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HACU Member Advisory

HACU seeks four researchers for food security research project

December 1, 2017 

The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), in partnership with the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO), and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Illinois), invite submissions for participation in an NSF-funded project designed to leverage a diverse community of researchers to develop innovative research projects around the topic of food security. The primary objective of this effort is to build a diverse collaborative community to produce innovative research proposals to be submitted to funding agencies in mid-2019.

Each partner organization is seeking four representative participants. These persons can be at the level of graduate students (senior level), early stage faculty, or postdoctoral scholars in any field relevant to food & water security research. Each is expected to participate in:

1. a 2.5 day workshop at NCSA February 23-25, 2018, to engage in a structured collaboration process designed to stimulate the production of research ideas;

2. a several month "gestation" period during which self-identified sub-groups will develop research ideas into grant proposals; and,

3. a second workshop in late May 2018 designed to crystallize the research proposals for submission to funding agencies.

Representatives from funding agencies and established researchers in food & water security will be involved throughout this process to facilitate team and proposal development. Travel and lodging costs for the workshops will be covered with grant resources.

The sixteen scholars selected for participation in the process will represent a diversity of academic disciplines, races, ethnicities, genders, geographies, and institutions. The project seeks to create a community of scholars who can support one another in generating exciting new ideas for research on food & water security.

Participants will be selected on the basis of:

  • Research promise
  • Interest in food security research
  • Ability to collaborate positively with a research team diverse in terms of disciplinary, research, and life experiences
  • Institutional support for growing research interest and capacity 

A letter of recommendation/support from the applicant's department chair, dean and/or academic vice president/provost will be required along with each application. Please submit your letter via email to:

Applicants should also be willing to participate in a research component of the project that will involve interviews and surveys to capture their experiences with the community.

The project proposal summarizes the aim thus:

This project draws on social scientific research to implement a platform designed to stimulate interdisciplinary idea development from ideation through proposal preparation. It attempts to structure this process so that individuals from widely disparate cultural, educational, and disciplinary backgrounds can collaborate in developing creative and potentially transformational projects addressing scientific grand challenges. As such, it offers a comprehensive approach, which goes beyond techniques that offer procedural support for only some phases of the process. It also brings together scholars from at least four groups of equal sizes with substantively different backgrounds in terms of life experience and culture, enabling us to assess the hypothesis that this will stimulate creative/transformational thinking beyond that achieved by groups with more homogeneous composition.

Applications are due by December 15, 2017. We plan to notify participants of their acceptances shortly after the first of the year. 

If you have any questions, please contact Will Barley at:

To apply, please visit: