Rutgers University Awarded One of Ten Grants From U.S. Government to Support International Collaboration on Global Issues

The grant of nearly $250,000 is one of ten awarded to U.S.-led partnerships by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It will support a new two-year research partnership between Rutgers University and University of Reading in the UK and Chongqing University in China that aims to investigate the impact of ambient air pollution on indoor air quality, particularly in China where air pollution is an emerging issue. 

Thirteen research partnerships that were led by UK institutions, and included a U.S. partner, were awarded grants funded by the British Government and the British Council.

Dr. Zhihua (Tina) Fan from Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine (DEOM) will be the Principal Investigator and Dr. Howard Kipen from DEOM will be the co-Principal Investigator on this project, joined by Runming Rao at University of Reading, UK and Baizhan Li from Chongqing University, China.  The Rutgers University project will investigate the impact of ambient air pollution on indoor exposure through both a direct effect and an indirect effect on indoor air chemistry, and whether exposure can be modified by the use of commercial air cleaners. It will also provide education and training to the engineering faculty, staff and students from both Chongqing University and the University of Reading about exposure science methodology, individual and public health implications, and community outreach, and built environment to Rutgers University members through workshops, seminars and exchange of students/scholars.

Rutgers University and its partners have committed to supporting this project with additional resources, to maximize the leverage of the State Department grant. This support includes personnel efforts, equipment, etc., with a total cost share amount of  ~$350,000.

The goals of the Global Innovation Initiative are to raise the bar for international collaboration while developing a new cadre of globally-savvy individuals, enhancing global research capacity, strengthening higher education institutional cooperation, and promoting the benefits of multilateral partnerships. The Rutgers University project will support these goals by directly addressing the effects of environmental air pollution on indoor air quality, critical to public health given surging air pollution in China. Implementation of the study will strengthen the already growing collaboration among these partners from US/UK/China, and foster an increase in the long-term capacity of Rutgers University, University of Reading in the UK, and Chongqing University in China to conduct indoor and outdoor air pollution and associated health effects research in the future.

The initiative is funded by the U.S. Department of State, UK Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and the British Council, which also serves as the implementing partner in the UK. In the United States, the Institute of International Education is implementing the grant program in partnership with the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Two parallel, but separate grant competitions were offered in the U.S. and UK, with an institution from either country taking the lead on the partnership. Each of the multilateral collaborations was required to include a partner from Brazil, China, India or Indonesia in addition to institutions from the U.S. and the UK, in recognition of the growing contribution of these nations to the global knowledge economy and to solving issues of global importance.

The Global Innovation Initiative was announced by Secretary of State John Kerry and UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, and formally launched in October 2013 by Rt Hon. David Willetts MP, UK Minister for Universities and Science.

More information about the competition can be found on the Global Innovation Initiative’s website.

Additional background language and quotes:

The Global Innovation Initiative was created to support multilateral research collaboration to address global challenges, in keeping with the vision of U.S. President Barack Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s joint statements in 2011 and 2012.

Evan Ryan, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, stated, “The U.S. and UK share a long and rich history of higher education collaboration, and both countries have also benefitted from partnering individually with counterparts in Brazil, India, Indonesia and China. The Global Innovation Initiative will foster new multilateral partnerships in the conviction that major global issues such as climate change, food security, urbanization, and public health require expertise from and collaboration among these key countries.”

At the London launch on 8 October at Lancaster House, Rt Hon. David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science, remarked that “while the strong partnership between the UK and the U.S. is a solid foundation from which to find solutions to some of today’s global challenges, we believe a multilateral approach through collaboration offers another dimension in finding these solutions.  The Global Innovation Initiative provides a platform to build multilateral collaboration on science, innovation and higher education.  We are looking forward to exploring new areas of partnership with the U.S, not only between ourselves as the two global leaders in science, innovation and higher education, but also with other countries important to our future economic success.”

Rutgers University: Emmeline Crowley, (848)932-4027, emily.crowley@rutgers.edu
Institute of International Education: Sharon Witherell, (212) 984-5380, switherell@iie.org
U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs: ECA-Press@state.gov
British Council: GII@britishcouncil.org


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