Professor Renee Knake
Professor Sapna Kumar
April 9, 2018 — University of Houston Law Center Professors Renee Knake and Sapna Kumar have been awarded Fulbright grants to conduct research in their specialty areas in Australia and Europe for the 2019 winter semester.
Knake, the Law Center's Joanne and Larry Doherty Chair in Legal Ethics and director of Outcomes and Assessments, was awarded the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Fulbright Distinguished Chair Awards are viewed as among the most prestigious appointments in the Fulbright Scholar Program.
She will research Australian innovations in access to justice and legal ethics from January through July as part of a forthcoming book project, "Law Democratized: A Blueprint for Access to Justice."
"I'm incredibly humbled and thankful to be selected for such an important international award, and I look forward to sharing the amazing work we do at the University of Houston with the global community of Fulbright scholars," said Knake. Her Fulbright award not only supports the research and writing she will engage in during her time at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology but also public lecture opportunities throughout Australia.
The award is designed to foster collaboration between Australia and the United States to stimulate interest in and increase innovation and entrepreneurship.
Kumar, George Butler Research Professor of Law and co-director of the Institute for Intellectual Property and Information Law, was selected as a Fulbright-Schuman Research Scholar and awarded an innovation grant. She will spend five months in Europe, including four at the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition in Munich, Germany, researching the formation of Europe's Unified Patent Court.
"I am honored to have been selected by the Fulbright Commission and grateful for the Law Center for providing me with research leave to pursue this project," Kumar said. "I have been learning German for the past four years and am looking forward to putting my skills to good use."
The innovation grants support work that can create better transatlantic understanding of issues at the heart of the U.S.-EU relationship, particularly at the intersection of policy and technology.
At the Law Center, Knake teaches Constitutional Law and Professional Responsibility; Kumar teaches Patent Law, Federal Courts, Administrative Law and Property.
The Fulbright Program is the flagship foreign exchange scholarship program of the United States, aimed at increasing binational collaboration, cultural understanding, and the exchange of ideas.
Born in the aftermath of WWII, the program was established by Sen. J. William Fulbright in 1946 with the idea of turning "swords into ploughshares," whereby credits from the sale of surplus U.S. war materials were used to fund academic exchanges between host countries and the U.S.
Since its establishment, the Fulbright Program has grown to become the largest educational exchange program in the world, operating in more than 160 countries. In its 70-year history, more than 370,000 students, academics and professionals have received Fulbright Scholarships to study, teach, or conduct research, and promote bilateral collaboration and cultural empathy.