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Application of validated facial avatar paradigm to study of violence-exposed mothers with PTSD

Call 2014
Medicine

The use of facial avatars that one can transform or "morph" from one emotional expression to another, for example, speaking of high-arousal, negatively valenced affects such as from anxiety to anger and back, could help us test an important hypothesis concerning emotional differentiation before and after lab stressors. ln return, we as experts in child and adolescent psychiatry, we can help Todorov's lab with the design of more developmentally sensitive stimuli for different child-ages. Specifically, our hypothesis in the Geneva Early Childhood Stress Project is that maternai violence-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) impairs the reading of high-arousal, negatively valenced affects by mothers of their children's emotional expression (Schechter et al., 2006). We want to know if it also does so in their children in relation to their caregivers and peers.

This seed-funding grant initiative will permit a) the adaptation and mastery of the paradigm in relation to the Geneva Early Childhood Stress Project and b) will allow for further exchange that can foster an application for more substantive funding.

projects
Participants
Prof. Daniel Schechter
University of Geneva
Prof. Alexander Todorov
Princeton University

Democratic responsiveness and redistributive politics

Call 2014
Political Science

We seek funding to organize an exploratory workshop that would be held in Geneva in early June or September, 2014. The workshop would bring together political scientists from Princeton and UNIGE to explore the topic of democratic responsiveness in the context of rising socio-economic inequality. Why democratically-elected governments have not responded to rising inequality by engaging in compensatory redistribution is a "hot topic" in the study of American politics. Several Princeton faculty members (notably Martin Gilens, Nolan McCarty, and Thomas Romer) have contributed to this debate. Recently, students of European politics, including members of the department of political science at UNIGE, have begun to ask similar questions. The proposed workshop would serve as a venue for discussion of theoretical issues pertaining to the concept of "democratic representation" as well as new empirical research in this demain.
Our proposal builds on longstanding ties between the two departments. The workshop will provide an opportunity not only to explore common questions and potential collaborative research among the Princeton and UNIGE participants, but also to discuss how to organize a more regular, ongoing exchange of PhD students, and to raise funds for future workshops of a similar kind. We will also to invite researchers from the Graduate lnstitute (Cédric Dupont) and the University of Lausanne (Daniel Oesch and Jan Rosset).

projects
Participants
Prof. Jonas Pontusson
University of Geneva
Prof. Nolan McCarty
Princeton University

Enhanced superconducting wires for fusion applications

Call 2014
Physics

The proposed project is at the frontier between material science and engineering. The goal is to improve the understanding of the degradation mechanisms of superconducting cables and magnets to support the development of the next generation of thermonuclear fusion reactors. The two partners have advanced expertise in complementary demains, superconductivity and its applications for the group at UNIGE, and structural mechanics for the group at PPPL. This grant represents the main ingredient for a dynamic collaboration based on frequent exchanges of young scientists from the two laboratories.

This new connection between Princeton and UNIGE was just created this summer at the 23th International Conference on Magnet Technology when Dr. Zhai from PPPL met Prof. Senatore from UNIGE; both sides showed a strong interest in establishing a partnership collaboration to bring complementary technical expertise together to make impact to the field of designing better superconducting wires for fusion magnets.

projects
Participants
Prof. Carmine Senatore
University of Geneva
Dr. Yuhu Zhai
Princeton University

Small codes for large systems: information-theoretic privacy preserving content identification

Call 2014
Digital Studies
Informatics

The proposed project will focus on the information-­theoretic analysis of BOW based content identification systems. To our knowledge there is little work on the theoretical analysis of BOW‐systems' performance besides [5] and none on BOW based content identification. In addition, the privacy-preserving aspects of BOW based systems remain an emerging and little studied problem. In [6], it was shown that privacy-­‐preserving computations can be made efficient for specific functionals related to statistical estimation, and in [7] the construction of new polar coding schemes are shown to achieve the secrecy capacity with low complexity. The project will leverage these various techniques in the context of BOW based systems. The recent work on linear classification [8] will also be studied in this context.

