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New Grant Development Specialist for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Research

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Mercedes Ward as a new Grant Development Specialist in the Office of the Vice President for Research (VPR). Dr. Ward will support research strategic planning and grant development in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) at the University of Utah, effective July 1, 2021.

Dr. Ward joins the VPR Office with a wealth of knowledge in strategic research grant management and development. She earned a B.S. in Biology from the University of the South and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Utah. From 2015-2020 she was a member of the project management team for the University of Utah’s USAID-funded U.S.-Pakistan Center for Advanced Studies in Water, first as Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist and later as Institutional Development Advisor. During her tenure with this project, she facilitated strategic partnerships, advanced institutional reforms, and led a research team to deliver policy recommendations for improving equity under participatory irrigation management. Dr. Ward has also served as an educator at the U and was one of the co-developers of the U’s Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate in Sustainability. She has served on the board of the Utah Fulbright Association and as a planning sub-committee member for the 68th United Nations Civil Society Conference. She currently is a volunteer grant writer at The INN Between, a local nonprofit.

Dr. Ward looks forward to partnering with researchers, key stakeholders, and collaborative teams on campus to identify, lead, and develop research and institutional proposals. She will play a pivotal role in nurturing alliances between and among faculty at the U, funding agencies, and communities to develop goals and implementation plans for the institutional EDI research portfolio. Dr. Ward’s commitment and experience in building and developing relationships will allow her to identify synergies across disciplines and facilitate collaborations throughout our community.

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Ward. We look forward to partnering with her as we continue to fulfill the critical missions of the Office of the Vice President for Research and the University of Utah.


Andy Weyrich, Vice President for Research
Diane Pataki, Associate Vice President for Research
Erin Rothwell, Associate Vice President for Research Integrity & Compliance

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Last Updated: 8/2/21