach helps identify the points in history where things could have changed or could have been done differently– knowledge could have changed outcomes, attitudes could have changed behaviours, and practices could have changed lives. This study will enhance our understanding of WASH inequities, Gender Based Violence (GBV), and empowerment, all vital for responding to social inclusion in a changing climate. This research will further generate foundational knowledge for a long-term study on Sustainability in climate interventions in Ghana.

Jane Pryma

Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology

 

"Slow Rights: Trauma and Disability Rights"

 

The 2006 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities called for disability rights to be interpreted, globally, through a social model rather than a medical model of disability. However, disability rights, in practice, are still commonly granted based on a claimant’s medical diagnosis and implemented through a standard menu of reasonable accommodations. In the wake of COVID-19 and recent social movements for racial and gender justice, some organizations have begun to move beyond the focus on biomedical diagnoses to recognize impairments caused by social trauma like gender-based violence and housing insecurity. Approaching social trauma as disabling challenges prevailing sociolegal definitions of disability as a stable condition inherent to an individual rather than the product of an interaction between an individual body and a social environment. What makes a potentially traumatic experience disabling in some cases but not others is not easy to evaluate with the medical tools and objective measures favored by bureaucracies to efficiently “diagnose” and accommodate impairment. Developing disability rights that eschew medical diagnoses and one-size-fits-all standard accommodations takes additional time and labor. I term these rights “slow rights.” My project compares the implementation of disability rights in the United States and France from the 2006 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities through the COVID-19 pandemic asking: (1) how do universities and employers attempt to assess and manage the lasting effects of social trauma through a disability rights framework; (2) what are the consequences of responding to social injustices in this way; and (3) what sociolegal opportunities and challenges do organizations in each country face as they seek to implement a “slow rights” approach to impairment caused by social inequality?

Catherine Masud

Assistant Professor, Department of Digital Media & Design and Gladstein Family Human Rights Institute

 

"Justice Stories / Our Stories"

 

“Justice Stories/Our Stories” is a collaborative research, documentation, and archiving project that will look at three movements for justice in Bangladesh: the Rana Plaza disaster (workers’ justice and accountability), the Kansat Movement (rural electricity access) and the Road Safety Movement (road safety, justice, and accountability for road crash survivors). Partnering with Bangladeshi legal aid organization BLAST, I will work with a team of young research assistants to conduct oral histories and collect and catalog archival assets relating to the three main focal points of the project. These materials will form the basis of an online archive that will include a searchable database with short biographies of key actors in various justice movements, contemporaneous articles, legal records of cases, copies of relevant laws and policies or their extracts, video testimonies and photographs of key actors, an infographic setting out a chronology of the milestones, and a summary of key events and developments for each of these movements. We hope this archive will be a resource for students, teachers, researchers, legal professionals, and visual storytellers, and will serve as a model for similar projects in future.

Former Recipients

2022

David Richards
Associate Professor, Political Science & Gladstein Family Human Rights Institute

Jeremy Pressman
Professor, Political Science & Director, Middle East Studies

“Evaluating Israel’s Claim of Exceptional Negative Treatment About Human Rights Violations”

2021

Gary M. English
Distinguished Professor, Dramatics Arts
“Theatre and Human Rights: The Politics of Dramatic Form”

Sandra L. Sirota
Assistant Professor in Residence, Human Rights Institute
“Shaping an Education System that Works for Us: Youth-led Movements to Disrupt Systemic Racism in Education”

Eligibility Criteria & Requirements

  • Open to UConn faculty, staff, and post-docs in all disciplines at any UConn campus.
  • Applicant must be affiliated with UConn during the entire award period.
  • Disbursement of funds is contingent upon receipt of any required IRB approval.
  • Applicants may apply for both the HRI Seed Grant and the HRI Small Grant, but the recipient of the HRI Seed Grant will be ineligible to receive an HRI Small Grant in the same year.

How to Apply

Access the application via Microsoft Forms. The application requires the following materials:

  • Intellectual rationale for the project, list of expected project outcomes, and methodology (three pages, double spaced, 12 point font);
  • Budget narrative of research-related expenses (typically not to exceed $2000) (no more than a half page)
  • Current CV

Application Deadline for 2024: Extended to April 15

Evaluation Criteria

Proposed research projects will be evaluated for overall excellence of the proposed research project on human rights issues, understood broadly. All proposals will be reviewed by a multidisciplinary committee chaired by the Associate Director of the Gladstein Family Human Rights Institute.

