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Seed Grant Program

Faculty can apply for funds to support innovative research and collaborative conferences.

  • Spring Grants

Program Overview

The next round of funding will open Fall 2024

All PI-eligible Cornell faculty in the social sciences are eligible to apply for these awards. Those not already affiliated with CCSS will be required to affiliate when they apply.

Research Grants

The primary goal of CCSS Seed Grants is to jump-start research. We are particularly interested in funding projects likely to lead to external funding, collaborations with other Cornell faculty, or other outcomes, such as completing a book project, new analysis for an R&R at a prominent journal, or a project with substantial policy impact. We also support research by faculty teams spanning social science disciplines or units and interdisciplinary projects led or co-led by social scientists. Maximum award of $12,000.

Conference/Workshop Grants

Interdisciplinary conferences/workshops that are eligible for funding are those that are held at Cornell, open to all Cornell faculty members, and openly publicized. Maximum award of $5,000.

Have the following information ready to paste into the application portal: 

  • Name, title, departmental and college affiliation

  • Co-PIs (if you have a Co-PI, you must specify a lead PI)

  • Proposal title

  • Total dollar amount requested

  • Proposal type: research or conference

  • Provide your plan for data replication and archiving or a brief statement explaining why archiving is not possible (see the CCSS data archiving policy here)

  • Pre-registration of experiments, if applicable

  • IRB attestation if human subjects will be used

  • Resubmission: Is this proposal a resubmission to the CCSS? If yes, please discuss your revisions in the proposal narrative.

  • Proposal narrative that is double spaced and no more than five pages in length (see guidelines below). The narrative should include replication details (see above).

  • Budget and budget justification (see guidelines below)

  • CV for the PI, as well as CVs for up to two additional investigators (maximum three pages each) 

    • Each CV should list the researcher’s education, major appointments, and most significant publications, presentations, grants, and honors.

Proposal narrative guidelines:

  • Should not exceed five pages, should be double-spaced, 12-point font

  • A one-paragraph “publication ready” abstract (45 words max.) for posting on the CCSS website if the project is funded.

  • A comprehensive description of proposed activities and their significance, including details about the research design (if applicable)

  • Data archiving/replicability plan or a brief statement explaining why archiving is not possible (see CCSS data archiving policy for more info)

  • Plan of future activities with dates corresponding to major outputs (grant submission deadlines, book draft due date, publication draft submission goals)

  • Plans for pursuing additional funding (including a link to RFP), if any

Budget justification guidelines:

  • Total funding amount requested

  • List of the individual expenses and a brief explanation of each expense 

  • The budget justification does not count against the five-page-long narrative length limit

  • The budget can include replication expenses

Optional:

  • A brief bibliography (under one page)

  • A brief sample survey or portion of a survey instrument may be included as an appendix and will not count against the narrative page length

For more information, see the frequently asked questions tab. If you have a question, contact socialsciences@cornell.edu

Funding

The maximum small grant award is $12,000. Faculty that have received a previous CCSS Seed Grant research award are eligible for another research award two years after their most recent award. Research grant awardees can submit a conference grant proposal within the two-year wait period, and conference grant awardees can submit a research proposal within the two-year wait period. Likewise, there is a two-year wait period to submit a conference proposal after receiving a CCSS grant conference award.

CCSS approval is required for the principal investigator to reallocate more than 25 percent of the funds at any point after the award is issued; please contact socialsciences@cornell.edu. Funds not used within two years are returned to the CCSS for reallocation to other small grant awardees unless an extension is granted. In the event that the principal investigator resigns from Cornell, the remaining funds are to be returned to the CCSS.

The CCSS and the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation at Cornell University provide the funding for the CCSS grant program.

Data Archiving Policy

CCSS is committed to ensuring that research and data are open and available to support cumulative gains in social scientific knowledge. All CCSS-funded projects must provide a statement describing plans to archive data and/or replication materials in an appropriate and permanent archive, such as CCSS’s Data & Reproduction Archive, the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, or the Qualitative Data Repository (QDR), or a brief statement explaining why archiving is not possible. In addition, CCSS are members of the Qualitative Data Repository and ICPSR, which provides access to their curation services. CCSS’s complete archiving and replication policy can be found here. We encourage applicants and grantees to consult with one of CCSS’s Data Archive Specialists, regarding any questions. 

IRB

If your project will require an IRB, you must receive approval before engaging in the research and provide it to your departmental finance liaison before drawing down funds from your award. 

Eligible activities

CCSS grants support direct research expenses. Examples include the costs of collecting data, participant incentives, traveling to and from research or training sites, data replication and archiving costs, meetings with collaborators or potential funders, undergraduate or hourly graduate research assistance (summer grad RA stipends are also acceptable) supporting the faculty project, and specialized hardware or software necessary to conduct the research.

Examples of expenses ineligible for a CCSS grant award are publication fees or other costs associated with disseminating research (e.g., conference travel), faculty and/or Cornell staff salaries, travel costs for caregivers (for such funding, see here), and general-use hardware or software. We also do not pay for training, such as on an econometric technique. We cannot support undergraduate or graduate student research projects with faculty CCSS grant funds.

