UMD: A Globally Connected University

Global Research Showcase


Fighting COVID-19 with a Global Facebook Survey

The University of Maryland Joint Program in Survey Methodology (JPSM) is teaming up with Facebook to provide the survey methodology muscle needed to get a much-needed global view of the worldwide COVID-19 crisis—where it’s growing, where it’s abating and where the next hot spot could develop.  “People will go to their Facebook newsfeed, see the invitation and if they accept, be transported over to the University of Maryland to answer the survey questions,” said Professor Frauke Kreuter, director of JPSM . “We are excited to see the strong interests of the World Health Organization and researchers around the globe to use the aggregated numbers in a variety of ways to fight the pandemic.”  Kreuter and her students are beginning collaborations across the UMD campus, including with College of Information Studies researchers building dashboards and other data visualization products, and researchers in the Department of Geographical Sciences who are interested in melding the Facebook survey findings with COVID-19 maps they’re already producing.  The social networking site started rolling out the survey on April 22nd; it’s expected to reach users in every country where the social media giant can be accessed by the end of the week.  The questionnaire asks about any coronavirus symptoms respondents are experiencing, testing availability and results and contacts with the infected. It has sections on mental health, economic conditions and demographics of respondents as well.  Learn more.

Public vs Private Companies in Emerging Markets

Do the world's major multinational, publicly traded firms have an advantage across the developing world over privately owned rivals? It'd be easy to assume so. Access to capital alone, one might think, would give those larger corporations the upper hand. Not so, says new research from Maryland Smith's Pablo Slutzky. And the reason why is a bit surprising. Slutzky's research examines how firms grapple with business regulations that limit their operations in emerging markets. He looks closely at what happened in Argentina in 2012, when the government, in a bid to curb capital flight, banned foreign repatriation of profits. At the time, Argentina was still struggling in the wake of the global economic crisis and fighting its own battles. The ban presented a challenge for multinational companies that were accustomed to sending profits home. Learn More.

Smart Growth for a Peaceful Future in Ireland

In April 2019 National Center for Smart Growth Director Gerrit Knaap and Associate Director Nick Finio traveled to Maynooth in the Republic of Ireland to forge a new research relationship with the International Center for Local and Regional Development. ICLRD’s focus is on building the capacity of regional and local authorities, development agencies, border networks and community and voluntary organizations to manage spatial planning on the island of Ireland as a whole. This mission neatly align’s with NCSG’s work in Maryland, across the US, and nationally, to use best practices in urban planning to build a more sustainable future.  During their trip, Knaap and Finio accompanied ICLRD Director Caroline Creamer to the cities of Derry in Northern Ireland and Letterkenny to discuss cross-border urban planning issues with local academics and policymakers.  NCSG will be joining ICLRD on a pilot basis for two years to explore and join in research projects, with potential to become a permanent partner in 2021. 

UMD Global STEWARDS: STEM Training at the Nexus of Energy, WAter Reuse and FooD Systems

The UMD Global STEWARDS Training Program, funded by the National Science Foundation, welcomed its inaugural cohort of doctoral students in December, 2018. Twelve Global STEWARDS from five UMD schools and colleges (SPH, SPP, AGNR, CMNS, BSOS) come together each year for interdisciplinary training and research opportunities aimed at creating innovative and sustainable solutions that ensure food, energy and water (FEW) security for future generations. UMD Global STEWARDS will be exposed to a range of topics in three integrated FEW research areas: 1) Agricultural resilience through energy-efficient water reuse; 2) Food safety and security in variable climate scenarios; and 3) Decision support systems to advance food-energy-water adaptation strategies. The selected students bring expertise in diverse disciplines from atmospheric science to hydrology to public health, and much more. These experts will come together to pursue cross-cutting, transformative science and policy discoveries to address the daunting challenges of climate change. These include dwindling safe water supplies, more frequent extreme weather events and the need to safely produce more food for an expanding population. Learn More.


Borderless Research Administration Knowledge Exchange (BRAKE) Workshops

The University of Maryland's administrative training program, Borderless Research Administration Knowledge Exchange (BRAKE), engages international institutions as strategic cohorts to build expertise and collaboration in the management and oversight of U.S. federal funding. This unique, proactive approach builds international research partnerships by sharing knowledge and streamlining administrative functions. BRAKE workshops facilitate research collaborations by reducing administrative obstacles for researchers and encouraging joint proposals, further strengthening UMD's position as a top-tier global research institution. UMD BRAKE faculty meet with administrative colleagues at host Institutions and provide in-depth assessments of the attending institutions' administrative infrastructure, to ensure a culture of compliance with all US federal grant regulations. UMD BRAKE faculty also tour facilities and meet with local faculty researchers to begin building bilateral collaborations with partner institutions.

Promoting Safe Produce in the Americas

Since 2016 , the Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (JIFSAN, a collaboration between UMD and the United States Food and Drug Administration that includes the the Center for Food Safety and Security Systems [CFS3]) has partnered with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA)  to produce the Collaborative Training Initiative for the Americas (CTIA).  CTIA offers an ongoing series of needs-based workshops on best practices for produce growers, educators and regulators at sites throughout central and south America, including Buenos Aires, Lima, Tegucigalpa, Kingston, and Mazatlán.

