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Seed funding announced for new cluster proposals

Lehigh’s cluster hiring initiative gained steam this fall when the Office of the Provost granted seed funding to four new cluster development proposals.

The four cluster areas are Integrated Healthcare Delivery, Cognitive Neuroscience, Global Islamic Studies and Sustainable Development. These new areas of interest join the existing clusters in Integrated Networks for Electricity and Africana Studies.

  • Integrated Healthcare Delivery: The greatest single challenge in healthcare is the healthcare delivery system, which is poorly managed, inefficient and unsustainably effective. This cluster focuses on fixing the system by integrating healthcare incentives with IT-enabled engineering systems. It includes faculty from industrial and systems engineering, computer science and engineering, management and economics.

  • Cognitive Neuroscience: Cognitive neuroscience is an emerging scientific frontier that has already reshaped behavioral science. This cluster focuses on the cognitive neuroscience of the complex, high-level processes involving coordination of multiple inter-communicating brain areas. It includes faculty from psychology and computer science and engineering.

  • Global Islamic Studies: One in four people worldwide is Muslim and Islam is the fastest-growing religion. But even at a time when Islam and the Muslim world are central to our geopolitical, cultural and social landscapes, ignorance of the religion is at an all-time high. This cluster aims to close this knowledge gap by strengthening the existing work of the Center for Global Islamic Studies, which is funded by a temporary grant.

  • Sustainable Development: As economic progress marches on around the world, it is essential that the global environment is preserved. This cluster will apply science, technology, and sound environmental, political and policy thinking to develop a cooperative international practice in support of sustainable development. It will integrate the science and policy dimensions, with an explicit focus on sustainability.

Each of the proposals received up to $8,000 for development. This funding will be used for a wide range of purposes, from bringing a speaker to Lehigh to sending faculty to a conference to helping support a post-doctoral student.

“These areas for cluster development span a significant portion of the intellectual spectrum of the Lehigh campus,” says Provost Patrick V. Farrell.

“Faculty groups have developed a number of very creative ideas, and these development grants are intended to help develop those ideas so they will be able to work as effective clusters around important ideas now, and so that those groups who choose can be more competitive in further Lehigh cluster competitions. The awards are modest in size, but may be very important in helping develop perspective, scope and areas of focus for the clusters.”


Each of the six clusters under development is designed to provide the critical mass necessary to impact important new areas of scholarship, teaching and research. In addition to spurring research, the clusters host regular events that are open to the broader campus community.

The next of these events is a daylong workshop on Friday, Jan. 20, 2012, entitled “Toward the Smart Grid: Exploring the flow of electricity, information, and money in advanced power networks.” You can find more about it online.

Story by Emily Groff

Posted on Friday, December 16, 2011

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