  1. Significance of the contribution that the project will make to knowledge in the field of human rights.
  2. Quality of the conception, definition, organization, and description of the project.
  3. Feasibility of the project, including rationale for the budget.
  4. Additional priority may be given to applications from junior faculty and those faculty who have not received this grant in recent years.
  5. Applications that do not follow the guidelines for page length and supporting documents will not be considered.

Questions about the competition? Please email humanrights@uconn.edu or call 860-486-5393.

InCHIP & HRI Pilot Studies in Health Justice

This opportunity represents a collaboration between InCHIP and the Gladstein Family Human Rights Institute. This award provides up to $20,000 for one pilot study conducted by UConn Faculty in the areas of social justice, human rights, and health equity. Eligible projects may employ a qualitative, quantitative, or mixed-methods approach. Projects that integrate arts- or narrative-based approaches will also be eligible. Pilot projects funded through this mechanism should act as a preliminary stage that informs a proposal for external funding.

Conceptually, social justice, human rights, and health equity are highly interrelated. Below we provide applicants definitions of each construct to clarify our intent with this opportunity below. Health research rooted in a health equity, human rights, and/or social justice approach confronts inequities associated with race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability status, residence in underserved areas, low socioeconomic status, and/or other forms of inequity, typically using an intersectional approach. Studies in this area foreground the voices, experiences, and perspectives of individuals and communities representing the population of interest whether empirically, through research collaboration, or in other ways. 

Eligibility Criteria & Requirements

  • The Principal Investigator (PI) must have an advanced degree (e.g., PhD, MD, PharmD), have an eligible faculty appointment at UConn Storrs, UConn Health, or one of the regional campuses, and be eligible to submit external grants through InCHIP or UConn Health. To view the complete list of faculty eligible to act as a PI, please see this list from the OVPR. 
  • Leadership Roles: While research teams can include students, post docs, faculty from other institutions and other external collaborators, our goal is to support interdisciplinary teams led by UConn faculty. For this reason, team leaders should be UConn faculty with continuing appointments who meet the OVPR’s PI criteria (see above).
  • Protection of Human Subjects and Animals: Investigators are expected to receive approval from the IRB for human subjects or from IACUC for animal model studies before beginning their study.

Awardees will be required to submit a brief progress report after 6 months, a final report at the conclusion of the project or award period, and periodic check-ins over the following 5 years to track external grant applications/awards stemming from the seed grant. Changes to the project’s objectives, PIs, and budget will require prior approval from InCHIP staff.

Detailed awardee instructions/requirements will be distributed to seed grant winners when they are notified of the award decisions. All awardee requirements described above are subject to change in accordance with updated institutional procedures (e.g., routing requirements).

InCHIP invites Seed Grant proposals with budgets up to $20,000. The length of the award is two years after award.

Allowable and Non-Allowable Costs

    Allowable Costs:

    • Personnel who are essential for conducting the research project, such as graduate research assistants and student labor.
    • Individuals who are not on the regular state payroll (i.e., consultants and other off-campus assistance) may be hired to perform special research-related tasks as needed.
    • Resources that require fee-for-services within UConn.
    • Participant incentives for recruitment or study participation.
    • Out-of-state travel that is necessary to conduct the research.
    • Equipment necessary for conducting the research (“equipment” is defined as an article of tangible, non-expendable personal property that costs $5,000 or more).
    • Project supplies, including drugs and services.
    • Other specifically authorized expenses essential for carrying out the project.

    Not-Allowable Costs:

    • The salary of any Principal Investigator, Co-Investigator, or other faculty member who has an appointment at UConn Storrs, UConn Health, or any of the UConn campuses. This includes Connecticut Children’s faculty with joint appointments.
    • Living expenses.
    • Laptops or desktop computers, unless used exclusively for the project and not for any other activities.
    • Service/maintenance contracts on equipment.
    • Laboratory renovations or other infrastructure renovations.
    • Institutional and/or individual memberships in professional organizations.
    • Travel to professional meetings to present the results of the research, or any conference attendance.
    • Indirect costs, including clerical and administrative personnel salaries.
    • Costs associated with the publication of results of the research, such as the purchase of reprints.
    • Investigator training costs, including tuition.

    How to Apply

    Use this Application Guide to make sure all sections are complete. Then, access and upload the application via this webpage.

    InCHIP invites Seed Grant proposals with budgets up to $20,000. The length of the award is two years after award. After reviewing allowable costs, please submit a budget using this template.

