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MSU’s S3 Fuels Collaboration, Funds New Research

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Science and Society at State, or S3, a research program that supports scholarship across disciplines at Michigan State University, is funding eight new research teams working on topics as diverse as moths in the K-12 classroom to the use of dance to teach nuclear physics.

“S3 promotes collaboration between science studies scholars who use scholarship and approaches from the humanities or social sciences to study science with STEM faculty or health professionals,” said S3 director Georgina Montgomery. “These interdisciplinary collaborations are exactly the kind of projects funding agencies like NSF and NIH are keen to fund.”

S3 was created in 2014 by a small group of faculty, including three from Lyman Briggs College and one from the College of Education, to promote interdisciplinary research, grants and education.

The grassroots initiative now has funding from the Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, the Office of Outreach and Engagement, and 12 colleges across campus for a three-year pilot. Oversight is provided by a board of MSU scholars from various disciplines.

Along with funding, S3 manages a listserv that helps foster connections and communication, and create opportunities for new collaborations for interdisciplinary scholars at MSU.

The S3 Collaborative Grant Program provides seed money, about $10,000 per project, to MSU interdisciplinary collaborations working on external grant proposals. To be eligible, collaborative teams must include at least one MSU STEM faculty member or health professional and at least one MSU science studies faculty member.

Following are the eight projects funded by S3 this year.

  • Youth at Risk: Understanding Controversies Related to Children, Environment and Scientific Research
  • Music, Culture and Carnivores: Delving into the Past to Determine what Pre-Colonial Music Can Tell us of the Interactions of People and Carnivores in Africa
  • Psychiatric Interventions: Values and Public Attitudes
  • Development of an Intelligent Audio Journal Smartphone Application for Depression Detection
  • An Interactive Web-Based Platform for Promoting Public Engagement in the Scientific Process
  • The Dance of the Rare Isotope Beams
  • Harvesting Water: A Socio-Ecological Study of a Participatory Green Infrastructure in the U.S. Southwest
  • Learning Science by Doing Science: Project-based Learning through Urban Entomology

Opportunities to apply for S3 grants for 2016-2017 will be announced in the fall.

- Tom Oswald and Melanie Kauffman via MSU Today

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