The project applicants pose all necessary skills and have proven records of achievements to address the above problems. Therefore, the goal of this problem is to provide a simple and tractable model allowing to analyze, optimize and guide the design of BOW systems. We will consider the case of non-­‐compressed features to reveal the theoretical limits of BOW based identification systems, analyze the impact of descriptor compression and encoding/assignment as well as discovering the impact of geometrical consistency between the descriptors on overall system performance. Such a formulation was not considered in earlier studies.

References

  1. P. Moulin, “Statistical modeling and analysis of content identification,” in Information Theory and Applications Workshop (ITA), 2010. IEEE, 2010, pp. 1–5.
  2. A. L Varna and M. Wu, “Modeling and analysis of correlated binary fingerprints for content identification,” Information Forensics and Security, IEEE Trans-­‐ actions on, vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 1146–1159, 2011.
  3. F. Farhadzadeh, S. Voloshynovskiy, and O. Koval, “Performance analysis of content-­‐ based identification using constrained list-­‐based decoding,” IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security, vol. 7, no. 5, pp. 1652–1667, 2012.
  4. S. Voloshynovskiy, O. Koval, F. Beekhof, F. Farhadzadeh, and T. Holotyak, “Information-­‐ theoretical analysis of private content identification,” in IEEE Information Theory Workshop, ITW2010, Dublin, Ireland, Aug.30-­‐Sep.3 2010.
  5. Yin Zhang, Rong Jin, and Zhi-­‐Hua Zhou, “Understand-­‐ ing bag-­‐of-­‐words model: a statistical framework,” Inter-­‐ national Journal of Machine Learning and Cybernetics, vol. 1, no. 1-­‐4, pp. 43–52, 2010.
  6. E. Abbe, A. Khandani, A. W. Lo, “Privacy-­‐preserving methods in systemic risk", Proc. and Papers of the American Economical Review (AER), 2012. New York Times article: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/09/a-­‐data-­‐weapon-­‐to-­‐avoid-­‐the-­‐next-­‐financial-­‐crisis/
  7. E. Abbe, “Extracting randomness and dependencies via polarization, Slepian-­‐Wolf coding and secrecy” presented at ITA, Feb 2011, to appear in the IEEE Information Theory Transactions.
  8. E. Abbe, N. Alon, A. Bandeira, “Linear coding, classification and the space-­‐avoiding-­‐set problem”, preprint, 2013.
projects
Participants
Prof. Svyatoslav Voloshynovskyy
University of Geneva
Prof. Emmanuel Abbe
Princeton University

The Ising model in three and four dimensions

Call 2014
Mathematics

The proposed collaboration will connect a leading young researcher, of outstanding promise in his cohort, with an established authority
in the field. Thematically, the collaboration would link Modern Probability with related Mathematical Physics from which many of its deep challenges originate. It is expected to also form a basis for a network which has room for growth, seeding a collaboration on which a future European Research Council (ERC) grant application (by Hugo Duminil-Copin) may be based for a collaborative program which may grow to involve students and other young researchers, and possibly also other institutions. Princeton and Geneva Universities ossess exceptionally strong groups in the respective fields and the collaboration between the two principal investigators could extend to other members of these two research groups in order to tackle related problems.

Since its formulation by Lenz [Len20], the Ising model has been the most studied example of a system undergoing a phase transition.
The model was intended to explain the fact, discovered by Pierre Curie in 1895, that a ferromagnet loses its magnetization when heated above a critical temperature. Beyond its original motivation, the Ising model and its phase transition were found to be of a rather broad relevance, though of course its features do not exhaust the range of possible behaviors in statistical mechanics. The model also provided the testing ground for a large variety of techniques which have been later used to study other models. The goal of this proposal is to capitalize on the recent success (and the techniques developed) to pursuit the study of the Ising model.

projects
Participants
Prof. Hugo Duminil-Copin
University of Geneva
Prof. Michael Aizenman
Princeton University

Exploring links between statistical learning abilities and attention

Call 2015
Statistics
Educational Sciences

Through the proposed collaboration, we intend to join forces and take advantage of expertise in distinct domains to further characterize the link between attention and statistical learning at the individual level, as well as to shed light on the mechanisms by which the nfluence of topdown attention might come about. The impact of other cognitive abilities (fluid intelligence, working memory) as well as of motivational and emotional factors will be taken into consideration.

To this end, we will:
1- Investigate the determinants of inter-individual behavioral variability in statistical learning, particularly in relation to inter-individual variability in various forms of attention.
2. Take advantage of an expert population (action video gamers) presenting enhanced attention to test the impact of augmented attention on statistical learning, aiming at confirming and extending the preliminary observation of faster learning in gamers.
3. Gain a better understanding of the neural structures recruited as statistical learning unfolds – with a special interest in attentional regions.
4- Strengthening contacts and exchange between the two partners – through regular remote (online) meetings throughout the duration of the grant, and via the joint organization of a two-day workshop gathering researchers from the University of Geneva, Princeton University and international world-known researchers on learning.
5- Offering seminars and developing teaching resources, both about the basic science of attention and learning, and about how to translate these insights into education.
6- Offering week-long residencies for PhD/post-doc students in the two laboratories, in support of the scientific goals of the project.
7- Potentially following-up the proposed projects with further jointly funded applications.

projects
Participants
Prof. Daphne Bavelier
University of Geneva
Prof. Nicholas Turk-Browne
Princeton University

The metabolic control of tissue integrity and function in health and disease

Call 2015
Medicine

Western society enjoys almost unrestricted access to food, but the combination with low levels of physical exercise results in a condition termed the metabolic syndrome (Grundy et al., 2006). Typical features associated with this syndrome are an increase in diabetic patients as well as a high risk for cardiovascular complications and enhanced potential for developing cancers. Although many research proposals are currently addressing the impact of metabolic changes caused by an excess availability of sugar and fat in our diet on the survival and proliferation of cells in our tissues, almost none of these studies is asking the question how tissues and their functional properties are changing under such conditions.

In order to meet the increasing demands in the clinics to understand and treat metabolic diseases, molecular information is needed about the effects of metabolites such as glucose on the amount and organization of the extracellular matrix, and on the activity of integrin cell surface receptors for extracellular matrix. Importantly, recent bio-medical research conducted by groups in Geneva (Pinon et al., 2014) and Princeton (Miller et al., 2014) has revealed key mechanistic interactions between an increased uptake of metabolites and the deterioration of tissue function through fibrosis. In addition, research conducted at the level of the integrin receptors (in the Wehrle-Haller lab) proposes that the metabolic state of a cell, exemplified by either aerobic or anaerobic decomposition of glucose, strongly influences the function of these integrin receptors. The consequences are either strongly-adherent and highly-signaling cells under low glucose conditions, or the enhanced deposition and remodeling of extracellular matrix under high glucose conditions. independently, research in the Schwarzbauer lab showed that high glucose conditions stimulate assembly of the extracellular matrix protein fibronectin and that this fibronectin matrix serves as a template for accumulation of type IV collagen, which is a hallmark of fibrosis in vivo.

The goal of this application is for our research teams to join forces in order to explore the mechanistic details of integrin receptor unction in response to the metabolic state of cells, and to link glucose-induced changes in integrin function to the pathological eposition of extracellular matrix. This research will identify new regulatory mechanisms acting at the cell (cytoplasmic adapter for ntegrins) and tissue levels (functional state of the matrix) and suggest new therapeutic targets, diagnostic markers and potentially new drugs designed to revert or identify pathological changes in the tissue. Metabolic effects on cell-matrix interactions are directly related to diseases such as diabetes, chronic inflammation, and nerve and muscle degeneration. Thus, our joint project will have a great socio-economic impact for our society and will hopefully serve as a seed to attract other research groups from our universities to investigate the importance of this mechanism in cancer and cardiovascular disease.

projects
Participants
Prof. Bernhard Wehrle-Haller
University of Geneva
Prof. Jean E. Schwarzbauer
Princeton University

The role of Lysyl Oxidase (LOX) in the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy

Call 2015
Medicine

Diabetic retinopathy is a common complication of diabetes and a leading cause of blindness in adults. The high blood glucose levels that occur in diabetes damage the blood vessels of the retina leading to excess vascular permeability, retinal and macular edema and on
the long run blindness. The effects of diabetes can cause blood vessels to swell and leak or, in some cases, new blood vessels grow abnormally on the retina. One of the most prominent alterations in diabetic microangiopathy is the glucose-induced thickening of the extracellular matrix (ECM) around the retinal capillaries. The ECM is a complex protein network that provides scaffolding and structural support for cells and organs. Collagens are the most abundant ECM proteins in our bodies. In blood vessels, collagen forms a three-dimensional network for attachment of the endothelial cells that form the blood vessel wall. Other major ECM proteins include fibronectin, laminin, and proteoglycans. Fibronectin is of vital importance since it is required for formation of blood vessels during embryonic development.

Thickening of the blood vessel ECM is a dynamic process that reflects changes in turnover of matrix components combined with high-glucose-induced increases in synthesis of collagen, fibronectin, and other ECM proteins by the vascular cells. The exact mechanism
through which this happens has not been elucidated. Most studies in diabetes have focused on cellular abnormalities, while few have investigated the ultrastructural alterations that result in the thickened vascular wall or its impact on ECM porosity and capillary leakage. One potential clue relates to lysyl oxidase (LOX), an extracellular enzyme that controls collagen maturation in the ECM and stabilizes newly-formed ECMs through the formation of LOX-mediated crosslinks. Chronopoulos et al has shown that high glucose increases LOX expression and activity by retinal endothelial cells in culture and this excess LOX accumulates in the blood vessel walls in the retina [1]. The Schwarzbauer lab has recently shown that assembly of a fibronectin- and collagen IV-rich matrix is stimulated by high glucose through a process that involves increased activity of fibronectin receptors on the cell surface [2]. LOX has also been reported to function
inside the cell where it has been linked to changes in gene expression including upregulation of fibronectin [3]. These findings suggest a novel hypothesis to explain glucose-induced ECM thickening in the retina, namely, that upregulation of intracellular LOX activates expression of fibronectin, and perhaps collagen, which in combination with increased receptor activity, leads to excess production and deposition of ECM components. LOX also binds directly to fibronectin [4], so it could play a dual role by binding to fibronectin matrix, stabilizing it, and promoting ECM accumulation and vessel wall thickening.

We have devised a limited set of preliminary experiments that can be accomplished with Seed Grant funds to help us refine our hypothesis.

  1. We will analyse the upregulation of LOX, fibronectin and collagen IV expression resulting from high glucose conditions/VEGF substitution in cultured retinal endothelial cells in as well as in retinas of diabetic rats. A correlation in protein localization within tissues and in the timing of protein expression changes in cell culture will support our hypothesis that LOX might be involved in the upregulation of ECM proteins.
  2. We will determine whether LOX downregulation in diabetic rat retinas decreases fibronectin and collagen IV localization in the retinal vessel wall and whether reduced LOX (by means of siRNA or PEDF substitution) in cultured retinal cells leads to changes in fibronectin
    and collagen gene expression. Reduced levels of fibronectin and/or collagen in tissues or cells in which LOX has been downregulated experimentally will support a role for LOX in the upregulation of these proteins in the retina.
projects
Participants
Prof. Gabriele Thumann
University of Geneva
Prof. Jean E. Schwarzbauer
Princeton University

Exploring Eastern Europe/Russia – Middle Eastern relations, late 19th to late 20th centuries

Call 2016
Political Science
International Relations
History

There are two compelling intellectual reasons for this project. First, histories of Eastern Europe/Russia – Middle East relations (EERMER) are a relative lacuna in the scholarship on both regions; most extant work is centered on Russia/USSR, and/or the Cold War, and/or state actors; and few scholars od various subfields are in conversation. Second, EERMER from the late 19th to the late 20th centuries is a wonderful laboratory to explore broad conceptual issues – for instance about periodization and space – in the field of modern (societal) transnational and (state) international history.
Questions include: how did relations (not) change in the slow transition from imperial to post-imperial and Cold War periods; how did the fact that Eastern Europe, Russia, and the Middle East are in some ways ‘neighbors’ affect the nature of their transnational relations; could they be defined as a double periphery; are there new ways of studying their contact and overlap zone(s), etc. (For more detail, and for possible themes in the 2 workshops that form the core of this project proposal. There are also three compelling organizational reasons, related to PU's and UNIGE's desire to internationalize, for this project.
This project will benefit the two universities: (a) in extending PU-UNIGE collaborations to the humanities (b) in helping to build and link up extant knowledge among faculty members at both universities, and (c) in serving graduate students interested in the project’s theme: by having them attend workshop both at their own university and across the Atlantic. The project has a well-planned structure and four outputs: two 1-day workshops, one at each university, in early and late 2017; following the two workshops, two 1-day seminars for graduate students; a special journal issue; and a grant application to a much larger grant, by the Swiss National Science Foundation, surrounding the theme of this project.

projects
Participants
Cyrus Schayegh
Princeton University
Serguei Oushakine
Princeton University
Sandrine Kott
University of Geneva
Ozcan Yilmaz
University of Geneva
Ondrej Matejka
University of Geneva
Michel Christian
University of Geneva

Learning History in Emergency Zones

Call 2016
History
Migration Studies

We are proposing to join the work of InZone at the University of Geneva (which offers training and learning opportunities for students and scholars working emergency zones) and the Global History Lab (which offers an online course to tens of thousands of students worldwide and at Princeton) to extend Princeton's online course to refugees in Azraq refugee camp and in Amman, Jordan, and in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya (year 1) and to undergraduates from the University of Geneva (year 2). The overall goals are to deepen the immersion of the world into a single course and to study the possibilities, challenges and limits of global collaborative learning. This initiative has two dimensions, one is to conduct research on the humanitarian potential of online collaboration, and the second is to pilot what we hope will become the first cross-listed undergraduate course between Princeton and Geneva. The first is to explore a humanitarian program within the course. To that end, we are creating three offshore sites for the Lab. One in a United Nations High Commission for Refugee camp in Kenya, called Kakuma, home to Sudanese and Somali refugees and two in Jordan for Syrians (Asraq refugee camp, home to 25,000 Syrian refugees, and Amman). We are partnering with the UNHCR for all three locations, and the Norwegian Refugee Council for the Jordan locations.

The present grant will sustain research and data collection piggy backed on this experiment. We propose to do this over two years, 2017-18 and 2018-19. The second is to explore the prospects of bringing Princeton and Geneva undergraduates into joint teams within the course. This will roll out in the Fall of 2017 through the creation of a cross-listed, accredited, course for students at both universities, using digital technologies to foster their learning through cross-border collaboration. In turn, the Princeton and Geneva students will be expected to participate in exchanges with the refugee learners in the three sites, thus widening the radius of exchanges and communications about our global past -- which has a long record of forced migration. This project is, in sum, a significant step in the evolution of online education and a new experiment in conjugating Geneva and Princeton's hopes for internationalizing their universities. It teams up universities; it teams up its students (graduate students who will conduct the research together, as well as undergraduates who will collaborate on assignments within the course); it teams up with international organisations and NGOs to create humanities learning opportunities in fragile settings.

projects
Participants
Prof Jeremy Adelman
Princeton University
Prof Barbara Moser-Mercer
University of Geneva

Perception of faces of mothers with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related to interpersonal violence