Review Process

Each research project application with a budget above $5,000 is reviewed by three Cornell social science faculty members who have submitted within the same round (but are not in the applicant’s department). Every applicant will be asked to review 3-5 applications in the pool. The reviews must be completed by the deadline, or CCSS will disqualify the reviewing candidate’s application for funds. CCSS will internally review research proposals with budgets below $5,000.  

Acknowledging CCSS

For projects selected for funding, please acknowledge the Cornell Center for Social Sciences in any presentations or publications resulting from the project. We recommend using the phrase, “This research was supported by a Cornell Center for Social Sciences Grant.” Please also let the CCSS know when papers are accepted and/or publicly available so we can help publicize them.

Questions

Contact CCSS if you have questions about any of these policies.

How many applications may I submit?

PI-eligible researchers are welcome to submit one application each round that they are eligible for funding. Researchers may appear as  PI on one project and co-PI on another submission. 

Is my research considered social science?

By social science research, we tend to take a broad approach to social science. We typically support research that is eligible for funding from social science directorates of the major federal funding agencies. At the National Science Foundation, for example, this includes the Directorate for Education and Human Resources, the Directorate for Social and Behavioral Sciences, and their subsidiary organizations (e.g., Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences, Social and Economic Sciences, Law and Social Sciences, Human Resource Development, etc.).

The CCSS funds social scientific research eligible for funding by other federal agencies. For example, the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Energy support social science research. In general, the CCSS follows the federal government’s lead, and any social science research project eligible for funding from a federal agency is also suitable for CCSS support.

This does not mean that your faculty appointment needs to be in a department that carries the name of one of the disciplines NSF identifies as a social science: Anthropology, Communications, Economics, Linguistics, Government/Political Science, Psychology, or Sociology. Indeed, the CCSS strongly encourages participation by social scientists housed in multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary departments across Cornell.

Finally, we support social scientists engaging in collaborative research with non-social scientists, as long as the social scientist has a lead role in the project and the project has a significant social science component likely to lead to publications in peer-reviewed social science journals or other outlets. For example, CCSS would consider funding a social scientist who is co-leading, along with a geneticist, a study of the relationship between gene activation and social environments. It would not support a geneticist who is the sole investigator in a study of the relationship between gene activation and social environments.

What constitutes a strong budget justification?

A detailed budget justification gives the review committee a clear idea of what the funds will support and includes sources for cost estimates. For example, list the model of equipment or software to be purchased and its cost from a particular vendor, like Buy.com. How much does a ticket cost on Expedia or from AAA for car rental or air travel when you estimate you will be in the field? How many hours and at what rate per hour do you plan to hire a research assistant, based on what precedent?

At the time of submission of the proposal, does the proposed experiment already have to have IRB approval?

No.

Do all the research project’s team members have to be at Cornell?

No.

Can the research project include co-PIs, post-docs, or graduate assistants who are not faculty members?

The lead PI must be a Cornell PI-eligible faculty member. However, the entire research team does not have to be on Cornell’s faculty. The team can include non-tenure-track research associates, post-docs, and graduate students participating as collaborators and/or hired research assistants. However, CCSS grants cannot be used for tuition, stipends, or student fees on graduate assistantship lines. Grants cannot be used for graduate student research projects or dissertation projects.

If awarded a CCSS grant, when could I expect to receive the funding?

The PI is asked to complete an award transfer form. Once the award transfer form and any additional paperwork are submitted to the CCSS, small grant awards are typically transferred by the end of the month. CCSS small grant awards must be transferred by the end of the fiscal year.

Is there a time period restricting when the funds must be spent?

Grant awards have a term date of roughly two years. At that time, the PI is asked to file a 45-word impact statement and a brief report to the CCSS director regarding research progress, outcomes, and disposition of the awarded funds. If the PI does not request an extension, funds not used within two years are returned to the CCSS for reallocation to subsequent grant awardees.

What do I do if the research or conference budget needs to be reallocated after receiving my award?

PIs need CCSS approval to reallocate more than 25 percent of the funds at any point after funding. Please contact socialsciences@cornell.edu to request a reallocation and include the award year, account number, account balance, and reason for the requested reallocation.

How do I apply for a no-cost extension? 

If you have not been able to complete your research by your award’s term date, you may request a no-cost extension by filling out this brief CCSS Grant Extension Form. If you have questions, please contact socialsciences@cornell.edu.

How does the CCSS evaluate proposals?

Projects requesting over $5,000 are reviewed by three peer scholars from the same application round, outside the applicant’s department, who evaluate each proposal based on the following criteria: quality of social science scholarship (including theory and methodology), the importance of the core ideas and whether they are innovative, whether the work is likely to inspire future research, and whether the budget is appropriate. We also consider whether the research design is methodologically sound, the likelihood of the research resulting in publication in peer-reviewed journals, and whether the project is likely to obtain external funding at some point. We fund conferences of interest to social scientists across the university when the budget appears justified and primarily supports Cornell social science faculty members. Projects requesting under $5,000 in funding are reviewed internally.

If I have been funded by the CCSS before, how long should I wait before reapplying?

