The National Science Foundation has awarded New York University’s Department of Anthropology and its institutional partners a five-year, $3.2 million grant to support a graduate student training program, the New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology (NYCEP). NSF’s flagship interdisciplinary training initiative, Integrated Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT), funds the program.
NYCEP aims to equip the next generation of evolutionary primatologists with the experience, skills, expertise, and creativity to tackle critical research problems that can be solved only by scientists with the unique interdisciplinary and global perspectives that the program’s students receive.
NYCEP brings together researchers, educators, and resources from five institutions in New York City: the City University of New York, Columbia University, NYU, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Wildlife Conservation Society at the Bronx Zoo. The consortium includes over 60 scholars with research interests in comparative anatomy, paleontology, molecular systematics, population genetics, social behavior, ecology, and conservation of primates, spanning the entire breadth of the field of evolutionary primatology. NYCEP faculty and students currently conduct fieldwork in more than thirty different countries worldwide.
The grant is a renewal of an existing IGERT grant, which had funded NYCEP for the past five years. Previously, NYCEP was supported by an NSF Research Training Groups award.
Although the NYCEP consortium has been in place for almost two decades, with continuous support from NSF, the current award will allow a major restructuring and enhancement of the curriculum and research activities of the program.
“NYCEP offers students an integrated educational curriculum in a multidisciplinary and global setting, involving a wide menu of courses and research opportunities,” explained Terry Harrison, director of NYU’s Center for the Study of Human Origins (CSHO) and chair of NYU’s Department of Anthropology, as one of the grant’s primary investigators. “Novel aspects of the redesigned program will include a stronger focus on interdisciplinary training and research in conservation science and paleoanthropology, which combines the study of human evolution, archaeology, and earth sciences.”
The endeavor will involve new partnerships with Rutgers University, the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and Tübingen University in Germany, and the Richard Gilder Graduate School at the American Museum of Natural History.
“The new programmatic initiatives will expand international opportunities for research, enable students to move more quickly toward the Ph. D. and publish earlier, and introduce novel approaches to recruiting students from underrepresented groups,” added Harrison.
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