The Mershon Center cultivates innovative research at the intersections of international, national, and human security challenges. We are open to the full range of disciplines involved analytically and/or practically with diplomacy, conflict, peacemaking, governance, and cooperative problem-solving. Mershon's traditional strength is in the human and social rather than the technical dimensions of complex problems. This focus emerged partly from limited resources, but also reflects a conviction that the hardest work lies here.
Mershon encourages interdisciplinary research, collaborative research, engaged research, and research with clear implications for policy or practice. More traditional modes of scholarship are welcome, however, provided researchers are willing to put their work into active dialogue with that of other Mershoners. While supporting individual projects, our funding is intended to foster robust multi-perspectival conversation on security issues at Ohio State. Accordingly, grantees are expected to "give back" to Mershon at a reasonable level by contributing their perspectives and expertise towards our collective edification. (Departments, likewise, are asked to recognize this labor as part of the grantee's research profile and service load.) Our hope is that grantees will remain affiliated with the Mershon community over time and find ongoing intellectual rewards in doing so.
Individual research projects may be framed within specific disciplines, especially for junior scholars, but we ask researchers to articulate the broader value of their investigation and invite them to seek multidisciplinary feedback as the work proceeds. Collaborative projects and programming, however, must serve a wider constituency. PIs should come from more than one unit at Ohio State, and projects should incorporate multiple perspectives, which may come from inside or outside the academy. Applicants should consider and explain why Mershon is an appropriate home for the project.
Please bear in mind that a Mershon grant comprises staff labor and community attention along with the actual funding. Accordingly, we must evaluate proposals not only on their own merits, but within the Center's ecology. We may offer only partial funding; we may need to request modifications; we may suggest cooperation. As you design your proposal, we ask you to think not just about the fiscal budget but about time and attention budgets. Less may be more, especially as regards programming.
Past awardees are welcome to apply for new funding, but past performance and spending activity as well as equitable overall distribution of resources will be considered when awarding new funding.
New for 2023-2024-2025
As we continue to rationalize and regularize our funding structure, we welcome your feedback across the grant cycle. This year's most important change is an October 1, 2023, due date for Faculty Individual Research Grants, Programming Grants, and Residency Grants for FY 2024-25. Our hope is that earlier notification will assist faculty applying for Faculty Professional Leaves and external funding, while longer lead time on programming and residencies will foster more careful planning and better outcomes. Owing to tight reviewing turnarounds, incomplete and late applications cannot be considered.
So that our calendar overtaxes neither our staff nor our audience, we are making an effort to reduce programming overall and to have as much programming in place as possible before each school year begins. Last-minute requests arising from public events or special opportunities are welcome but will be considered at leadership discretion.
To streamline the process, facilitate our record-keeping, and reduce staff labor, we are also asking colleagues henceforth to make small funding requests with these linked forms, rather than by queries to director or staff.
Types of Mershon funding
Individual grants support the research of Ohio State regular faculty and students. (Postdocs and visiting scholars are not eligible, but affiliated/clinical track faculty may apply.)
- The Chadwick F. Alger student scholarship provides $2500 to an undergraduate undertaking study abroad or an honors thesis on peace and conflict resolution
- Graduate student research grants. Graduate students in good academic standing from any department may apply to support fieldwork or other research expenses leading towards a PhD dissertation or terminal masters' project.
- Faculty individual research grants. To support individual fieldwork or other research-related expenses. (Course release support must be negotiated with the department chair.) Junior faculty are especially encouraged to apply once their startup package has run out.
- New associate professor grants support newly tenured faculty in jump-starting a new, interdisciplinary research agenda and in related professional development. The expectation is that such faculty will become core Mershon affiliates. Funds may be used for research expenditures and for approved professional development opportunities. Disbursed in two installments, the second contingent on interim review. Associate professors within two years of tenure may apply.
- Affiliate-only small grants. Faculty research associates who are not otherwise funded by Mershon may apply for up to $2000 per academic year for travel, publication subventions, programming support, or other research-relevant purposes once their departmental and contractual funding is exhausted. Graduate associates who are not otherwise currently funded by Mershon may apply for up to $1000 per academic year once their departmental funding is exhausted.
Collaborative interdisciplinary grants
Collaborative grants support research and programming that advance Mershon's mission and bring collective benefit to the Mershon community.
- Programming grant. To host conferences, workshops, lecture series, training programs etc. Joint applications preferred; individuals may apply if they can demonstrate wider Mershon participation. Interdisciplinary and junior scholar engagement desirable, e.g., by having one or two Mershon discussants for a visiting speaker.
- Residency grant. To bring a scholar or practitioner for extended engagement with the Mershon and Ohio State community, that is, beyond the scope of a lecture or conference. Length of stay negotiable depending on the opportunity and the resources available. While the resident may engage with faculty and students broadly, the primary purpose is focused exchange with Mershoners that will benefit both sides.
- Catalyst grant. To advance high-impact team projects. 2-yr, $50-150K. Grants will support the early phases of strongly conceptualized collaborative investigations that seem likely to make significant original contributions to the understanding of diplomacy, peacebuilding, conflict, or collective problem-solving, with important implications for policy or practice. Disbursed in two installments, the second contingent on interim review. PIs will submit an external funding application by the end of the funding period.
- Research conversations. Hosting and refreshments for meetings among colleagues and students; no specific budget required. Affiliates may apply; the involvement of non- or not-yet affiliates is very much welcomed.
- Co-sponsorships. To support programming hosted by other units with Mershon relevance. Any unit may apply.
We encourage advance consultation as you select the appropriate grant competition and as you shape your project. For conceptualization, please talk to Dorothy Noyes; for budget and logistics, to Kyle McCray. If you have a project that doesn't seem to fit these parameters, consult Dorothy Noyes.