Catalyzing innovative research and instruction on global development.
The Robert A. and Ruth E. Polson Institute for Global Development supports theoretical and applied social science research. We fund projects and working groups that address issues ranging from economic inequality to discursive politics, contributing to Cornell’s leadership in global development.
Established in 2001, the Polson Institute has enhanced and extended the efforts of the department members, creating space for collaboration within and between Global Development, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the Cornell University community. Through seminars, workshops, and grants we not only plant seeds for research and academic collaboration but contribute to educational opportunities for students outside of the classroom.
Since its inauguration in 2001, the Polson Institute has been helmed by a Director and Steering Committee drawn from the Department of Global Development. It works to support the research of faculty in the Department of Global Development and to help them build collaborations across and beyond the university through a series of programmatic initiatives that include, among others, a Small Grants Program, Research Working Groups, and a Visiting Faculty Program.
Professor of the Practice
Department of Global Development
Co-Director, Graduate Field of Global Development
Department of Global Development
About Ruth & Robert Polson
The Polson Institute for Global Development was named for Robert Polson (PhD, Wisconsin) and Ruth Polson (PhD, Cornell), former faculty of Cornell University and active community members. Robert Polson served as faculty member and Chair of the Rural Sociology department at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences during his 40-year Cornell career. During this time he acted as one of the founders of Cornell's International Agriculture Program. He was a respected leader in the Rural Sociology Society, the American Academy of Political and Social Science, and the American Sociological Association. Ruth Polson taught English and Music at Ithaca High School while completing her MS and PhD in English Literature. The establishment of the Institute reflects the commitment of its benefactors: to the community and international connections forged through collegial research, teaching, and the study of social change.
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240 Warren Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
The latest news, highlights and events with the Polson Institute
Polson Institute projects drive advancement in global development
Seven new grants funded by the Polson Institute for Global Development will advance Global Development’s signature strengths in wellbeing and inclusion; environmental sustainability; and food and nutritional security. The collaborations have a...
Gretchen Hanson , MPS ‘23 came to Cornell hoping to build on her international development implementation experience in agriculture and education. When the opportunity arose to spend a summer in Ghana, she did just that. With support from the...
The Polson Institute for Global Development welcomed urban geographer Nik Heynen as its inaugural Distinguished Speaker in the Fall 2023 semester. A Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Georgia...
The Polson Institute for Global Development announced its new Spring 2023 grants to support research at the intersection of Global Development’s signature strengths in wellbeing and inclusion; environmental sustainability; and food and...
The Polson Institute for Global Development announced its fall 2022 grants to support research at the intersection of systemic inequality and social-environmental justice.