UC-Davis offers professors $10,000 for ‘feminist research’

The University of California, Davis is offering professors grants of up to $10,000 to conduct research that employs “feminist ethics and methodologies.” 

The school’s Feminist Research Institute announced the Seed Grants program in a press release this month, which encouraged professors to apply for the grant money to conduct feminist-themed “transformative, trans-disciplinary research.”

“Projects should seek to realize the potential of feminism to ask new questions, develop new methodologies, provoke innovative practices, create new connections, collaborate with communities, and engage new audiences,” the call for proposals states.

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The grants—which appears to be funded through the taxpayer-funded general operating budget rather than private donors—have been offered annually by the Feminist Research Institute since the 2017-2018 academic year. 

Recent grants have funded projects like “Feminist Perspectives on Food Waste,” a project proposing a “Feminist Framework of Ethics for Genome Research,” and another exploring “Gendered and Racialized Epistemologies” in hospitals. 

Providing grants is one of the institute’s main functions, though it also hosts a few events per semester, including an upcoming one on “Feminist Design” and another on “feminist research.”

Unlike some other college research institutes, this one was founded directly by the university administration in 2016 to aid in the school’s vision to become a “global leader in research and technology transfer.” 

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Under the leadership of Kalindi Vora, a women’s studies professor, the institute aims to stimulate feminist-themed research in fields like engineering, law, social sciences, and economics, according to its mission statement. 

”I define personally feminist research as any type of research that dismantles the power between the research subjects and the researcher, and also with the goal to sort of promote change in a positive direction,” scholar-activist Georgiann Davis explained in a recent video in an effort to educate the public on what “feminist research” entails. 

In another video, Columbia University Sociology Professor Alondra Nelson framed feminist research as “research for social good.” 

”There’s a feminist ethic of empathy and understanding that I think really...should be at the center of what institutions are trying to do with regard to research,” she said, adding that researchers’ “feminist commitments” can allow such research to flourish. 

Campus Reform reached out to the Feminist Research Institute as well as the university for comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen