Five Law School Faculty Members Among Recipients of University’s Grand Challenges Grants

October 3, 2016

Executive vice president and provost Karen Hanson has announced that the University of Minnesota’s first Grand Challenges Grants, totaling $3.6 million in support, have been awarded to 29 teams of faculty from across the Twin Cities campus. The interdisciplinary teams include five principal investigators (PIs) from the Law School faculty: Professors Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Myron Orfield, Hari Osofsky, Francis Shen, and Susan Wolf. Working in alignment with Driving Tomorrow, the campus’s overarching strategic plan, the teams will address critical challenges facing Minnesota and the world.

The 29 two-year projects, selected through a multi-tiered faculty-based review process, are intended to capitalize on existing University research strengths and to break new ground in addressing five key areas: Assuring clean water and sustainable ecosystems; fostering just and equitable communities; enhancing individual and community capacity for a changing world; feeding the world sustainably; and advancing health through tailored solutions.

“The areas of focus for the funded collaborations are wide-ranging—e.g., high-tech strategies to mitigate water pollution, understanding the human stories behind the global immigration crisis, and precision medicine to fight cancer,” Provost Hanson said in her statement. “In the aggregate, the project teams draw on the expertise of faculty from every college and school on the campus—as well as Extension, the Institute on the Environment, the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute, and Athletics.”

Law School faculty members are co-PIs for the following projects:

Fionnuala Ní Aoláin: “Establishing a human rights collaborative and faculty/student human rights laboratory to promote an equitable civil society.” Professors Jennifer Green, Stephen Meili, and Christopher Roberts are members of the project team.

Myron Orfield: “Assessing interventions for justice and equity.”

Hari Osofsky: “Shared leadership lab: Analyzing success factors to address complex societal challenges.”

Francis Shen: “Toward a Minnesota model for brain health in youth sports.”

Susan Wolf: “Minnesota Precision Medicine Collaborative: Transforming health and advancing equity.”

The complete list of Grand Challenges projects can be found here.

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