Associate Professor Sera Linardi has been selected as one of ten semifinalists for phase four of Pitt’s recently overhauled internal funding competition, the Pitt Seed Program. This phase’s grantees will receive an award of up to $75,000 to continue developing their proposals.
“This is a project that has brewed since I was an idealistic teen clipping out news about instances where universities have come through for marginalized communities by using their academic expertise in very real and practical ways," said Linardi.
“Since then I have learned a lot more about life in academia: the many, many silos, the chase for publications and grants, and how productivity metrics, red tape, and the lack of social supports limits what people with the best intentions can do.”
Linardi is the founding director of the Center for Analytical Approaches to Social Innovation (CAASI) and the Grief to Action volunteer network against systemic racism. Her proposal, Building Data Science for Social Justice (DS4SJ) Ecosystems: Sustaining Impact, aims to connect student learning across disciplines and semesters for more sustained community collaboration.
Despite historic systemic barriers, Linardi is hopeful that Pitt chose to support her project, which was chosen out of 45 university-wide proposals.
“Knowing what we’re up against, the news that my university considers our project among the top 10 that is in line with their strategic plan—and that we have a year (and $75k) to prove that it is viable and scalable—brings up both joy and anxiety.”
Over the next year, Linardi plans to post weekly on her Twitter, @seralinardi, about the good and bad in her Seed project journey, in an effort to be transparent about her work and engage with the community.
“Uncertainty and emotions related to work are things that I normally process privately,” said Linardi, “But these are real barriers to engagement in academia.”
Since its creation in 2018, Pitt Seed has sought transformative project proposals to improve the University and push forward the goals outlined in the Plan for Pitt.
The next phase of Pitt Seed begins in spring 2023 when up to two of the ten projects will be selected to present their pilot data for the opportunity to receive a grant capped at $500,000 each. They will then commit to sustaining and scaling their idea University-wide over the course of one to three years.