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Each month, the OVPR highlights the past month’s sponsored research funding awarded to Tufts’ investigators, including both a list of funded awards and one or more featured project abstracts.

You can download the list of December’s awardees by clicking the button below. In December, Tufts researchers received 41 awards for extramural funding from federal, foundation, and corporate sponsors.

To submit a recent award to be highlighted, please use the "nominate a project" button below.

This month's featured abstract highlights the work of the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts’ Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, which recently received two major awards. The first, Transforming Opportunity Structure by Connecting Youth Organizing to Mobility, is funded by the Ford Foundation. The second, Working with Election Officials to Address Youth Participation, is supported by the Democracy Fund. Both are led by Dr. Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, Director of CIRCLE. You can find more details about each project below.

Transforming Opportunity Structure by Connecting Youth Organizing to Mobility

PI: Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg
Funder: Ford Foundation
Title: Transforming Opportunity Structure by Connecting Youth Organizing to Mobility

Abstract: Systemic and unfair divestment in the transition to adulthood is a major societal problem that affects specific segments of the youth population. Existing lack of investment limits opportunities for civic, social and economic mobility for young people who experience poverty and/or marginalization. The problem of divestment in youth is deep-rooted and urgently needs system-based solutions.

It is important to make significant progress by leveraging the momentum and elevating the impact of the youth organizing movement and connecting youth organizing to civic, social, and economic mobility. CIRCLE, in partnership with Youth Engagement Fund and Opportunity Youth United, will work on two strategic initiative in service of this goal.

  • Bolster mechanisms for networked leadership development for young and diverse leaders of organizing groups. Young leaders of color and young leaders of social change who experience poverty and other forms of marginalization should have better access to opportunities that provide opportunities for personal growth, network ties, mentoring, and career advancement. 
  • Transform youth organizing into an economic mobility pathway. Young people who participate in youth organizing should not only gain skills and contribute to the cause they work on, but also gain credentials and marketable skills that increase their economic mobility.  In other words, organizing should not be a detriment young people’s path toward economic security, but instead, a catalyst for large-scale social change toward equality.    

Using this core support funding, CIRCLE has formed deep research-practice partnerships to develop a strategic framework that aims to strengthen pathways to social and economic security for low-income youth through civic and political engagement and support for young leaders of social change efforts and grassroots base-building organizations. CIRCLE’s work is part of a growing body of RPPs that are trying to improve scholarship through community-connected inquiry, and also provide stronger infrastructure for social change and social movements, particularly those led by young people from marginalized groups and communities of color.  We will allocate a significant amount of staff time to this partnership to work on various field-identified and researcher-identified research priorities and seek additional opportunities to study the short- and long-term impacts of the initiatives outlined above.

Working with Election Officials to Address Youth Participation

PI: Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg
Funder: Democracy Fund
Title: Working with Election Officials to Address Youth Participation

Abstract: This project aims to improve the practice of election administrators as a potential means to improving trust in elections and voter engagement among young, disconnected voters. The project will produce new knowledge about engaging young people of diverse political, racial, and geographic backgrounds using a survey and test this knowledge in practice by creating and supporting adult-youth partnerships between local youth groups and election administrators to increase youth voter turnout and engagement.

Two major problems this project aims to study and solve are: 1) low voter engagement stemming from the lack of knowledge and trust among young, disconnected voters and; 2) low capacity among election administrators to understand young voters' needs and provide adequate support and information to young voters. These problems and the necessity of finding solutions to them are linked, as election administrators hold largely untapped potential to improve youth voter turnout, especially among those with low educational attainment and furthest away from civic, economic, and educational opportunities. Election administrators may simply not understand what young voters need, and may be unsure of how to work with them. On the other hand, disconnected young voters, being inexperienced in local and national elections and being more mobile than older people, often feel confused about their eligibility, deadlines for registration, what documentation they need, which candidates best represent their interests, and the legitimacy of the election system itself, including local election administrators.