Faculty who have previously received a CCSS grant as a lead PI can reapply for funding after a two-year wait. In other words, if a PI received CCSS funding in Fall 2021, the faculty member may reapply in Fall 2023. Exceptions to this are that prior research grant awardees can submit a conference grant proposal and vice versa within the two-year wait period, and responses to calls for research on special topics may not be subject to the two-year rule. Research grant awardees must wait the full two years before submitting another research grant proposal, and conference grant awardees must wait two years before submitting another conference grant proposal. CCSS Faculty Fellowships are not subject to the two-year rule.

Can CCSS Grants be used to fund graduate student research?

Not at this time.

Please see the Overview section for more information on the small grants program. Please direct questions to socialsciences@cornell.edu.

Funding Highlights

View past grantees and special topics below, including details for three projects that received funding from CCSS and had a tremendous impact on furthering research in critical areas.

Spring 2024

Social Onboarding for LLMs: Examining Communication and Social Support Around Generative AI Use.

Brennan Antone, Assistant Professor, Information Science, Cornell Bowers CIS
Malte Jung, Associate Professor, Information Science, Cornell Bowers CIS

Generative AI chatbots (e.g., ChatGPT) require skill to use effectively. We consider how social learning (human-human interaction) can shape how people approach Generative AI. Through interviews and observation of chatbot use in social conditions, we explore how people learn to prompt and apply AI tools.

Exploring the Domestic Impact of Roman Imperialism at Pompeii

Caitie Barrett, Associate Professor, Classics, College of Arts & Sciences

This archaeological excavation examines the impact of the Roman conquest on ancient households at Pompeii, a city originally governed by a non-Roman Italic people. This critical analysis of domestic space intervenes in archaeological and anthropological discourse on imperialism, inequality, and identity in the ancient Mediterranean.

The Civic Playground Project

Leighton Beaman, Associate Professor, Human Centered Design, Cornell Human Ecology
Zaneta Hong, Assistant Professor, Landscape Architecture, Cornell CALS
Janet Loebach, Evalyn Edwards Milman Assistant Professor in Child Development, Human Centered Design, Cornell Human Ecology

The Civic Playground Project seeks to empower individuals of different backgrounds, languages, and abilities through shared modes of making and collaborative play. The project is anchored in the development and deployment of inclusive frameworks that foster engagement between communities and their built environments.

Participation in Local Governance Before and After the Covid-19 Pandemic: The Case of School Boards

Kendra Bischoff, Associate Professor, Sociology, College of Arts & Sciences

The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of school governance in local communities as districts’ independent decisions not only affected children’s education, but also adults’ labor force participation. This project examines how the pandemic, and its interaction with community demographics, affected school board election turnout rates.

The Hidden Costs of Intrinsic Motivation

Vanessa Bohns, Professor, Organizational Behavior, ILR School
Kaitlin Woolley, Associate Professor, Marketing and Management Communication, Johnson School, SC Johnson College of Business
Sangah Bae, Organizational Behavior, ILR School

Intrinsic motivation is championed as a benefit that people should aspire to, with little attention paid to the negative consequences. We study an interpersonal cost of high intrinsic motivation: managers are more likely to burden intrinsically motivated employees with extra work tasks.

Human Preference Alignment for Generative AI Models with Individual-Specific Parameters

Ricardo Daziano, Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Cornell Engineering

The team proposes a novel, yet simple, approach for aligning generative AI with human preferences by focusing on domain-specific generation controls and using discrete choice econometric modeling. This method aims to maximize generated content's appeal and inform willingness-to-pay estimates in economics settings, particularly in applications such as sustainability label design.

Seaweed as climate technology: Scaling up materials for a justice-oriented, low-carbon future

Jenny Goldstein, Assistant Professor, Global Development, Cornell CALS

Many scientists, policymakers, and investment firms have touted seaweed’s potential role in the transition to a low-carbon economy globally. This project asks: what are the social, political-economic, and ecological barriers and consequences to scaling up seaweed as climate technology and how can seaweed be part of a justice-centered technological future?

Machine-Assisted Mitigation of Medical Practice Variation

Sachin Gupta, Henrietta Johnson Louis Professor of Management, Marketing and Management Communication, Johnson School, SC Johnson College of Business

Emaad Manzoor, Assistant Professor, Marketing and Management Communication, Johnson School, SC Johnson College of Business

Medical practice variation — individuals with the same characteristics and medical symptoms being prescribed different treatments — is a long-standing and widespread problem. This research proposes a method to discover medical practice variation given historical prescribing data, and evaluates personalized, generative AI-based interventions to reduce such variation in the field.

Developing and Testing Strategies for Building Trust in Higher Education Environments

Thorsten Joachims, Professor, Computer Science & Information Science, Cornell Bowers CIS 
Rene Kizilcec, Assistant Professor, Information Science, Cornell Bowers CIS 
Nikhil Garg, Assistant Professor, Operations Research and Information Engineering, Cornell Tech

Jinsook Lee, Information Science, Bowers CIS
Emma Harvey, Information Science, Bowers CIS

We evaluate how the choice of policy in ranking college applications affects different sociodemographic groups. Training on four years of application and decision data, we compare ML algorithms with different features removed (e.g., race/ethnicity, major preference) to understand how this changes the applicant ranking.

