Transdisciplinary Challenge Award

With ongoing funding from Chancellor Michael Lovell, and an initial two-year contribution from the Graduate School, the Center for 21st Century Studies’ Transdisciplinary Challenge Award encourages collaborative research projects that bring together UWM researchers from our traditional constituencies in the humanities, arts, and humanistic social sciences with researchers from natural, physical, and quantitative social sciences.

This initiative is designed to prompt researchers from any disciplinary background to think in unexpected and untried ways about working with researchers in disciplines whose methodology, content, and institutional practices are unfamiliar to them. Although this is not the kind of research with which most academics have experience, we are convinced that this kind of research will become increasingly prevalent and necessary in the 21st century. The aim of this award is not only to generate new research approaches to the complex problems of the 21st century but also to provide models for how researchers from disciplines that do not have a history of collaboration can work together to meet the complex, heterogeneous challenges of the 21st century.

2014-15 Transdisciplinary Challenge

UWM faculty and academic staff have two opportunities to participate in the Transdisciplinary Challenge program. Please consult the Call for Fellows and Request for Projects below:

Call for Fellows: Seminar and Workshop Series (One Semester)

This seminar is meant to bring together researchers from different disciplines and different methodological perspectives working on a common topic or problem in order to further transdisciplinary knowledge of that topic, and to promote transdisciplinary collaboration and research across UWM. The seminar theme for 2014 is LANGUAGE.

Application deadline: January 31, 2014

Request for Projects: Transdisciplinary Challenges for the 21st Century (One Year)

A substantive one-year award will be made to a collaborative research project which brings together UWM researchers from the Center’s traditional constituencies in the humanities, arts, and humanistic social sciences with researchers from natural, physical, and quantitative social sciences. Other smaller awards may be given to encourage promising projects for future development. The award will target project start dates near July 1, 2014. Milestones:

Informational Meeting/Statement of Interest | December 6, 2013

Pre-Proposals Due | January 17, 2014

Proposals Due | February 28, 2014

Previous awardees are listed below:


Seminar and Workshop Series

To assist UWM researchers to break out of their professional constraints in order to develop research questions and methods that combine seemingly incompatible disciplines in new and productive ways

Participating in the 2013 Seminar and Workshop Series are the following Transdisciplinary Challenge fellows:

Shannon Chavez-Korell (Educational Psychology)
Kamran Diba (Psychology)
Rina Ghose (Geography)
Scott Graham (English)
Amy Harley (Public Health)
Sang-Yeon Kim (Communication)
Rina Kundu (Art and Design)
Simon Mu (Information Studies)
Patricia Torres Najera (Center for Urban Initiatives and Research)
Nelva Olin (United Community Center)
Ramin Pashaie (Engineering)
Nathaniel Stern (Art and Design)
Marc Tasman (Journalism, Advertising, and Media Studies)

The Seminar and Workshop Series will include visits from a number of outstanding transdisciplinary researchers from outside of UWM, including Oron Catts (Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts, University of Western Australia), Robert Markley (English, University of Illinois), Irene Klaver (Philosophy, University of North Texas), and Sai Suryan (Community and Environmental Sociology, UW-Madison). These researchers will participate in the seminar and work one-on-one with the Transdisciplinary Fellows to develop research proposals for a 2014-15 Transdisciplinary Challenge project.


21st Century Voices: Synthesized Speech in the Third Millennium

Yi Hu (Electrical Engineering and Computer Design)

Shelley Lund (Communication Sciences and Disorders)

Patricia Mayes (English)

Heather Warren-Crow (Art and Design)

$200,000 in total funding, over two years

“When ‘Speech’ Is Not a ‘Voice,’” UWM feature story


Intention and Attention: Transmodernism and Integration in Human Movement Studies

Wendy Huddleston (Kinesiology)

Luc Vanier (Dance)

$50,000 in total funding, over two years, to further develop the proposal, find additional scholars to contribute to the project (especially in neuroscience), and to begin pursuing the research

"Exploring Movement and the Mind," UWM feature story


Escaping Flatland: (Re-)Writing the Histories, Geographies, and Borderland Ecologies of Water

Manu Sobti (Architecture and Urban Planning)

Timothy J. Ehlinger (Biological Sciences)

Ryan B. Holifield (Geography)

$300,000 in total funding, over two years

"A Model for Managing Resources across Borders," UWM feature story

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