University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

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Announcing the Call to Action Research Projects, 2021-22

Foellinger Auditorium at the University of Illinois on a spring day. Students are relaxing on the grass.

November 2, 2021 1:43 PM

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

In July 2020 I announced the creation of the Call to Action Research Program to Address Racism and Social Injustice, a $2 million annual commitment by our university to respond to the critical need for universities across our nation to prioritize research focused on systemic racial inequities and injustices, as well as the expansion of community-based knowledge that advances the understanding of systemic racism and generationally embedded racial disparity.

Today, I am pleased to announce the recipients for this first year of Call to Action funding. To read the list of this year’s projects is to begin to appreciate the full array of talent, creativity and commitment to use the power of research to transform lives and create an equitable and just world. A full list of projects and descriptions are available on the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion website.

From the arts and public engagement to work on data equity, perinatal, youth and family programs, college access and success, racial equity in the legal system and language justice, the awarded proposals each have the potential to make immediate change in our community and represent the heart of our land-grant mission and the very best of who we are as a university.

In total, 22 projects were funded from the 91 pre-proposals submitted in three research focus areas: systemic racism and social justice; law enforcement and criminal justice reform; disparities in health and health care. These projects represent eight colleges and 17 departments and administrative units, with 70 percent of funded proposals collaborating with almost 20 different organizations in our communities. Awards this year range from $10,000 to $100,000 and span the breadth of our research enterprise.

Congratulations to each project leader and community partner. The research groups will share their work with the campus community at a research symposium in Fall 2022.

Even though much of the world’s attention has been necessarily turned to the continuing devastation of the current pandemic, there is no diminishing of the urgency for the solutions our university is uniquely positioned to deliver around systemic racism and embedded racial disparity in our society. I encourage you to explore these first Call to Action projects.


Robert J. Jones