Call 2016
Medicine

We received a seed-grant in 2014 from the Geneva/Princeton collaborative research grant, which allowed us to have a fruitful collaboration, using avatars created by Prof. Alexander Todorov and colleagues at Princeton, and to use them in a face evaluation task with the clinical population of the Geneva Early Childhood Stress Project (GECS-Pro), Dr. Daniel Schechter, principal investigator. The GECS-Pro involved mothers with and without posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related to interpersonal violence (IPV). In this pilot study, 5 mothers from the GECS-Pro, evaluated 350 avatars varying on the threat and dominance dimensions. We then compared mothers’ responses during these tasks to existing variables previously collected during the GECS-Pro. We obtained promising results showing a general under-estimation of dominance and threat among the avatars by mothers with IPV-PTSD as compared to controls. We also found a significant relationship between the evaluation of the two dimensions, and the scores reported by the mothers at the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS), mainly on the hyperarousal scale (p-value between .010 and .042), but also at the CAPS total score (p-value between .002 and .031). Following from these promising preliminary results and rewarding collaboration, we are pleased to present this request for your consideration. A further year of funding would allow us to conduct the same research on more participants, and to pilot the application of electroencephalography (EEG), in order to characterize better specific electrical patterns of activation on the dimensions of threat and dominance, in mothers with PTSD related to their exposure to interpersonal violence, and compare them to controls mothers. This second pilot phase is in collaboration with doctoral candidate Virginie Pointet who specializes in the application of high density EEG and who joined the GECS-Pro team since our last pilot application. We hope that this additional pilot phase will lead to further funding and publication.

projects
Participants
Prof. Daniel Schechter
University of Geneva
Ms Virginie Pointet
University of Geneva
Prof. Alexander Todorov
Princeton University

The link between supermassive black hole activity and star formation

Call 2016
Astronomy
Physics

The physical processes underlying the evolution of galaxies, which shape the diversity of present-day galaxies, has yet to be understood. One of the most important unresolved questions is, what role do central supermassive black holes (SMBH) play in galaxy evolution? The link between the SMBH and the host galaxy properties is now well documented, showing a tight correlation between the mass of an extinct SMBH and the properties of its host galaxy, whose star formation is quenched. Does all the activity (star formation and SMBH) cease when the galaxy uses up its cold gas, or are energetic outflows from the SMBH responsible for re-heating the gas, and thus shutting off the star formation? Observations of the SMBH and its host galaxy during the active phase, using a combination of optical imaging and spectroscopy and X-ray imaging can address these questions, to determine the physical state of the galaxy during this quenching phase. This proposal aims at starting a collaboration between experts from Princeton and UNIGE focused on the scientific analysis of data recently obtained as part of two ambitious projects supported by both universities: ESA's XMM-Newton "XXL" observing program, using the most powerful X-ray satellite, and the Princeton/Japan-led "HSC" wide-field survey at the 8.2-meters Subaru telescope. Both projects started a few years ago and will continue for another 3 (XXL) and 4 (HSC) years. This project aims at building a long-standing collaboration between the two groups from UNIGE and Princeton. In 2020, the ESA-led Euclid mission will launch, giving yet more powerful data to be analyzed to address these questions. The primary goal of this proposal is to allow PhD students from both universities to visit UNIGE or Princeton, and attend the XXL and HSC collaboration meetings. This project involves 1 student from each institution.

projects
Participants
Dr Stéphane Paltani
University of Geneva
Dr Jean Coupon
University of Geneva
Prof Michael Strauss
Princeton University
Prof. Jenny Greene
Princeton University

Behavioral Interventions to Promote Energy Efficiency

Call 2018
Earth and Environment

Central to the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations, the mitigation of climate change is one of the most pressing challenges our society is facing. Many national and international initiatives have been launched aiming at the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The success of these initiatives, however, does not only require the development of new technologies, but also substantial changes in individual behavior. Research in the behavioral sciences has demonstrated that behavior change can be facilitated through choice architecture, the careful design of the environment in which consumers make decisions. Our understanding of the effects of choice architectural tools on different consumer groups or population segments is still limited. This project aims to address this knowledge gap by integrating our expertise in the fields of environmental decision science and affective sciences. Specifically, we will develop and implement a first comparative study to investigate possible behavioral and cognitive differences between European and North American consumers in response to interventions that aim to promote energy efficiency. The results of this collaborative research project are not only of high theoretical relevance but may also inform the development and implementation of intervention strategies and policies in the energy domain. The project focus is in line with the highly prioritized Sustainability Development Goals of the University of Geneva and the Princeton University Sustainability Plan. The project will initiate a lasting collaboration between our research groups and between the Swiss Center for Affective Sciences and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment.

