Monday, April 4, 2022
International Programs

Since 2018, the Global Research Partnership Award has existed to combine the University of Iowa’s global mission and research mission, while providing seed funding to help UI departments and faculty initiate new, or expand existing, international partnerships that add value to and help advance research and discovery at the university.

“With this award, we are working to foster a deep, extensive partnership between our faculty at Iowa and partners abroad,” said Russ Ganim, associate provost and dean of International Programs at the University of Iowa. “The award is yet another example of the outstanding level of commitment and support from the Stanley-University of Iowa Foundation Support Organization that provides unique opportunities for global engagement at Iowa.”

Two Global Research Partnership Awards are available annually for up to $10,000 each. All full-time University of Iowa faculty are eligible to apply, including instructional track faculty. Consideration is given to projects that seek to develop a sustainable research relationship by laying the groundwork for future external funding. Due to funding held over from the previous year because of COVID-19, awards were given to support four projects in 2021. Award recipients include:

  • Ethan Anderson, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences and experimental therapeutics in the UI College of Pharmacy, is the team lead for a project titled, Iowa-Italy Scholar Exchange Program, and received a GRPA award of up to $10,000.
  • Emily Finzel, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is the team lead for a project titled, Characterizing Surface-mantle Interactions in Ancient Deepwater Successions, Northern and Central Apennines, and Italy, and received a GRPA award of up to $7,000.
  • Stephanie Gilbertson-White, associate professor of nursing in the UI College of Nursing, is the team lead for a project titled, Interprofessional Collaboration in Palliative Care, and received a GRPA award of up to $7,000.
  • Elizabeth Stone, professor of chemistry in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is the team lead for a project titled, Advancing Australian-American Partnerships for Atmospheric Chemistry Research, and received a GRPA award of up to $10,000.
Emily Finzel & Student
Emily Finzel and a UI student conducting research in Italy in 2019

Emily Finzel, one of four 2021 award recipients, has conducted research documenting the evolution of mountain building and changing landscapes in central Italy that are a consequence of mantle transitions hypothesized for the Mediterranean region.

“The purpose of this research is to resolve the interplay between mantle dynamics and surface geologic processes that is preserved in the rock record of Apennine sedimentary basins in central Italy,” said Finzel. “This project will further develop a sustainable research relationship by laying the groundwork for external funding. Funding provided by the Global Research Partnership Award was used to gather data to strengthen a revised NSF proposal. New partnership agreements with the University of Calgary, located in in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and the University of Parma, located in Parma, Italy, were developed in tangent with the proposal application and will bolster ongoing and future collaborations among myself and my faculty contacts at those institutions.”

The award is yet another example of the outstanding level of commitment and support from the Stanley-University of Iowa Foundation Support Organization that provides unique opportunities for global engagement at Iowa.

- Russ Ganim

The GRPA was designed to allow faculty to do field work, conduct research, and travel if needed, all while building relationships with partners abroad and working to secure future funding for ongoing research and partnerships.

“Often times, the seed money demonstrates a commitment from the University of Iowa which allows faculty to apply for larger grants and be competitive on a national or international scale,” explained Ganim.

In the case of Finzel’s project, a proposal was submitted twice to the National Science Foundation (NSF) Tectonics program, and both times it was ranked ‘competitive’, but below the level of available funding. Feedback shared with Finzel revealed that one major item of concern was the lack of pilot data for the proposal.

“Since the second proposal was submitted in winter 2020, we have generated new heavy mineral and whole rock geochemical datasets using samples collected in 2019,” said Finzel. “Acquisition of this last set of data, using funding from the GRPA, will significantly bolster the third submission of the proposal and address what the program officer has identified as the primary hindrance to NSF funding. Since the GRPA was awarded, we have been able to acquire the new data and submitted a revised NSF proposal in March 2022.

If NSF funding is received for Finzel’s project as a result of the GRPA award, then other UI faculty members will be involved in the research in the future, including co-principal investigator, Ted Neal, clinical professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning in the UI College of Education, who would assist with the implementation and assessment of broader impacts of the research that focus on developing skills for Master of Arts in teaching in science education students and professional development opportunities for Iowa’s in-service science teachers.

“We hope to travel back to Italy in fall 2022 and include a PhD student and one or two undergraduate students in collecting additional samples,” said Finzel.

Ganim expressed gratitude for the Stanley-University of Iowa Foundation Support Organization, as the generosity from the organization allows the Global Research Partnership Award to provide opportunities for faculty and students - as well as graduate and professional students - to engage in research opportunities abroad; this is especially true of Ethan Anderson's project. Anderson, a 2021 award recipient, has worked alongside other UI faculty members in ongoing collaboration efforts with faculty at the University of Milan School of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Milan, Italy, with the hope to establish an Iowa-Italy Scholar Exchange Program between the two institutions.

Ethan Anderson
Ethan Anderson in his lab in late 2020

"We are using the GRPA to support our faculty here at the University of Iowa for travel to Italy where they will present their research and explain training opportunities that exist here at Iowa, and for our faculty to see the opportunities that exist at the University of Milan," said Anderson. "The award has allowed for College of Pharmacy faculty here at Iowa to offer trainees in the college an opportunity to spend time training in a laboratory at the University of Milan, to learn skills and techniques that could not otherwise be learned here at Iowa."

It is Anderson's hope that an Iowa-Italy Exchange Program between the two institutions can become a formal program that allows for at least one trainee researcher (a graduate student or postdoctoral fellow) from each institution to train in a partner lab in the other country, for years into the future.

Apply for a Global Research Partnership Award

To apply for a 2022 Global Research Partnership Award, submit applications online by October 15, 2022. Funding may be used to develop shared or collaborative degree programs, fund student rotations/lab internships, gather data, and other activities that provide a platform for cultivating a long-term research relationship. Funding must be spent or encumbered by the end of December of the calendar year following the application year.