Developing and Testing Strategies for Building Trust in Higher Education Environments

Rene Kizilcec, Assistant Professor, Information Science, Bowers CIS
Scott Allen, Physics, College of Arts & Sciences

Trust and psychological safety in work environments benefit workers’ performance, learning, career satisfaction, and mental health. Students in higher education are deserving of these same benefits. We will use focus groups and experiments to adapt research-based trust-building strategies for higher education environments.

Frequency and naturalness in heritage language acquisition

Jennifer Kuo, Assistant Professor, Linguistics, College of Arts & Sciences

Language acquisition is sensitive to learning biases, but the effects of such biases are obscured when speakers receive sufficient linguistic input. This project tests the hypothesis that heritage speakers will be more sensitive to learning biases, because they receive limited exposure to the target language.

Climate Change, Chronic Disease and What It Means to Eat Well in Postcolonial Tanzania

Stacey A. Langwick, Associate Professor, Anthropology, College of Arts & Sciences

This grant supports the development of methodological tools and the cultivation of local research partnerships to investigate what it means to “eat well” in Tanzania given rising rates of chronic disease, growing climate impacts, expanding social inequality, and intensifying enclosures of land and plant life.

Culture and Creativity Assessment

Wyatt Lee, Assistant Professor, Management and Organizations, Nolan School of Hotel Administration, SC Johnson College of Business
Yonghoon Lee, Texas A&M University

Recent years have witnessed significant contributions from East Asian culture to the global culture scene. However, in contrast to this evidence, prior studies indicate that East Asians are perceived as less creative than North Americans. In this project, we aim to unravel this puzzle.

The Good Life in the Amazon Forest: Fortifying the Capacity to Aspire of Chico Mendes RESEX Youth

Renata Leitao, Assistant Professor, Human Centered Design, Cornell Human Ecology

This project examines the aspirations of youth of the Chico Mendes Extractive Reserve in the Brazilian Amazon. Using a Participatory Action Research methodology, it aims to enhance youth’s capacity to envision and realize projects that align forest conservation with their aspirations of the Good Life.

Community-based Model-building and Institutional Choices

Farzin Lotfi-Jam, Assistant Professor, Architecture, Cornell AAP
Jennifer Minner, Associate Professor, City and Regional Planning, Cornell AAP
Courtney Van Bower, City and Regional Planning, Cornell AAP

This research project combines agent-based modeling and scenario planning to engage stakeholders in examining reinvestment choices along a spectrum of building reuse to demolition, taking into account larger non-profit and public entities that play an outsized role related to innovation along this spectrum.

Designing Homo Silicus: Methods and Benchmarks for Rational LLMs

Emaad Manzoor, Assistant Professor, Marketing and Management Communication, Johnson School, SC Johnson College of Business

This research develops approaches and datasets to train LLMs to be logically rational (eg. that do not express self-contradictory beliefs). Our work will enable using LLMs to accurately simulate human responses to information treatments, such as persuasion and propaganda, and thus reduce researchers' and practitioners' reliance on costly belief elicitation from human subjects.

Thoughts & Prayers: The effect of partisan responses to mass shootings on public support for guns

Isabel Perera, Assistant Professor, Government, College of Arts & Sciences
Colleen Barry, Professor, Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy
Anil Menon, University of California-Merced

Mass shootings have steadily increased in the United States, where more than 600 of such incidents now occur each year (Gun Violence Archive 2023). A majority of both Democrats and Republicans in fact support a number of gun reform policies. But at the elite level, Republican lawmakers are reluctant to pursue gun reform legislation, often offering condolences or shifting attention away from firearm policy toward other, more distant policy areas, such as mental health or unchecked criminal activity. To what extent does exposure to such rhetoric by Republican lawmakers re-shape public support for gun reform policies? We propose a survey experiment to examine how exposure to alternative rhetoric by Republican lawmakers about a mass shooting incident shapes public support toward several gun reform policies.

Understanding public perceptions of anthropogenic causes of bird mortality: Cats and collisions

Tina Phillips, Assistant Director, Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Shelby Carlson, Research Associate, Cornell Lab of Ornithology

After habitat loss, predation by free-roaming domestic cats (Felis catus) and collisions with windows are among the leading causes of bird mortality throughout North America, collectively resulting in the loss of over 3 billion birds every year in the United States alone. Given that birds’ exposure to domestic cats and hazardous windows can be reduced through a variety of behavioral interventions, understanding public perceptions of and preferences for myriad mitigation methods is a critical step in reducing anthropogenic sources of bird mortality. This proposal describes a potential research study to advance understanding of the human dimensions related to avian mortality caused by window collisions and cat predation.

Do women face more penalties for unoriginal work? Evidence from the music industry

Jacqueline Rifkin, Assistant Professor, Marketing and Management Communication, Johnson School, SC Johnson College of Business
Devon Proudfoot, Assistant Professor, Human Resource Studies, ILR School

Being accused of copying others’ ideas can have significant financial and reputational costs. Using music copyright infringement case data and controlled experiments, we investigate whether the originality of women’s work is more likely to be questioned, with implications for understanding gender inequities in creative industries.

Who Can Freeze the Future?: A Survey of Employer-Sponsored Assisted Reproductive Technology Benefits

Sharon Sassler, Professor, Sociology, Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy
Jamie Budnick, Assistant Professor, Sociology, College of Arts & Sciences
Shio Lim, Sociology, College of Arts & Sciences

Using a mixed methods approach, this project systematically examines the landscape of fertility and family leave policies among the largest corporations in the US by surveying Fortune 500 Companies. Investigating the supply side of ART will provide insights on reproductive healthcare access amid rising demand.

A Noncooperative Model for Coalition Formation and Negotiation and Its Application to Climate Game

Kevin Tang, Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Cornell Engineering

A noncooperative model for cooperative games is proposed to treat coalition formation and negotiation simultaneously. The model naturally incorporates farsightedness of players, and can be applied to coalitional games with externalities. Its potential application to Climate game is discussed.

11th Annual Global Forum for Financial Consumers at Cornell University August 8-9 2024

Sharon Tennyson, Professor, Economics, Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy

The Global Forum for Financial Consumers (GFFC) is an annual conference organized by the International Academy of Financial Consumers (IAFICO). The GFFC aims to provide an opportunity for international academics, policymakers, and professionals to share knowledge, experiences, and practical solutions for financial consumer protection. 2024 marks the 11th year of the conference and the first time it is being held in the US.

Racialized Labor Markets, the Work-Citizenship Nexus, and Platform Work in the U.S. and South Africa

Andrew Wolf, Assistant Professor, Global Labor and Work, ILR School
Amir Anwar, University of Edinburgh

This study investigates how platform labor becomes racialized through a survey of U.S. and South African workers. Exploring issues of race, immigration, job quality, and worker resistance. We aim to establish the feasibility of a social media distribution methodology to survey platform workers globally.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall 2023

Leveraging Generative AI for Marketing Research: An Application on Music Album Reviews

Khaled Boughanmi, Assistant Professor, Marketing and Management Communication, Johnson School, SC Johnson College of Business
Kamel Jedid, Professor, Columbia University

The capabilities of Generative AI to extract thematic content from unstructured data make it powerful to understand experiential domains. This research leverages this technology to extract experiential features from expert music reviews to enhance our understanding of album success and aid artists in their designs.

The Actions of State Medical Boards in the Opioid Prescribing Epidemic

Colleen Carey, Assistant Professor, Economics, Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy
Jetson Leder-Luis, Assistant Professor, Boston University

A small number of inappropriately-prescribing physicians drove opioid prescribing increases in the first wave of the U.S. opioid epidemic. This project collects a novel dataset of state medical board actions to determine the nature and extent of investigations and disciplinary actions regarding opioid prescribing.

Empirical Legal Studies in the Sinophone Region

Yun-chien Chang, Professor, East Asian Law, Cornell Law School

This conference, titled Empirical Legal Studies in the Sinophone Region, brings together legal scholars doing quantitative works from Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. The data used in the 20 presentations describe the functioning of the legal systems in the Chinese-speaking region.

Distance Learning in the Shadow of COVID19 -- Lessons from Cornell University

Nancy Chau, Professor, Applied Economics and Policy, Dyson School, CALS and SC Johnson College of Business

This study leverages the natural experimental COVID19 setting at the Cornell campus, constructs a student-specific return-home treatment triplet (geographic distance, internet access, pandemic exposure), and performs an assessment of the impact of the return home treatment on student-assessed academic performance among Cornell undergraduates.

How Race and Gender Stereotypes Impact Crowdfunding Outcomes

Cristobal Cheyre, Assistant Professor, Information Science, Cornell Bowers CIS
Anthonia Carter, PhD Candidate, Information Science, Cornell Bowers CIS

We study how racial discrimination and gender roles stereotypes influence crowdfunding campaigns’ outcomes. We focus on outcomes experienced by Black female founders and how their chances of success change as product complexity and targeted market vary. Our results will inform policy and platform design interventions.

The Biography of Discovery: How Discovery of Resources by Humans versus Machines Shapes Preference

Alexander Fulmer, Assistant Professor, Marketing and Management Communication, Nolan Hotel School, SC Johnson College of Business

This research builds upon recent work illuminating that biographical elements of a resource’s discovery can influence consumer preference for otherwise identical resources. Specifically, this project explores how consumer preference for resources is influenced by awareness of whether the discoverer was a human or a machine.

NYC School Match: How Do Design Details Drive Inequity

Nikhil Garg, Assistant Professor, Operations Research and Information Engineering, Cornell Tech

NYC matches students to public high schools through an algorithm. We study the process’s design details: what drives educational inequity? What is the role of students’ ranked lists or school policies in prioritizing grades or geography? Our analyses will inform student-side interventions and policy recommendations.

AI, Rulemaking, and Threats to Scientific Policymaking

Jillian Goldfarb, Associate Professor, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Cornell Engineering

Citizens and experts alike can influence regulatory processes primarily through public notice and comment. Generative AI threatens this democratic expression. Can generative AI skew representation by overwhelming response pools with technically sophisticated comments perceived by regulators to be as informative as those written by experts?

Race, Public Opinion, and the Political Costs of Military Adventurism

Douglas Kriner, Professor, Government, College of Arts & Sciences
Aaron Childree, PhD Student, Government, College of Arts & Sciences

Policymakers assert that broad public support should be a precondition for military action; however, the conditions under which racial/ethnic gaps in war support emerge remain unclear. Using public polling and an original survey, we study the mechanisms producing such gaps across conflicts and over time.

Data-Adaptive Experiments to Discover Discrimination in Context

Ian Lundberg, Assistant Professor, Information Science, Cornell Bowers CIS

In what context is discrimination most severe? Using an experimental approach that updates treatment assignment rules as information is learned, this study will discover the contexts in which human decision-makers make especially discriminatory pairwise choices.

Mapping US Food Systems: A Stakeholder Database and Pilot Visualization Tool

Daniel Mason-D'Croz, Senior Research Associate, Global Development, Cornell CALS

Food systems actors are fundamental for transformation, yet exhibit diverse priorities, preferred pathways, and power. We intend to build a stakeholder database and pilot visualization tool of several thousand actors across US food systems, serving as a rich resource to support future research and outreach.

Redistribution in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Marcel Preuss, Assistant Professor, Strategy and Business Economics, Johnson School, SC Johnson College of Business
Nicolas Bottan, Assistant Professor, Economics, Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy

Generative AI tools such as ChatGPT promise significant productivity improvements, but they may also reduce the importance of human capital and labor, further concentrating power and wealth in the hands of the rich. The authors investigate views on inequality and support for economic policies in an AI dominated economy.

The Efficacy of For-profit Teacher Training Programs

Evan Riehl, Assistant Professor, Economics, ILR School
Christa Deneault, PhD, Economics

To combat teacher shortages, a growing number of states are allowing teachers to complete training programs at for-profit companies. This project explores the efficacy of for-profit training programs by examining their impacts on the quantity and quality of teachers in Texas.

Child Welfare Operations Research Symposium

Vincent Slaugh, Assistant Professor, Operations, Technology & Information Management, Nolan Hotel School, SC Johnson College of Business

This symposium aims to connect operations academics with child welfare leaders and facilitate conversations about how operations research approaches can help improve child welfare. Approximately 30 attendees will meet at Cornell on November 9 practitioner panels, brief research presentations, and roundtable discussions.

Fostering Consumer Creativity in Metaverse Virtual Retail Spaces with Psychological Virtuality

So-Yeon Yoon, Assistant Professor, Human Centered Design, Cornell Human Ecology
Jaleesa Reed, Assistant Professor, Human Centered Design, Cornell Human Ecology
Woo Bin Kim, Post Doctoral Researcher

At the forefront of retail innovation, the metaverse offers extended brand-consumer experiences that stimulate creative abilities. Grounded in self-expansion theory, this project develops virtual retail spaces infused with psychological virtuality and unveils the mechanisms that amplify consumer creativity in our proposed retail settings.

Understanding Household Experiences and Inequities in Wind and Flood Insurance Coverage

John Zinda, Assistant Professor, Global Development, Cornell CALS
Sharon Tennyson, Professor, Economics, Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy
Hannah Friedrich, PhD Student

Insurance is a key tool for disaster recovery. Current research poorly explains how homeowners address complicated uncertainties and inequities in purchasing and using insurance. We will assess available insurance policy and claims datasets and examine homeowners’ experiences to better understand insurance decisions and their uneven impacts.

Spring 2023

Hearing the Forest Through the Trees: Collaborative Science and Indigenous Sonic Entanglements in East Kalimantan

Shorna Allred, Professor, Natural Resources and the Environment and Global Development, Cornell CALS
Walker DePuy, Visiting Fellow, Southeast Asia Program
Wendy Erb, Postdoctoral Associate, Lab of Ornithology

Working with frontline Indigenous communities, this team of social and natural scientists brings anthropological, bioacoustic, and Indigenous knowledges together to investigate: 1) The impacts of Indonesia's emerging new capital, Nusantara, on surrounding peoples and landscapes, and 2) how collaborative soundscape research can reveal novel multi-species entanglements and advance Indigenous territorial monitoring.

Adaptation, Social Coordination & Pragmatic Inference

Helena Aparicio, Assistant Professor, Linguistics, College of Arts & Sciences

Linguistic interactions display spontaneous self-organizing behavior, pragmatic inference being the epitome of such coordinative behavior. However not much is known about cognitive mechanisms supporting coordination. The current project argues that adaptation is one of the mechanisms deployed by listeners to resolve pragmatic coordination problems.

Against Humanity: Race, Empire, and the Liberal International Order

Oumar Ba, Assistant Professor, Government, College of Arts & Sciences

This project reconstructs the emergence of the current global justice regime and argues that the Liberal International Order is built upon the denial of humanity through a layered racial hierarchy of humanness. Using archival research, it focuses on the drafting and adoption of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights amidst the French campaign of “pacification” in Madagascar; the UN Trusteeship Council as a site of legislation and contestation of nuclear imperialism in the Pacific; and the prosecution of the crimes against peace at the Tokyo Tribunal.

The Politics of Labor Market Outsiders in the Middle East and North Africa: Insights from Tunisia

Dina Bishara, Assistant Professor, International and Comparative Labor, ILR School
Ferdinand Eibl, Political Economy, King’s College London

This project aims at unpacking the political and social policy preferences of labor market outsiders in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). We will conduct a pilot survey in Tunisia, which will serve as the foundation for a larger grant proposal.