    Deadline for 2024: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until April 19, 2024

    Evaluation Criteria

    • Innovation: Is this a new research area, project, or collaboration? Priority is placed on new ideas for projects that involve cross-department, cross-college, and/or cross-campus (interdisciplinary) connections among UConn faculty.
    • Significance: Does the proposed project make a significant difference to the field and/or human health? What problem does the proposed study solve? Or what gap in knowledge does it fill?
    • · Does the proposal directly approach health related issues and outcomes from a human rights, social justice, and/or health equity perspective?
    • Are the goals of the project clear and in alignment with the planned activities? Proposals should have a well-articulated plan of activities that include appropriate literature review, clear objectives, and a detailed methodology.
    • How diverse are the collaborators? Teams should ideally be comprised of investigators who range in discipline, seniority, and experience.
    • Does the team have a timeline and plan for achieving their goals? Proposals must include a specific product (e.g., external grant proposal) and a timeline for its attainment.
    • To what extent is the proposal aligned with the goals of the FOA (see description above)?
    • Does the proposal provide evidence for access to the population of interest? For example, building partnerships with community organizations, clinics, or hospitals can demonstrate points of access. Likewise, for studies using secondary data analysis having a description of how the team will gain access to the data is vital.

    Review: In addition to being reviewed by content experts, each proposal will be reviewed by representatives from both HRI and InCHIP to ensure that the projects align with the goals of the mechanism.

    Questions about your proposal? Please email Director of Research Training and Development, Grace Morris at grace.morris@uconn.edu or call 860-486-5393.

    Additional Information

    Definitions

    Social Justice and Health: Social justice emphasizes the need for just treatment, equal social status among people, and fairness in the distribution of rights, resources, and opportunities throughout society. Social and structural conditions directly or indirectly impact individuals' health. Therefore, a social justice approach to health emphasizes how rights, resources, and opportunities affect health and how health and healthcare are components of the broader dialogue around social justice, equality, and equity.

    Human Rights and Health: All humans have a right to health within the human rights framework. The right to health asserts that all humans are entitled to services and freedoms that enable them to attain the highest attainable mental and physical well-being and health status.

    Health Equity: Health inequities are population-level health differences in health outcomes that cannot be attributed to biology alone and therefore are unfair and unjust, in accordance with "internationally recognized ethical and human rights principles" (Braverman 2011). Health equity is a goal that seeks to eliminate health disparities and facilitate the ability for all individuals and communities to have equal opportunity to live long, healthy, and productive lives (NIMHD).

    External Funders

    Projects supported through this program may lead to external applications to a range of external funders and frameworks, including the following:

    • NIH: Many institutes fund work in this space, including NINR, NIMHD, NICHD, and NHLBI. NIMHD takes a multilevel approach to health disparities that may apply to applicants.
    • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Consistently offers funding in this space via their Culture of Health approach.
    • The American Center for Health Justice has a helpful list of ongoing funding opportunities in this space.
    • CDC: Healthy People 2030 takes a data-driven approach to address federal U.S. objectives for improving health disparities. This site is beneficial for getting a recent picture of the state of health equity in the U.S.
    • UN: The United Nations provides information and data and drives health and human rights initiatives worldwide.

    Potential Research Topics

    Potential Research Topics include but are not limited to studies that:

    • Research that explores and addresses contextual barriers that disparately impact health outcomes, such as feeling safe in one’s neighborhood or having access to transportation, clean air, or healthy food.
    • Research that explores the ways cultural, ideological, or social constructs and beliefs act as barriers, facilitators, or protective factors for communities that experience health disparities.
    • Research that emphasizes improving health literacy, access to primary healthcare, or access to or quality of healthcare more broadly.
    • Research that explores or measures the disparate impacts of policy on health outcomes (and the variables associated with health outcomes) across different populations.
    • Projects that emphasize training and developing clinical providers and students to be better advocates.
    • Research that explores human rights mobilization, social justice, or social movement-based approaches toward policy change around health issues such as vaccine policies, reproductive healthcare, or violence prevention.
    • Work that explores the relationship between public institutions, such as education or housing, as spaces of intervention, prevention, or resource allocation that could better serve specific populations.
    • Research that addresses environmental injustice and fosters resilience through identifying and engaging key stakeholders and disciplines in health equity-related research on climate change.
    • Projects that work toward developing community-based interventions and strategies that address structural racism and discrimination's impact on health.