The Global Knowledge Initiative (GKI) is proud to announce that we are beginning a third year of working with the Academy for Global Engagement (AGE) Fellowship Program at Michigan State University (MSU). AGE, which was created in 2013, seeks to enhance MSU’s global profile and impact by building the strengths and networks of a group of faculty members engaged in global activities. Since 2014, GKI has supported AGE by helping Fellows better understand their challenges, more effectively communicate about their research, and build a network of partners who support their efforts and impact.
Each year, the AGE fellowship program selects outstanding early-career, tenure-track faculty from the University’s College of Engineering and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and provides these Fellows with a faculty mentor and extensive training and support. The cohort participates in monthly seminars, receives financial support for travel and research, and builds international networks. Through this innovative partnership, GKI provides skills-building and mentoring support, and provides feedback on how Fellows communicate their work.
Early in the fellowship process GKI leads the cohort through a series of activities intended to help them communicate the core challenge they are working to solve, and explore elements of their research challenge that they may not have considered. After months of honing the way they “pitch” their research to potential partners and funders, GKI then welcomes the cohort to an autumn training in Washington, DC to develop and refine their pitches before meeting with policymakers, funders, and research partners. The cohort has the opportunity to meet and communicate with potential partners including USAID, the National Science Foundation, and the World Bank. In the past two years alone, the fellows have acquired approximately $21 million for their research; a good portion of this funding has come from connections made in Washington, DC.
Ultimately, the fellowship program is designed to further MSU’s commitment to engage globally with the major challenges of today and tomorrow by enabling professors to critically take on international priorities and develop innovative solutions. Past fellows have worked on issues ranging from access to clean water to skin cancer, contributing research to the development of low-cost energy solutions and new transportation technologies, among many other initiatives. Through this process, they have the potential to gain greater international impact, additional funding, international partners, and confidence in discussing their work. As 2014 fellow Dr. Wen Li said about her DC experience, “It has opened the doors of opportunities for reaching out to program managers who never answered emails or calls. The ‘pitch’ practice has broken the barriers to reframing my research ideas.”
GKI hopes that each of the 2016 Fellows has a similarly positive experience, and looks forward to working with them as they begin to map out their research strategies to address global priorities!
- Contributors: Serena Gobbi and Andrew Gerard