Creators, Platforms, and the New Politics of Visibility

Brooke Erin Duffy, Associate Professor, Communication, Cornell CALS

Drawing upon in-depth interviews with participants in the digital Creator Economy, this research examines the promises, perils, and paradoxes of the platform-dependent labor. In so doing, this project considers how platforms like Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and Twitch may enable—or, conversely, thwart—a new politics of visibility.

Dancing with Stars or Crowded out by Stars: Superstar Firms’ Effect on AI Adoption

Chris Forman, Professor, Applied Economics and Management, Dyson School, CALS and SC Johnson College of Business
Hongyuan Xia, PhD student, Economics

Does the superstar firms’ adoption of AI foster or deter other firms’ adoption of AI? There are two competing mechanisms: imitation and competition. By using comprehensive job posting data and a novel instrumental variable, this study will examine the empirical salience of these competing effects of superstar firms on the AI adoption process.

Transforming Asia with Food: Women and Everyday Life (April 2024 Conference)

Chiara Formichi, Associate Professor, Asian Studies, College of Arts & Sciences
Suyoung Son, Associate Professor, Asian Studies, College of Arts & Sciences

This conference explores how women effected change across Asia engaging in everyday practices of food production, handling, preparation and consumption; participants will bring to light how such “domestic” practices had significant impact on “public spaces,” and created spaces for women’s autonomy and agency.

How do Parents See the World? Using Virtual Reality to Assess Perception of infants’ Environments (Super-department grant)

Michael Goldstein, Professor, Psychology, College of Arts & Sciences and Cornell Human Ecology
Adam Anderson, Professor, Psychology, College of Arts & Sciences and Cornell Human Ecology
Emma Murrugarra, PhD student

How does becoming a parent change how we see the world? Here we propose a novel virtual reality paradigm investigating what shapes parents’ perception of the environment around their infants. We will explore cognitive mechanisms that facilitate parental decision-making surrounding infant wellbeing.

Relational and Well-being Outcomes of (Non) Reciprocity in Attachment Networks

Cindy Hazan, Professor, Psychology, College of Arts & Sciences and Cornell Human Ecology
Vivian Zayas, Professor, Psychology, College of Arts & Sciences and Cornell Human Ecology
Randy Lee, PhD student, Psychology
Wicia Fang, PhD student, Psychology

How do people fulfill their attachment needs across people in their networks, and how do people also meet the needs of others in their network? Proposed studies test novel hypotheses on how reciprocated ties confer unique benefits for individuals (security), dyads (satisfaction), and networks (status).

Intergroup Loss Aversion

Amy Krosch, Assistant Professor, Psychology, College of Arts & Sciences and Cornell Human Ecology

This research uses an economic model of choice behavior and psychophysiological measures of arousal to examine sensitivity to losses for racial ingroup vs. outgroup members, with a discussion of implications for racial disparities at the interpersonal and national level.

Tolerance for Sharing Polarizing Content on Information Platforms

Aija Leiponen, Professor, Strategy & Business Economics, Dyson School, CALS and SC Johnson College of Business
Joy Wu, Postdoctoral Researcher, LMU Munich
Giulia Solinas, Assistant Professor, LMU Munich
Tobias Kretschmer, Professor, LMU Munich

We seek to understand users' preferences for spreading polarizing content on an information platform, which is informative for the design of effective platform governance strategies.

Financial Language, Communication, and Competition Across US Industries

Benjamin Leyden, Assistant Professor, Strategy & Business Economics, Dyson School, CALS and SC Johnson College of Business

We study whether and how companies use a sanctioned form of public communication—quarterly earnings calls—to communicate strategic information with their competitors to coordinate strategic actions and lower competition, thus circumventing antitrust laws. This work will inform policy regarding firm communication and market competition.

Advancing Trans-Atlantic Research on Renewable Energy Transitions: The Case of Deep Geothermal

Katherine McComas, Professor, Communication, Cornell CALS
Dominic Balog-Way, Postdoctoral Associate, Communication, Cornell CALS
Catherine Lambert, Lecturer/PhD candidate, Communication, Cornell CALS

Transitions to renewable energy systems will falter if inadequate attention is paid to public engagement with promising new technologies like deep geothermal systems. This project investigates public opinion about deep geothermal to advance social science research on this topic and solidify a policy-engaged, trans-Atlantic collaboration.

How and When Sponsored Ads on Social Media Deter Social Interactions

Marie Ozanne, Assistant Professor, Services Management, Nolan Hotel School, SC Johnson College of Business

People are bombarded with ads on social media. This research questions whether the number of ads displayed on newsfeeds impacts passive (vs. active) social media usage. Given that passive usage is negatively associated with well-being, this research offers important implications for marketing researchers and policymakers.

Assessing the Impact of School-Based Health Centers on Healthcare Access in Rural Communities

Sharon Tennyson, Professor, Economics, Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy
Wendy Brunner, Bassett Research Center
John Sipple, Professor, Global Development, Cornell CALS

This project evaluates the effectiveness of School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs) to address health disparities among underserved rural youth using de-identified individual-level panel data on patient visits to healthcare providers. The study focuses on 4 high-poverty rural counties in New York, comparing healthcare for children in 16 school districts with SBHCs to those in 22 school districts without. We will assess how SBHCs help poor rural communities by bringing health services directly to children to enhance rural community health.

