Columbia University

Faculty of Arts and Sciences

2017 A&S Catalyst Grant Awardees Announced

Eleven faculty members are among the first awardees of the Arts & Sciences Catalyst Grants.  The Catalyst Grants, created to stimulate new research with the potential to have significant real-world societal impact, will support three projects for an intensive development period of six months, after which they will be in a strong position to attract outside partners or to be considered for the Columbia World Projects initiative.

The three projects chosen exemplify the breadth of work being done in the Arts & Sciences at Columbia, from innovative technologies to combat online harassment utilizing natural language processing tools; to a cartography project which brings together scholars of religion, indigenous rights, and ecology to solve a mapping problem facing indigenous and forest-dependent activists in India and beyond; to a plan to use cutting-edge remote sensing instruments and techniques to detect the early symptoms of a disease affecting oak trees which, unchecked, could have devastating ecological and economic impact.

Each of these projects brings humanistic, social, and scientific dimensions to the research in innovative ways; each is broad in scope and yet focused on an outcome with concrete applicability. They are trans-disciplinary, bringing together colleagues from across Columbia’s Arts & Sciences and beyond, and engaging outside partners ranging from New York City’s Department of Parks & Recreation to the Vindhyan Ecology and Natural History Foundation.

The 2017 Arts & Sciences Catalyst Grant awardees are:

Mapping the Sacred: Navigating Religious Landscapes, Capacity-Building with Indigenous Activists, and Preserving Life-Giving Ecosystems

  • Katherine Pratt Ewing, Department of Religion and Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life
  • Sudipta Kaviraj, Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies and South Asia Institute
  • Walid Hammam, Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life
  • M Winters, Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life

Reducing the Catastrophic Effects of Oak Wild Disease Through Early Detection and Ecologically Sound Decision Making

  • Natalie Boelman, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory
  • Kevin Griffin, Departments of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology and Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • William Schuster, Black Rock Forest Consortium and Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology

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