Polson Institute Grant Opportunities for 2022-23

The Polson Institute for Global Development is pleased to announce grants that enhance the signature strengths of the Department of Global Development and promote collaborations among faculty, research and extension staff and students. We are especially interested in proposals that promote research at the intersection of systemic inequality and social-environmental justice, and that focus on the advancement of global development as a critical, innovative and participatory practice.


Designed to provide seed funding for collaborative research, teaching or extension, or support speakers and workshops.

  • Range of award: $500 - $5,000
  • Activities: seed grants to support new research, extension or teaching collaborations, including field work, or host speakers and workshops. 

Designed to promote engagement across Global Development's Signature Strengths in areas of wellbeing and inclusion, environmental sustainability, and food and nutritional security.

  • Range of award: $5,000 to $18,000
  • Activities: seed grants for new research, extension and teaching initiatives. Must promote collaboration and include a conference or workshop that benefits the broader Global Development Department.

Designed to promote sustained, cooperative research activity and reading groups in substantive and methodological research areas of interest to students and faculty in the Department of Global Development.

  • Range of award: $1,000 to $3,000/yr, maximum 3 years.
  • Activities: RWGs typically meet to discuss books and other readings and develop a common project around a research theme. When RWGs extend into a second year, possible activities include: holding an international conference; preparing a proposal for obtaining funding for a collaborative research project; preparing curricular or other pedagogical materials to enhance teaching in a particular area of global development; publishing a co-authored or co-edited book; preparing outreach-oriented or policy-related materials that build bridges between academic scholarship on development and public policy or program administration


    Proposals must be led by research, teaching or extension faculty in the Department of Global Development. Collaborations with students, faculty in other departments and the broader development community are encouraged.


    • Proposal: The maximum proposal length is 1,000 words, and should contain a title, 150 word abstract (suitable for publication on the Polson Institute website), clear description of the project objectives, main tasks, collaborators and potential outcomes.
    • Budget: A short description of budget and justification. Polson funds can be used for travel, workshops, research expenses (including students). Faculty and staff salary support, fringes and overhead are not allowed, except for soft funded personnel.
    • Period of activity: All funds must be used within one year of the award date. A six-month no-cost extension may be requested by submitting a summary of accomplishments as well as a plan and timeline for completion of the remaining activities. Unused funds will be returned to the Polson Institute.
    • Review Criteria: The Polson Institute Steering Committee will review all requests and assess proposals on their contribution to the signature strengths of our department. Proposals will be reviewed on several criteria, including the clarity of the proposed activities and outcomes, prospects for new contributions to the literature and for external funding, and the project’s wider benefits to the department. Proposals are encouraged to engage students, partners across the university and in the broader development community.
    • Sharing Results: All grant recipients must provide a written report on their work (for communications and for academic publications). Recipients are encouraged to offer a departmental seminar and make their events open to the broader department.

    Email as a combined PDF to polsoninstitute [at] cornell.edu


    • Fall semester: deadline Oct. 14; awards announced by the end of November.
    • Spring semester: deadline March 15; awards announced by the end of April.

    The Polson Institute for Global Development reflects the commitment of its benefactors, former faculty Ruth and Robert Polson, to the community and international connections forged through collegial research, teaching, and the study of social change.


    Feel free to contact members of the Polson Institute Steering Committee.

    Mildred Warner headshot
    Mildred Warner

    Professor, City and Regional Planning, AAP


    Department of Global Development

    Director, Polson Institute for Global Development

    Department of Global Development

    Mildred Warner
    Rebecca Nelson
    Rebecca Nelson


    School of Integrative Plant Science

    Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology Section

    Plant Breeding and Genetics Section


    Department of Global Development

    Rebecca Nelson
    Genetics of quantitative disease resistance in plants
    International agriculture and rural development
    Mycotoxin management
    Heidi Mouillesseaux-Kunzman headshot
    Heidi Mouillesseaux-Kunzman

    Engaged Learning Coordinator

    Department of Global Development

    Education Minor Director

    Department of Global Development

    Heidi Mouillesseaux-Kunzman
    Community development
    Civic engagement
    Engaged learning and research
    Jack Zinda headshot
    John Zinda

    Assistant Professor

    Department of Global Development

    John Zinda
    Environmental sociology
    Risk and disaster
    Political ecology