Semantic Mapping of Indigeneity Through Computational Modeling of Nineteenth-Century French-Language

Imane Terhmina, Assistant Professor, Romance Studies, College of Arts & Sciences
Laurent Dubreuil, Professor, Comparative Literature

We intend to build a digital corpus of French-language documents related to indigeneity in the 19th century, and use both computational methods (NLP/CL) and interpretive tools to understand the ideological biases associated with textual representations of “indigeneity”, from its colonial genesis to its post-colonial recuperation.

Making AI Explainable to Community Health Workers in Rural India

Aditya Vashistha, Assistant Professor, Information Science, Cornell Bowers CIS

AI-driven diagnostic applications are increasingly deployed to support low-skilled community health workers (CHWs) in hard-to-reach communities. This work aims to examine how CHWs in rural settings engage with AI explanations and what they need to know to safely operate such systems in high-stakes healthcare contexts.

On Our Own: Deinstitutionalization and the Politics of Care

Stephen Vider, Assistant Professor, History, College of Arts & Sciences

On Our Own traces the impact of deinstitutionalization—the release of people with mental illnesses and disabilities from state-run institutions—to reveal how efforts to repair state systems of mental healthcare were reshaped by the convergence of patient activism and privatization after World War II.

Quantifying the Property Value and Land Use Impacts of Utility-Scale Solar Farms in New York State

Wendong Zhang, Assistant Professor, Applied Economics and Policy, Dyson School, CALS and SC Johnson College of Business
Richard Stedman, Professor, Natural Resources and the Environment, Cornell CALS
David Kay, Sr. Extension Associate, Global Development

Large solar facilities are critical to meet the New York State’s ambitious climate and energy goals. This research will evaluate the monetary impacts of large solar farms on nearby farmland sales prices, and assess land use and crop choice changes following solar farm constructions using satellite data.

COVID-19 Grants

Social science played a crucial role in understanding the crisis of COVID-19 and future crises. Please view the list of COVID-19 Grant Awardees on the Past Grantees & Fellows page to learn more about the projects funded for this special grant topic.

 

Incarceration's Impact on Families Website

An interdisciplinary team from Policy Analysis and Management, Government, and Sociology studied the level and extent to which incarceration affects families in the US. In addition to producing the first estimates of family-level contact with prisons and jails (at the national level, state level, and by demographic group), this research considered criminal justice contact beyond incarceration, current as well as historical family incarceration, and types or levels of family incarceration. Findings include the staggering revelation that nearly half of all people living in the United States have experienced incarceration in their family. One in seven adults has had a close family member spend more than one year in jail or prison—over 35 million people. This data, broken down by race, gender, and family income, provide policymakers, service providers, employers, and researchers with a much more nuanced and detailed understanding of how incarceration impacts American society.

 

Social Media TestDrive Website

Social Media TestDrive is an interactive educational platform created by researchers in Cornell's Social Media Lab in collaboration with Common Sense Education and with input from educators in Cornell’s Cooperative Extension and 4-H. TestDrive is an educational program that enables young people to learn and practice digital citizenship skills through a social media simulation. Like a driving simulator for young people learning to drive a car for the first time, TestDrive provides a simulated experience of realistic digital dilemmas and scenarios that young people may encounter as they enter the social media world. Each module is designed to teach a specific social media skill, such as managing privacy settings, smart self-presentation, upstanding to cyberbullying, and news literacy. TestDrive looks and feels like a real social media site, but all the content on the site has been created for instructional purposes. Young people interact with the content through instructions that lead them to build new knowledge and skills, allowing them to practice critical social media skills without worrying about negative consequences. The TestDrive platform is now publicly available to kids, parents, and educators--with 40,000 users worldwide so far--and offers an important tool to teach youth to become prosocial, productive members of the digital world.

 

Freedom on the Move Website

An interdisciplinary team led by a Cornell historian with collaborators from universities in five states is building an ever-expanding digitized database of fugitives from American slavery. Freedom on the Move (FOTM) is an effort to collect, transcribe, and analyze all of the existing advertisements placed by North American enslavers attempting to coerce and capture self-liberating African and African American people. Taken collectively, these runaway ads, with their details of individual lives and agency, constitute a rare source of information about the experiences and resistance of enslaved people that does not appear elsewhere in the historical record. The free, open-source site has been designed so users can transcribe the text of an advertisement, contributing to the trove of information available for scholars, genealogists, and historians. Edward Baptist, the Lead PI on the project, notes that many will see in the surveillance of Africans and African Americans, including the pursuit of runaways, the historical roots of today’s policing of African Americans. In the modern era, both professional and volunteer attempts to police Black movements seem to continue the long tradition of stopping, questioning, reporting, disciplining, and seizing Africans and African Americans—actions for which ordinary white citizens were rewarded for doing under slavery, from the 1600s to 1865.

Did your research benefit from a Cornell Center for Social Sciences Grant?

Please acknowledge CCSS with the following language when publicizing or presenting your research results: “This research was supported by a Cornell Center for Social Sciences Grant.” 

 

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