Law and Society Association wins National Science Foundation grant for International Research Collaborativesmexflag

International Research Collaboratives (IRCs) are groups of law and social science researchers organized to undertake specific sociolegal research projects with a global reach. The objective is to strengthen law and social science scholarship generally and especially that of U.S. scholars by connecting them with theoretical, methodological, and policy discussions taking place among law and social science researchers world-wide.

The IRCs have been selected and will convene at the joint meeting of the Law and Society Association (LSA) and the Research Committee on the Sociology of Law (RCSL) in Mexico City in 2017. There they will organize paper and roundtable sessions to share their work and go on to disseminate it more broadly through publications. The grant funds will enable scholars from low and middle income countries, who would otherwise lack the resources to attend, to participate. Because scholarship is incomplete without considering diverse perspectives, enabling scholars from a broad range of countries to attend and participate will strengthen the field of law and social science. 

This initiative also holds promise for public policy advances. By facilitating international exchange in the area of sociolegal research, US scholars can expand their own perspectives with great advantage to their work on domestic US problems; they can also, in partnership with their peers worldwide, better contribute to constructive public policy and practice on a global scale. With this model, US scholars will collaborate with those from many parts of the world and discover new insights that strengthen their science. Once exposed to such diverse research groups, scholars can more easily extend existing partnerships and seek new international collaborations to enrich their own work.  In addition, nation-states in war-torn or less affluent regions of the world may be better able to find their own solutions as well as to cooperate more effectively with external aid agencies and foreign governments when their own scholars are well equipped to advise policy-makers, and when the governments can draw upon the kinds of international networks represented by IRCs for their own institution-building.

This award is expected to total $293,250, supporting scholars in approximately 40 IRC groups. The funds will be disbursed in differing amounts according to need.  The award begins October 1, 2016 and ends September 30, 2017.

This grant project, entitled "Expanding Law and Social Science Research by International Research Collaboration," is under the direction of LSA president, Valerie P. Hans, and Mexico City committee co-chairs   Manuel A. Gomez, Masayuki Murayama, and Lawrence M. Friedman.