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TRIP Project receives $307,000 grant from Carnegie Corporation

A two-year grant of $307,500 from the Carnegie Corporation of New York to the Teaching, Research and International Policy (TRIP) Project will enable the William & Mary’s Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations (ITPIR) to continue conducting the world’s premier investigation of the International Relations discipline to learn if its scholars are providing ideas, data or knowledge that is useful to policymakers and citizens in the 21st century.

The grant paves the way for TRIP to build on its previous success by supporting two major initiatives that aim to improve interactions between theorists and practitioners and enable scholars to influence decisions that affect people across the world.

TRIP researchers will use the grant to expand the project, already well known for its surveys of scholars and policymakers, to include a series of “snap polls” that will facilitate the rapid dissemination of academic expert opinion on emerging international issues and current events to policymakers.

“The beauty of the ‘snap polls’ is that we can get them into the field quickly and get results to decision-makers almost in real-time,” said Sue Peterson, TRIP principal investigator and co-director of the Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations. “Because the information will reach policymakers quickly, these polls will contribute to policy debate and decision-making as international events unfold.”

Sue PetersonAccording to Peterson, the “snap polls” will be an invaluable resource to scholars as well.

“Usually, the best we can do is go back and ask the experts what they thought about an issue after the fact,” she said. “Now, for the first time, scholars and policy officials will have access to scholarly opinion on a range of important international problems and issues as they evolve.”

The IR discipline was born after World War I from a commitment by scholars to address real-world threats to national and international security. In the years that followed, however, a divide emerged between those who study IR and those who practice it. Today’s scholars, however, feel a renewed sense of responsibility to create knowledge that informs far-reaching policy decisions, a philosophical alteration the Carnegie grant will also address.

The grant will support a conference that brings together representatives from the academic and policy communities to explore ways to enhance the information, analyses and training the academy provides to U.S. policymakers. The two-day conference is planned for spring 2014.

“If we are working to improve the interaction between scholars and policymakers, there is a huge advantage in getting them together in the same room,” said Mike Tierney, TRIP principal investigator and co-director of the Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations.

“There are plenty of conferences that bring scholars together to lament the fact that their work is ignored in the policy community. This conference is exciting because we will bring together leading scholars, along with current and former policymakers, to explore the conditions under which research has an impact and what scholars can do to make a contribution to the policy world if they are so inclined.”
Participants in the conference will have access to a wealth of data on the discipline of international relations, already collected by TRIP, including surveys of international relations faculty in 20 countries, surveys of U.S. policymakers and the world’s most comprehensive database on IR journal articles. The database will eventually include extensive details on every article published in the 12 leading IR journals from 1980 to the present. This resource will help policymakers to access academic research on topics relevant to their work and is already being used by scholars to identify trends in academic literature.

Peterson and Tierney’s team of students and staff also includes two other principal investigators, both former students. Daniel Maliniak is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, San Diego, and Ryan Powers is a Ph.D. student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Both Powers and Maliniak are integral members of the TRIP team who will visit campus regularly to conduct research for the grant and to participate in the 2014 conference.Mike Tierney

Recently, for example, Maliniak and Powers headed a research team that used the TRIP article database to study gender and publication patterns in the international relations discipline.

“There is a clear gender gap in citations for men and women,” Maliniak said. “Our article shows that women receive roughly 70% of the citations men receive just because of their gender. The journal article database is the only reason we can rule out many alternative arguments to show clearly that this is an issue of gender alone.”

Peterson said that although TRIP research shows that a significant gulf still exists between them, “faculty are ready to re-engage with members of the policy world.”

With this support from Carnegie, TRIP is in a better position than ever before to help bridge that gap by providing new data to both scholars and policymakers and by bringing the groups together.

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