American and Iranian Public Opinion Studies

Before and during the negotiation of the nuclear deal with Iran, the Center for International and Security Studies in Maryland (CISSM) monitored American and Iranian public opinion on the agreement. CISSM and the University of Tehran have previously published related studies regarding Iranian public opinion in "Iranian Public Opinion on the Nuclear Negotiations" (June 2015) & "Iranian Attitudes on Nuclear Negotiations" (September 2014). These are a couple, among many, of the studies CISSM has done to measure public opinion on both sides of this conflict. Learn more.

Developing Australia’s Future Security Experts

The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), which is a University of Maryland research and education center committed to the study of terrorism across the globe, had its first study tour for international students this summer. In June, 15 of Australia’s Macquarie University graduate students and two staff participated in the “2015 START-PICT Seminar on U.S. Perspectives on Contemporary Security Issues and U.S.-Australia Cooperation." The study tour was a two-week program in the Washington, DC area, and it aimed to  create connections between Australia's future security professionals, experts, and START researchers. This was the first time START invited international students to participate in an international study program. Learn more.

Women in Agriculture

The most basic challenge faced by poor or vulnerable women around the world is family food security, i.e., daily access to adequate nutrition. The University of Maryland's Women in Agriculture program (WIA) lead by Dr. James Hanson, extension specialist and professor of agricultural and resource economics, prepares female extension educators and leaders to work with at-risk women, developing skills and practices such as vegetable gardening, small-scale poultry production, composting to improve soil quality, postharvest handling, food preservation, preparation of nutritious meals, and marketing of agricultural products. WIA began as part of the award-winning Afghanistan Agricultural Extension Project, a USDA-funded effort with three other land-grant universities led by the University of California, Davis, designed to assist Afghanistan in strengthening its agricultural extension system and stabilizing its agriculture-based economy. UMD WIA is now expanding, partnering with three universities in Ethiopia and with organizations in Kosovo, with financial support from Baltimore-based International Orthodox Christian Charities. Learn more.

Using Hi-tech to Revive an Ancient Roman Site

Professor R. Lindley Vann (ARCH), Professor Mark Leone (ANTH) and their students at the UMD Restoring Ancient Stabiae project near Pompeii, Italy are demonstrating the “leap-frogging” possibilities of the latest 3D imaging technologies for recording an archeological site.  Existing desktop CAD technologies significantly reduced the time and effort required to create a reproducible image of a site, but it still took five seasons of field work at Stabiae to generate the data for a flat, gray scale image of one of the two great Roman villas there, the Villa Arianna. Utilizing a LIDAR imager purchased jointly by ARCH and BSOS, this past summer’s UMD Stabiae team was able to create a color, 3D rendering of the other great villa—the Villa San Marco—in only three days. And the LIDAR San Marco image has 7x the data points, allowing a “virtual walk-through” of the site. View the video produced by ARCH grad student, Luke Petrocelli.

Immigration and Migration from a Global Perspective

Established in 2011 at UMD as a hub for studying immigration and migration from a global perspective, the Center for the History of the New America provides a distinctive home for interdisciplinary and transnational research, training faculty and students, and documenting and publicizing the stories of local immigrants.  By connecting immigrant communities to the University and other local organizations, it empowers them as well as informs the larger public about the immigrant experience. Among the Center’s most innovative programs is the Archive of Immigrant Voices, which collects the stories of the post-1965 generation of immigrants. In a variety of University courses, Maryland students are interviewing newly arrived members of their families and communities and building an online archive of oral histories. Meanwhile the Center is working on a pioneering digital humanities project that will illuminate the lives of tens of thousands of Afro-Caribbeans as they migrated across the Americas. Learn more.

Solving Global Language Problems at The Maryland Language Science Center

The Maryland Language Science Center is a new collaborative effort involving more than 200 language scientists, drawn from 16 departments and centers in six colleges across the university. Building on the previous work of language scientists at the university, the center is addressing a variety of pressing global problems. This work includes early identification of language disorders in infants, narrowing education achievement gaps caused by “language poverty,” and building technology for information extraction and for real-time translation systems that emulate the feats of simultaneous interpreters. The center will also serve as an incubator for development of new research areas that intersect with language, such as culture, genetics, automatic speech recognition, and K-12 language education. Learn more.

Watch a video of Colin Phillips, the director of the center, discuss language science and provide insight on how humans seem to understand language so effortlessly even though it’s not effortless at all.

India Human Development Survey

The India Human Development Survey (IHDS) is a nationally representative, multi-topic survey of 41,554 households in 1503 villages and 971 urban neighborhoods across India. Led by UMD Sociology Professors Sonal Desai and Reeve Vanneman, in collaboration with Professor Amaresh Dubey at the Centre for the Study of Regional Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, IHDS is designed to complement existing surveys by bringing together a wide range of topics. This breadth permits analyses of associations across a range of social and economic conditions. Studying children’s developments, for example, requires consideration of the role of poverty, family structure, gender relations, community context, and the availability of facilities. The first round of IHDS interviews was completed in 2004-5. A second round re-interviewed these households in 2011-12 to examine changes in an era of rapid economic growth and add interviews with youth aged 15-18 to examine their transition to adulthood. IHDS has been jointly organized by researchers from the University of Maryland and the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), New Delhi. Learn more


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