projects
Participants
Prof. Tobias Brosch
University of Geneva
Prof. Elke Weber
Princeton University
Stephanie Mertens
University of Geneva

EUROCOMPLEX

Call 2018
Political Science
International Relations

Regime Complexes and European Studies in Interdisciplinary Perspective (EUROCOMPLEX) aims to foster interdisciplinary collaboration on the topic of regime complexes. Regime complex means that many policy areas are governed not by one overarching International Organization (IO) but rather by overlapping sets of rules and institutions that are loosely connected. The extension of policy competences to the European Union (EU) in the 1990 has led to the superposition of different regulatory and procedural regimes. The central question for the EUROCOMPLEX project is how the existence of regime complexes has impacted the policy options available to the EU as it tackles pressing international challenges created by economic globalization. EUROCOMPLEX provides a framework for collaborative research projects bringing together Princeton and University of Geneva faculty as well as undergraduate and graduate students from the European Union Program at Princeton (EUPP), the Global Studies Institute (GSI), and affiliated departments and programs, to study the constraints and opportunities offered to the EU by the proliferation of regime complexes. The project mixes students and senior researchers to investigate the impact of regime complexes in three specific policy areas: 1) the politics of foreign direct investment; 2) the taxation of multinational companies; and 3) the EU role in global governance. Each cluster is organized as a summer “lab” headed by one senior researcher and including students from each institution. Each lab carries out collaborative research in an interdisciplinary perspective blending notably Political Science and Law.

projects
Participants
Prof. Nicolas Levrat Ph.D.
University of Geneva
Dr. Sophie Meunier
Princeton University
Dr. Didier Wernli
University of Geneva
Yuliya Kaspiarovich
University of Geneva
Grégoire Carasso
University of Geneva

Logical methods in the philosophy of physics

Call 2018
Physics
Philsophy

The aim of this project is to apply logical methods to problems in the foundations of physics. We propose to classify several already existing axiomatizations of the special theory of relativity, using classical and recently developed notions of theoretical equivalence, such as Quine-Glymour equivalence, the more general notion of Morita equivalence, and the even more general notion of categorical equivalence. In a second step, we will attempt to construct first-order theories that capture some of the interesting structure of the general theory of relativity and analyze them in the same way. The goal would be gaining more clarity about questions in the general philosophy of science and in metaphysics, such as “How are special and general relativity related to each other?”. Another concerns the geometrical or physical nature of the gravitational field. A third is whether special and general relativity are supersubstantivalist: whether their ontology consists only of spatiotemporal entities. Do these metaphysical options disappear when one translates from an equivalent formulation of the theory to another? We plan to lay the foundations for future collaboration with a summer school on logical methods in Geneva. We hope to train graduate students in logical methods appropriate to the philosophy of science, whose main experts are in Princeton, and to open a new field of application, spacetime theories, a focus of the philosophy of physics group in Geneva.

projects
Participants
Prof. Christian Wüthrich Ph.D
University of Geneva
Prof. Fabrice Correia Ph.D.
University of Geneva
Prof. Hans Halvorson Ph.D.
Princeton University
Joshua Babic M.A.
University of Geneva
Eliyah Cohen
Princeton University

Partnering Princeton and Geneva to lead community advancements in geochronology

Call 2018
Earth and Environment

U-Pb geochronology is the most widely applicable and accurate tool for measuring ages of rocks and reconstruct rates of geologic processes, from the formation of the solar system, to mass extinction events, and recent volcanic eruptions. Advances in sample preparation methods, isotope measurement, and data reduction have led to increasingly more precise dates. At the same time, higher precision has lead to questions about the fundamentals of isotope systems in mineral structures, requiring development and refinement of scientific concepts. As a result of these advances and new questions, arises the need for interaction between different laboratories to share ideas and data, formulate new methodologies, and identify areas for progress. Princeton and UNIGE host two of the worlds' top laboratories specializing in high-precision U-Pb geochronology. As part of the EARTHTIME initiative, between ~2003 and 2010, there was a burst of interaction between different U-Pb laboratories that resulted in more precise and more accurate dates being generated, with better reproducibility between labs. Following a lull of ~7 years, there is a need again for labs to get together and pave the way to the next level of precise U-Pb geochronology. Questions surrounding climate change and Earth system history in deep time demand more precise and more accurate dates from labs such as ours. In order to facilitate this work, we propose to host and heavily subsidize two workshops at PU and UNIGE, at which representatives from established and new U-Pb labs around the world will come together for a period of 3 days each in order to determine the next steps in improving analysis and interpretation techniques, formalize an intercalibration experiment between labs, work with industry to develop better measurement tools, and to develop new strategies for outreach. The vast majority of the requested budget is to fund these two workshops, from which PU and UNIGE, as well as the broader community, will benefit significantly.

