Applications open for grants to fund retiree projects

Retired Cornell educators have until Nov. 6 to submit applications for the 2024 Podell Endowment Awards for Research and Scholarship (PEARS).

Any member of Cornell Academics & Professors Emeriti (CAPE) may apply for a grant, which in the past have ranged from $2,000 to $11,000.

Albert Podell ’58, who died in 2023, endowed the program for continuing research and scholarship in retirement. Awardees can use the grants to fund projects that cover a broad variety of topics, as long as they aim to make the world a better place in some way.

The 2023 PEARS awardees had a climate focus, which was of particular interest to Podell, but “we are open to projects from all over the university as long as they can make a case that this work will have a positive impact somewhere,” said Elizabeth Earle, professor emerita of plant breeding and genetics in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and this year’s PEARS selection committee chair.

The 2023 PEARS recipients were Michael Hoffmann, professor emeritus of entomology (CALS), and Robin Hadlock Seeley, retired senior research associate at Shoals Marine Laboratory.

Hoffmann used the award to create a social media campaign for his Our Changing Menu initiative, which raises awareness about how climate change is affecting the food we eat, while Hadlock Seeley created an inventory of salt marshes in Maine and estimated recent grass losses in the lower salt marsh zone. This work contributes to an effort to estimate how “blue carbon” storage in salt marshes can affect climate change.

PEARS awardees may work in collaboration with colleagues who are not retired. Award funds can be used for, among other things, technical or computational support, equipment, supplies and essential travel. Find more information on eligibility and how to submit an application on the PEARS website.

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