Center for Human Evolution and Diversity accepting grant applications

Center seeks proposals that explore innovative uses of mobile devices to study human health and behavior, human interactions with the environment

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Center for Human Evolution and Diversity at Penn State (CHED) is currently accepting grant proposals for multidisciplinary projects aimed at developing innovative methods for visualizing and/or studying the human phenotype (including human behavior) and human contextual information using common handheld and wearable devices.

Recognizing that mobile devices such as smartphones and smartwatches are ubiquitous and capture enormous amounts of data on human behavior and interactions with the physical and social environment, the center is especially interested in projects that design methods for harvesting and processing mobile data in order to shed light on previously poorly understood aspects of human health, behavior or human interactions with the environment. Applicants are encouraged to design novel approaches that utilize automated methods such as machine learning or deep learning algorithms, voice recognition, natural language processing, and/or digital image processing.

CHED anticipates funding two successful proposals funded, for up to $20,000 each. Projects involving undergraduate researchers are encouraged and may be eligible for up $5,000 in extra support. Applications from multidisciplinary teams of Penn State researchers representing at least three departments, including one from computer science or engineering, will be considered, and applications describing novel and risky, but defendable, methodological approaches are especially welcome.

Applications consisting of a one-page summary (NSF-style, with separate headings for the overview, statement on the intellectual merit of the proposed activity, and statement on the broader impacts of the proposed activity), NSF-style biographical sketches of all co-investigators, a budget, and project timeline should be sent to Nina Jablonski ( and Mark Shriver ( no later than Friday, Dec. 10. Additional information can be found on the CHED website.

Final selection of projects for funding will be based on internal peer review of written applications. Teams that receive grant support will be expected to showcase their research project in an upcoming episode of CHED’s “Tracking Traits” podcast series.

Last Updated October 12, 2021