projects
Participants
Prof. Blair Schoene
Princeton University
Prof. Urs Schaltegger
University of Geneva

Assessing the Global Impact of Novel Epidemic Forecasting Methods

Call 2019
Health
Medicine

Infectious disease epidemics remain one of the great threats to humanity, with increased disease emergence and the threat of a global pandemic, there are renewed efforts to forecast and predict these events. We propose to develop tools to measure the effectiveness and impact of epidemic nowcasting, forecasting and intervention. In order to do this, we will compare outcomes across interventions to determine the cost-effectiveness of interventions and optimize resource allocation. The goal of improving the precision of outbreak predictions is to increase the timeliness and accuracy of the response and, ultimately, to reduce costs in terms of mortality, morbidity and economies. We can measure the accuracy of epidemic predictions post-hoc by comparing predicted timing, extent, region and affected populations to actual epidemic parameters as they occur. We propose this as one method of validating and informing predictive models and tools. New tools for epidemic forecasting are under continuous development, facilitated by cutting-edge digital technologies including AI and machine learning. We will compare the accuracy of these innovative approaches against current gold standards in epidemic forecasting, where they exist, e.g., the Swiss influenza Sentinella network. We will also assess the uptake of forecasts by Ministries of Health (e.g., policy reform, resource allocation, emergency declarations), hospital management (e.g., extra staffing, vaccine stockpiles, PPE) lay press (e.g., televised coverage of warnings, newspaper articles, public information campaigns), pharmaceutical companies (e.g., vaccine sales, stockpiling) and public response (e.g., vaccine uptake, precautionary measures, sentiment analysis on social media).

projects
Participants
Prof. Michael Aizenman
Princeton University
Prof. Hugo Duminil-Copin
University of Geneva

Princeton-Geneva collaboration in Mathematical Physics

Call 2019
Mathematics
Physics

Princeton and Geneva Universities are internationally recognized as centers of excellence in mathematical physics. The proposal is to open a channel for fostering collaboration in research and teaching in this cross disciplinary field. The proposal builds on the successful interaction between Professors Aizenman (Princeton) and Duminil-Copin (Geneva). They have already a record of successful interaction, having jointly produced a number of results which were well received by the professional community and accepted for publication in leading journals. Professor Duminil-Copin has visited Princeton several times and very successfully delivered the Math Department’s honorific Minerva Lecture Series. The aim of the proposed grant is to build on this collaboration and expand the opportunities of mutual visits involving the PI’s, qualified students, postdocs and faculty members. The purpose of these would be interactive research, exchange lectures, students’ formative visits, and jointly organized annual workshops on research topics of joint interest.

The expected specific outcomes are the following:

  • A two-part course, based on the lectures (i) by M. Aizenman in Unige and (ii) H. Duminil-Copin in Princeton. We propose to record these series of talks, and make them accessible to students at both institutions, and potentially beyond that.
  • A graduate textbook coauthored by M. Aizenman and H. Duminil-Copin covering the subject of the two courses.
  • Exchange visits for PhD students and postdocs of both groups fostering new collaborations and offering the possibility of discovering a new environment of research.
  • Scientific articles published in the top journal in the fields of probability, Mathematical Physics and Theoretical Physics.
projects
Participants
Prof. Michael Aizenman
Princeton University
Prof. Hugo Duminil-Copin
University of Geneva