New Grants for CDE Affiliates

Congratulations to the seven CDE affiliates who received new research grants, from both university and federal funders, this spring.

The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation awarded seventeen new projects funding in the fifth round of the UW2020 Initiative. The competitive grant program supports collaborative, highly innovative projects that have the potential to fundamentally transform a field of study.

This round, Jenna Nobles with Deborah Ehrenthal and Robert Nowak received funding for the project “A New Window into Human Reproduction.” Merging the tools of data science and formal demography, the researchers will follow several million women on the journey to conception and through the early months of pregnancy. Information will be aggregated on women’s menstrual cycles, sexual activity, ovulation, and conception through cell and tablet devices, as well as information about the physical, social and economic environments in which women and their partners live. This project will provide some of the first estimates of large-scale population variability in the pathway to live birth.

Jason Fletcher will lead an expansion of the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (WLS) with Carol Roan, Joe Savard, Sanjay Asthana, Marsha Mailick, James Raymo, and Nora Cate Schaeffer. In “Wisconsin Longitudinal Study 2020 and Beyond,” the team will expand the study in four ways. First, data from class of 1957 graduates not resurveyed in WLS will be digitized in order to contextualize the school and peer environments of the 10,000 respondents who were followed in the WLS for the past 50 years. Second, these digitized surveys will be linked to the 1940 census in order to infuse new measures of early childhood environments. Third, the surveys will be linked to mortality records, allowing researchers to examine how early exposures to pollution and toxicants predict mortality. Finally, the new project will explore the possibilities of linking the full 30,000 respondents to recent census products through the Wisconsin Federal Statistical Research Data Center.

Eric Grodsky is part of a research team, led by John Robert Warren of the Minnesota Population Center, awarded a $12.8 million grant from the National Institute on Aging to study the impacts of education on cognitive functioning in later life. The R01 project will bring together sociologists, neuropsychologists, epidemiologists, and survey researchers to re-interview and collect genetic information from the 25,000 surviving members of the High School & Beyond Cohort. By studying these unique and rich data, the team hopes to better understand the implications of educational opportunities, conditions, and achievements for cognitive functioning and impairment in later life.