The University of Florida this week launched the Racial Justice Research Fund and staked it with $400,000 to support research and scholarships to build understanding of the Black experience, racial justice, diversity, equity and inclusion.
The announcement follows UF President Kent Fuchs’ June pledge that the flagship university would use the 2020-2021 academic year to focus on the Black experience, racism and inequity.
Developed jointly by UF Research and Chief Diversity Officer Antonio Farias, the fund is designed to support that effort by encouraging and supporting research and scholarship that underscores and advances racial justice at the university.
“My hope is that this kind of funding leverages UF’s multidisciplinary research strengths to develop solutions to the many health, education and economic disparities that affect people of color, on our campus, in our country, and around the world,” said David Norton, UF’s vice president for research.
Faculty across the university the institution may submit proposals for grants ranging from $15,000 to $75,000.
The application window is open through Sept. 28. Proposals will be go before a diverse and interdisciplinary faculty committee, with Norton and Farias will have final approval for all projects.
“The way to create sustainable change that leads to equitable racial outcomes is by valuing and funding scholarship on race and equity in the academy,” Farias said.
“It gives me hope when I see the power of research at UF unabashedly take on racial justice. We expect these projects to be catalysts for wider interdisciplinary efforts underway to diversify our STEM faculty, understand implicit bias and remove barriers to success.”
Juan Gilbert, Banks Preeminent Professor and chair of UF’s computer and information science and engineering department and a national leader on race in the academy, added: “Racial injustice, racism and discrimination have haunted our nation for centuries, and we are still dealing with it in 2020. We must support research in this area to address this very difficult problem. What better place than UF to launch this initiative and make progress toward solutions for racial injustice?”