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The School of Social Work and the Boettner Center of Financial Gerontology

Spring 2002 Call for Proposals

Boettner Financial Gerontology Research Fund

Proposals Due: December 15, 2001

Aging--both population aging and individual aging--is a fundamental social, financial, and demographic characteristic of contemporary society. It is widely recognized that the quality of life of aging individuals and aging societies is intertwined with the acquisition and depletion of human resources, including financial resources. Of equal importance are the subjective characteristics of financial resources that can be as instrumental as their objective characteristics in affecting a person's quality of life. This awareness directs concern to such life-span issues as employment and retirement; spending and saving; planning for health, illness, and death. Attention must be paid to relationships among private sector institutions and public policies--especially as these influence personal and family decision making.

Note that the focus here is on the dynamics of aging: gerontology is the study of the multiple processes of aging. It is not simply a focus on "the aged" or "the elderly." Financial gerontology, therefore, is as interested in middle aging as in older aging, and in social and family inter-relationships among men and women of different ages and generations.

The Bottner Center of Financial Gerontology was established in 1986 through the interest and generosity of the late Joseph E. Boettner and his wife Ruth Elizabeth Boettner, to advance understanding of the relationships among aging, financial issues, and quality of life. In pursuing a comprehensive program of applied research in financial gerontology, the Boettner Center's aim is to support systematic investigation of the impact of both population aging and individual aging, on patterns of financial well-being within and across generations. The Boettner Center became affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania in 1992 and with the School of Social Work in 1995. The goal of the Boettner Financial Gerontology Research Fund is to support social research by senior researchers, faculty and doctoral students that promises both to promote knowledge and to enhance professional practice and social policy, with the broader societal goal of enhancing the financial well-being and life satisfaction of aging persons in contemporary society.

Proposal Guidelines

A major objective of the Boettner Center is to encourage research that explores the linkages among aging, financial dynamics, and the quality of life of aging individuals, families, and populations. In pursuit of this objective, the Boettner Financial Gerontology Research Fund was established at the School of Social Work to support a program of small research grants in three important categories: (1) seed money for innovative pilot projects that can lead to proposals that will be competitive for external funding; (2) projects requiring modest support for completion and publication; (3) dissertation support for Ph.D. candidates.

Priority will be given to projects that develop new initiatives in one of three main areas: (1) research on policy and practice issues relevant to the major themes of financial gerontology, including but not limited to socioeconomic variations in retirement preparation, intergenerational care-giving, factors influencing patterns of spending and savings, and patterns of health care needs of middle-age and older-age populations; (2) conferences for either professional or public audiences on topics exploring linkages among aging, financial dynamics, and quality of life; and (3) curriculum development for graduate-level courses in social work and financial gerontology.

Eligibility for Boettner Research Awards: Proposals for the Spring 2002 competition are invited from University faculty and full-time research staff, conducting, or planning research in the areas listed above.

Doctoral students in the School of Social Work are encouraged to submit proposals to the Boettner Fund. To be eligible: by the start date of the proposed award, the student's dissertation proposal must have been accepted by the Graduate Group in Social Welfare. Boettner Dissertation Fellowships may include full or partial support for the appropriate academic period, thesis fees, and limited research expenses (the justification for which should be clearly identified in the budget).

Requirements for Proposals: The guidelines for proposals are as follows:

1. Size of Awards (Maximum per award):

  • Faculty and Senior Researcher Awards: $10,000
  • Student Awards: $5,000


2. Use of Funds: Data collection and analysis, research assistance, salary (including benefits), essential research-related travel, and manuscript preparation and publication costs

3. The Proposal: limited to 10 single-spaced pages

i) Cover page:

  • Name and Title of Principal Investigator
  • Title of proposal
  • Amount requested
  • 100-word abstract of need
  • Name of Co-Investigator or Thesis Advisor
  • Amount and sources of current research support
  • Other pending proposals for the same or related project

ii) Brief curriculum vitae of Principal Investigator (2 pages)

iii) Introduction: (2-3 pages): Statement of the objectives and significance of the work and its relevance to financial gerontology

iv) Description of the project (including research design, data sources, methods of analysis)

v) If the grant is for a pilot study, how will the project facilitate acquisition of future research funds, including funding agencies to be approached

vi) Brief plan for the completion, publication, and dissemination of results/materials generated by the project; if a conference, how conference proceedings will be edited and disseminated

vii) Budget (one-page): explicit as to amounts, use of, and rationale for requests; include timetable [one year preferred, two-year plan acceptable]

4. Submit 10 copies of the proposal, plus a disk with the proposal in WordPerfect or Microsoft Word format to:

Ms. Melissa M. Coleman
Boettner Center of Financial Gerontology
School of Social Work
3701 Locust Walk, Caster Building
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6214

5. Reports: A report is required at the proposed termination date of the project, and upon completion if there is an extension. To meet the public dissemination goals of the Boettner Center, two brief (one-page) descriptions of the project, aimed at the educated non-specialist, are required. The first, describing the proposed project, must be submitted prior to release of funds; the second, describing outcomes and results, must be submitted upon completion of the project. Individuals receiving Boettner Financial Gerontology Research Fund awards will also be asked to prepare a one-hour presentation on their projects as part of the lecture series sponsored by the Boettner Center and the School of Social Work.

6. Human Subjects: All research projects involving human subjects must receive Institutional Review Board approval prior to receipt of funding. Applicants are not required to receive IRB approval prior to submission of their proposal. However, funds will only be released to awardees following IRB review and approval.

Review Procedures: Proposals will be reviewed by the Financial Gerontology Research Committee of the School of the Social Work which includes representatives of the School and the Boettner Center. Applicants will be notified of the decision of the Committee approximately one month after the submission deadline. Funding will begin February 1, 2002. We anticipate funding three or four projects.

For additional information about the Boettner Center or the Boettner Financial Gerontology Research Fund, please contact: Ms. Melissa M. Coleman: Voice: (215) 573-3415; Fax:(215) 573-3418, or E-mail:

Almanac, Vol. 48, No. 8, October 16, 2001


October 16, 2001
Volume 48 Number8

The grand old Quad will have three new College Houses when renovations are complete next fall.
Getting around University City will be easier for pedestrians and motorists thanks to new signage.
A $6.7 million NIH grant has been awarded to the Institute for Medicine and Engineering.
President Rodin will receive the Beacon Award at the upcoming celebration of 125 Years of Women at Penn.
Professor Peter Stallybrass will receive the MLA's Lowell Prize for most outstanding literary or linguistic study.
La Casa Latina: the Center for Hispanic Excellence has a new director.
The ICA has a new director of marketing and communications.
A new Entrepreneur in Residence program gives students a chance to meet and mingle with experienced entrepreneurs.
Research in the social and behavioral sciences involving human subjects must be reviewed by Penn's Institutional Review Board.