New Model for Research

Grinnell College awards $100,000 Grinnell Prize to French innovator
Lisa Lacher

Mélanie MarcelMélanie Marcel, founder and CEO of SoScience, is the recipient of the 2018 Grinnell College Innovator for Social Justice Prize. In her work as a laboratory scientist, Marcel realized that researchers most often conduct projects for which they can secure corporate or government funding, rather than projects that address community or environmental needs. 

She founded SoScience to disrupt this system and create a new model for driving research. SoScience’s mission is to “engage scientists in solving societal challenges across the globe by creating collaborations with social entrepreneurs and advocating a research approach focused on social impact.” 

Through her passion for exploring the intersection of science and global impact, Marcel has become a national leader in France and a recognized expert on models for responsible research and innovation. In response to her lobbying efforts, the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development reoriented its research development policy to strengthen societal impact. In addition, the European Commission has asked Marcel to evaluate its research policy. 

During Grinnell Prize Week, Oct. 1–4, 2018, students, faculty, staff, and local residents will interact with Marcel, learning how to facilitate collaboration, build partnerships, and spur systematic change. The award ceremony will be held Tuesday, Oct 2. at the College. 

The $100,000 Grinnell Prize, established in 2011, is the largest given by any U.S. college in recognition of social justice. The prize money will be divided between Marcel and SoScience.

Full schedule of events to come at


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