Systemic Racism Research Fund

In July 2020, President Reif called on the MIT community to draw on its strengths of intellectual inquiry and problem-solving to help achieve lasting progress on racial justice and equality at MIT and beyond. In a letter to the community, President Reif outlined a number of Institute commitments including funding for research to study racism. 

In response to that call, the Office of the Provost launched the Systemic Racism Research and Education Fund, which supports research or educational activities designed to understand the complexities of systemic racism, its harmful impact on American life and society, and how to mitigate or eliminate its effects. The program defines systemic racism as racial discrimination embedded into municipal, state, and federal laws and customs. The manifestations of systemic racism can be found in  inequities in education, housing, employment, health, access to resources, policing, and the criminal justice system, as well as visible participation in scientific and technological breakthroughs. The goal of the grant program is to seed new areas of study, amplify existing activities, create links between related efforts across MIT, and establish connections with research at other institutions.

The program seeks ambitious proposals that marshal the best efforts of MIT’s  diverse and multi-disciplinary community to think creatively about this deeply-rooted and potent problem.  The program encourages applicants to propose  submissions that reflect the diversity of MIT  and build bridges across disciplines and with external partners.

The Charge, Our Next Steps

In March 2022, the Office of the Provost established a $1.2M pool for research to more deeply understand the complexities of systemic racism, its deleterious impact on American life and society, and how to mitigate or eliminate its effects. Dean of the School of Science Nergis Mavalvala and Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences Agustin Rayo are co-leading a Selection Committee tasked with generating the criteria for reviewing proposals that will then be selected for funding.

The Office of the Provost has also provided a $150,000 grant to support the recently launched Initiative on Combatting Systemic Racism, which brings together faculty and researchers from all five MIT schools and the college, as well as partner institutions, with the aim of using big data to develop and harness computational tools that can help effect structural and normative change toward racial equity.

To learn more about applying for funding or to submit a proposal please go here.  Proposals are due by June 30, 2022 for September 1, 2022 funding. 

Committee Members

Fontini Christia
Ford International Professor in the Social Sciences, and Director, MIT Sociotechnical Systems Research Center (SSRC)
Malick Ghachem
Associate Professor and Research Affiliate at the Center for International Studies
Karilyn M. Crockett
Assistant Professor of Urban History, Public Policy & Planning and Chief Equity Officer, City of Boston
Nergis Mavalvala
Curtis (1963) and Kathleen Marble Professor of Astrophysics
Dean, MIT School of Science
John Dozier
Institute Community & Equity Officer, MIT
Agustín Rayo
Professor of Philosophy and Kenan Sahin; Dean of MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
Kuheli Dutt
Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, School of Science
Ray Reagans
Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Management, Professor, Work and Organization Studies, Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Daniel E. Hastings
Associate Dean of Engineering for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Aero/Astro Department Head