Approximately $500,000 of the new grant will be used to enhance current research programs and improve the center's capability to disseminate new research information. The remaining $200,000 will be earmarked for the new Steven H. Sandell Grant Program for Junior Scholars, which will underwrite research by young college and university faculty members involved in retirement-related academic fields.
The new financial award represents a 70 percent increase in the year's scheduled federal funding for the center, which is in its second year of existence on an original five-year, $5.25 million Social Security Administration grant.
"This substantial boost in funding is a strong vote of confidence in the progress that we have made in our first year and the plans that we have for the future," said Drucker Professor of Management Sciences Alicia Munnell, the center's director.
"With this additional money, we will be able to fund important new research projects, encourage young scholars and communicate the results of our research to a broad audience," she said.
"One of the major purposes of the new grant is to strengthen the center's effort to play a strong central role in the dissemination of research findings on retirement issues," said Andrew Eschtruth, the center's associate director for external relations. He said the center's retirement-related research information is channeled to federal policy makers, as well as interested parties in the academic and research communities, business and labor groups, the media and the general public.
The Sandell Grant Program offers non-tenured junior faculty members who have completed their doctoral studies the opportunity to do additional research in the areas of actuarial science, demography, economics, finance, gerontology, political science, public administration, public policy, sociology, social work or statistics.
"A key goal of the center has been to get young researchers involved in the field of retirement issues," Eschtruth noted, "and to encourage them to stay active in it."
In addition to the increase in federal funding for the center, Munnell has received a $60,000 grant from the American Association of Retired Persons to research the impact of proposed mandatory Social Security coverage of state and local government workers who are not currently included in the national retirement plan.
"Our study will separate out fact from fiction in this debate," she said.
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