After nine months of specialized training, mentorship and workshops, the inaugural cohort of 21 researchers have successfully completed UNM’s Fostering Research Expansion in the Social Sciences and Humanities (FRESSH) pilot program.

Interim Associate Vice President for Research Tom Turner
Interim Associate Vice President for Research Tom Turner.

 In February, The Office of the Vice President for Research partnered with the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education and Human Sciences to launch FRESSH. The focus of the program is on concept and proposal development, while ultimately continuing to foster research around social sciences and humanities. 

"Opportunities such as FRESSH are vital to ensuring all of our researchers have the necessary support and professional development they need to achieve excellence, regardless of their area of scholarship," said Ellen Fisher, UNM vice president for research. "This diverse group of researchers spent the last nine months truly developing nascent concepts into competitive proposals with the guidance and support from some of our talented faculty mentors at UNM. I'm excited to see where their project proposals will go and the ultimate impact their work will have in the future." 

Since its launch in the spring semester, researchers participated in trainings and mentorship sessions necessary to help develop their concepts into competitive proposals that could be submitted to federal agencies for funding consideration. 

Miriam Gay-Antaki, assistant professor of Geography & Environmental Studies, found the experience to be incredibly valuable, said, “The overwhelming sense of applying to a big grant is somewhat lessened by being part of a cohort that is attempting to do the same thing and a team that offers incredible support.FRESSH breaks this seemingly enormous task into manageable steps and invited guest speakers that had ample experience in applying for these grants. 

The first FRESSH cohort included faculty from the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Education and Human Sciences, the School of Law, and the School of Architecture and Planning. They include: 

FRESSH 2022 Cohort with their mentors
FRESSH 2022 Cohort with their mentors.
Assistant Vice President for Research Melissa Emery Thompson
Assistant Vice President for Research Melissa Emery Thompson.

Five researchers from this cohort have submitted competitive submissions. Participants have until the end of June 2023 to complete their submissions. 

 “This experience has forced me to think about different audiences," said Gay-Antaki. "What are big government grants interested in funding and why? This has led me to reformulate my research questions depending on who my target audience is.As a result, this has forced me to think about the scale of the impact of my work.” 

The UNM Faculty Research Development Office anticipates accepting applications in spring 2023 for the next cohort.