Five research projects funded as part of Queen Mary partnership with Cornell University

11 January 2024

People mingling at a Queen Mary event
People mingling at a Queen Mary event

Five research projects that bring together academics from Queen Mary University of London and Cornell University will receive seed funding.

Academics from both institutions were invited to work together to submit proposals in August 2023 through the Global Strategic Collaboration Awards. Today we have announced that five proposals will be funded to support international collaboration.

The five successful collaborative research projects

  1. Dr Keren Weitzberg from the School of Politics and International Relations and Mostafa Minawi from Cornell will bring together humanists and social scientists together to look at race and racialisation in the Balkans, Middle East and North Africa and East Africa.
  2. Dr Stefaan Verbruggen from the School of Engineering and Materials Science and Karl Lewis from Cornell will be investigating osteocytes (the most abundant bone cells). They will map the osteocyte network architecture to their molecular activation patterns.
  3. Dr Matteo Fumagalli from the School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences will work Nina Therkildsen from Cornell to design and deploy a novel deep learning algorithm and test this on data on the American shad, a fish species of conservation concern. This should make demographic inference more accessible for a broader set of organisms – which can yield a better understanding of evolutionary history as well as provide valuable insights for conservation.
  4. Andrea Tesei in the School of Economics and Finance will be working with Professor Rachel Beatty Riedl from Cornell. They will use this seed grant to support preliminary coordination and planning for a larger grant application that will launch a $500,000 research study on democratic erosion and the strategies of democratic resistance.
  5. Dr Doreen Montag from the Wolfson Institute of Population Health and Professor Richard Steadman from Cornell are working on a project to understand and address the challenges of illegal mining and leaving fossil fuel in the soil for planetary health. This project will be coproduced with indigenous leaders in the most biodiverse area of the Amazon.

Partnership with Cornell

Queen Mary first began its partnership with Cornell University in 2022. This work is part of Cornell’s Global Hubs initiative and Queen Mary University’s international strategy – and has started to build deeper collaboration in research and education between the two institutions.

“The joint seed grants awarded between Cornell and Queen Mary faculty highlight and deepen the strength of our partnership,” said Wendy Wolford, vice provost for international affairs and Robert A. and Ruth E. Polson Professor of Global Development, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “With our students and faculty so closely connected, we look forward to expanding this very meaningful collaboration in the years to come.”

Professor Colin Bailey CBE, Principal and President of Queen Mary University of London, said: “It is great to see colleagues from Queen Mary University and Cornell University work together on some fascinating research projects. What is most exciting is that this funding will not only initiate long-term collaboration between leading academics but will also have the potential to be scaled up and to make real-life impact across the globe. Queen Mary is a leading international university, with collaborations all over the world and I look forward to seeing our partnership with Cornell grow as faculty staff get to know each other and work in partnership on leading research projects.”