On April 5, five distinguished faculty members were honored for their achievements in securing externally funded research grants at the inaugural Sponsored Research Day on the Rose Hill campus.

The University Research Council presented the Outstanding Externally Funded Research Awards (OEFRA) to recognize the high quality and impact of sponsored research within the last three years and its enhancement of Fordham’s reputation—both nationally and globally.

Honorees in five separate categories included:

Sciences: Silvia C. Finnemann, Ph.D., professor of biology

Since joining Fordham University in 2008, Finnemann has secured over $3.65 million in grants from the National Institute of Health, the Beckman Initiative for Macular Research and the Retinal Stem Cell Consortium of New York State for her research on healthy eye function and age-related changes to eye cell function. These grants enable her to support a thriving laboratory where she has a team of graduate and undergraduate students and post-doctoral researchers.

Social Sciences: Celia B. Fisher, Ph.D., The Marie Ward Doty University Chair in Ethics and professor of psychology

Fisher has earned 12 major research awards and over $11 million from federal agencies over the past 20 years for her work in HIV and substance abuse prevention and research ethics. Recent awards have come from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

Humanities: Stephen R. Grimm, Ph.D., professor of philosophy

Grimm was awarded $4.5 million by the John Templeton Foundation and the Henry Luce Foundation to lead a three-year interdisciplinary initiative called “Varieties of Understanding: New Perspectives from Psychology, Philosophy, and Theology.” His grant is the largest externally funded research award in the humanities in Fordham’s history.

Interdisciplinary Research: Jennifer L. Gordon, professor of law

With grants from the Ford Foundation and the Open Society Foundation, Gordon pursued a three-year initiative to combat abuse and trafficking of Mexican migrant workers recruited to work in the United States. Partnering with the Mexican human rights organization ProDESC, she has developed a transnational pilot program set to launch this year to implement recommendations that have arisen from her research.

Junior Faculty Research: Marc N. Conte, Ph.D., assistant professor of economics

Conte received nearly $500,000 from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, a division of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. In collaboration with a researcher from the University of Nebraska, he is using the grant to study how behavioral economics can improve auctions that induce farmers to set aside land for conservation and biodiversity.

In opening the ceremony, Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham, lauded the honorees for the fearless inquiry of their academic research, particularly at a time when truth and wisdom are being devalued in our society.

“Research is at the center of the academic enterprise,” he said, “enriching not only the Fordham community, but the community of the United States and of the world.”

Organized by the Office of Research and the University Research Council and sponsored by the Bronx Science Consortium, the daylong event also included grant education workshops, a forum of university researchers, and a keynote address by Dr. Walter L. Goldschmidts, Ph.D., vice president and executive director of the Office of Sponsored Programs at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

-Nina Heidig