Penn Announces Inaugural China Research and Engagement Fund Awards

University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann and Provost Vincent Price today announced the first recipients of the Penn China Research and Engagement Fund awards.

Established in March, over the next five years CREF will award up to $10 million in the form of matching research grants to Penn faculty to stimulate and support research activity and engagement in China.

“Penn’s China Research and Engagement Fund builds on the deep connections between Penn and China forged over nearly two centuries,” Gutmann said. “Advancing Penn’s dual mission of research and learning, the awards expand access to Penn's exceptional intellectual resources as one of the world’s leading research universities and strengthen collaborative relationships between Penn’s eminent scholars and researchers and our Chinese peers to spur innovative broad thinking in seeking real world solutions on issues that confront all societies.

“Penn’s engagement in China via research, academic and student exchanges and broad partnerships with Chinese institutions benefits Penn’s campus and community and enhances global understanding and discovery by bringing the world to Penn and Penn to the world.”

The inaugural Penn CREF grants, totaling nearly $3.8 million during the first three years of the fund, support 16 projects involving researchers across Penn’s 12 schools and also six centers and institutes which are working in collaboration with 35 Chinese institutional partners, as well as more than 10 organizations worldwide.

“Penn has a historic commitment to the integration of knowledge across disciplines,” Price said. “The complexity of global issues requires multidisciplinary solutions, especially for future challenges that are difficult to anticipate. These exciting projects demonstrate this breadth of expertise among our 12 schools, drawing their strength and innovation from perspectives that span diverse areas of inquiry.”

From "Prenatal Ambient Air Pollution and Fetal and Child Development in South China" to "Improving the Productive and Health Efficiency of the Chinese Dairy Industry," the CREF sponsored projects cover a broad array of issues from economic history to connections between health and the environment to improving treatment for disease to urbanization and the growth of cities in China to state-owned enterprise reform. The awards support visits to China by more than 100 faculty and students per year and deepen Penn’s understanding of China and collaboration with Chinese partners.

In addition to research-based proposals, there are three projects that expand Penn student programming in China, increasing the opportunity for Penn students to travel in and around China, as well as two new short-term global seminars to be held in China.

Penn’s connections in China include nearly 4,000 Penn alumni who currently live in China and Hong Kong and more than 10,000 alumni who live throughout Asia. Chinese students make up a large percentage of Penn’s international undergraduate and graduate student population on campus, and annually Penn sends many students to China for study abroad programs and internship exchanges. At present Penn, has 180 faculty members with more than 275 projects in or relating to China.

The CREF awards represent another major milestone in Penn’s engagement in China following the opening of the Penn Wharton China Center in Beijing in March. The Center provides logistical support for research, academic and student exchanges and for broad partnerships with China, as well as events and symposia on important academic topics for students, faculty and alumni.

As another opportunity to connect with alumni in China, the University will convene the annual Silfen Forum in Beijing. Named for David Silfen, a 1966 Penn alumnus, and his wife, Lyn, the forum will bring together world-renowned figures in conversation with Gutmann to reflect on the roles of China and the United States in the world.

A Chinese version of this news release is here.

About the University of Pennsylvania (夕法尼大学)

The University of Pennsylvania was founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1740 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the United States. Penn is also home to America’s first medical school, its first teaching hospital and its first collegiate business school. Today, Penn’s 12 undergraduate, graduate and professional schools make up a diverse community of more than 20,000 students from across the United States and around the world. Ranked consistently among the top 10 universities in the nation, Penn has a longstanding reputation for excellence in graduate and professional education, with several of these ranked at or near the top in their fields. Penn is a member of the Ivy League, a group of eight American universities that have common interests in scholarship as well as in athletics. Penn is a leading research university, supporting basic research across disciplines to foster innovation and discovery in alignment with Penn’s mission to improve local, national and global communities.

About the Penn Wharton China Center (PWCC)

The Penn Wharton China Center (宾大沃顿中国中心) was founded by the University of Pennsylvania (宾夕法尼亚大学) and the Wharton School (宾夕法尼亚大学沃顿商学院) through the University’s China-based affiliate, to enhance the university’s many important connections in China. By serving as a vibrant gathering place and valuable resource in China, the PWCC will help Penn enhance its learning and research opportunities ultimately to the benefit of our faculty, students, alumni, and friends. Located in Beijing, the Penn Wharton China Center capitalizes on more than a hundred years of broad, deep engagement in China across Penn and at Wharton.

About the Wharton School (夕法尼大学沃商学院)

Founded in 1881 as the first collegiate business school, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is recognized globally for intellectual leadership and ongoing innovation across every major discipline of business education. With a broad global community and one of the most published business school faculties, Wharton creates economic and social value around the world. The School has 5,000 undergraduate, MBA, executive MBA, and doctoral students; more than 9,000 annual participants in executive education programs; and a powerful alumni network of 93,000 graduates.

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Amanda Mott
University of Pennsylvania

Jingjing Zhang
Brunswick Group

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