In Brief:

 

  • We focus on big social problems where progress is possible when practitioners and scholars work together to understand the issues, craft solutions, and expand promising approaches. 

  • We find, train, and invest in scholars from across the university motivated to use their talents to formulate solutions to local, national, and global issues.

  • We connect scholars with our growing network of government, business, nonprofit, and philanthropic practitioners. They work together—in impact labs—to generate new insights, creative approaches, and practical tools to make progress on complex social challenges.

  • We provide financial capital, training, thought-partnership, and mentoring to help impact labs turn their evidence and experience into purposeful work that benefits society.

  • We share what the labs do and learn—about the problems, solutions, and what does and doesn’t work—to create a culture of public impact at Stanford and inspire scholars and practitioners everywhere to work together to create just, fair, and equal societies. 

Our Investments

We make staged and sequenced investments to catalyze impact labs that bring leaders in government, business, nonprofits and the university together to tackle concrete social problems with new evidence and practical solutions that benefit society. 

In addition to financial capital, we equip all of our problem-focused partnerships with training, thought-partnership, mentoring, physical space, communications support and advice, and other tools and resources so impact labs can turn their evidence and experience into purposeful work that benefits society.

design research fellowships

    start-up lab funding          

                                                                            

partners from business, nonprofits, and government

Design Fellowships

One-year, $50,000 design fellowships provide resources,  training, and mentoring for faculty to conceptualize new impact labs. Funding is flexible and recipients work alongside a cohort of faculty each year, all of whom are working to design and launch new impact labs with partners in government, businesses, nonprofit and community organizations.

Start-Up Funding

Investments of $250,000 per year for two years for teams that have a well-defined social problem, a strong partnership, communicate a promising research design and credible teams, and have a compelling theory of how science and practical experience can create social impact.  Start-up funding is judged by expert reviewers in the academic area and leading practitioners.

Term Funding

Term funding goes to impact labs that show the most promise and articulate a clear plan for generating, testing, and scaling solutions.

Impact labs have maximum flexibility to allocate resources as they see fit, including to pay for professional staff, postdoctoral fellows, data collection, etc. Term funding is limited to five years.

Innovations in Education and Training

We also run programs to prepare Stanford undergraduates and Ph.D. students to use cutting-edge analytical capabilities in the public, private, and social sectors to tackle social problems.

Ph.D. Summer Collaborative Research Fellowship: The Stanford Impact Labs Collaborative Research Fellowship is an experiential training program that offers outstanding doctoral students the opportunity to actively engage in problem-focused research with close advising and mentorship from faculty and staff across a variety of affiliated impact labs. Meet our 2020 summer fellows. 

Creating a Culture of Public Impact

In addition to our impact lab investments and innovations in training and education, we are working to create a culture of public impact at Stanford. We launched a Scholars in Service program for faculty to pursue in-depth, hands-on learning with public service organizations to generate new research insights and promising approaches to complex social issues. We helped establish the model for public impact professorships, and the university is committed to endowing 15 positions across the university. And we continue to cultivate, encourage, and fund external service and leadership experiences for Stanford faculty and students. We hope to learn from and inspire other university-based efforts to increase public research, service, leadership and impact.

Blog: News & Insights

We’re looking for three fantastic postdoctoral fellows to join our program in 2022 to advance public impact scholarship on voter confidence in U.S. elections, representative government in low- and middle-income countries, and child health inequality. Sarah Hopwood, director of programs and education, shares more about the opportunity and application process.
Stephen Luby, professor of infectious diseases at Stanford, spoke earlier this year to faculty in our impact lab design fellows program about his experience working to curb child pneumonia in Bangladesh. He described 15 years of moments and interactions that changed his understanding of the problem and potential solutions—leading him to work with a team of scientists and local partners on cleaner brick manufacturing. Sarah Jane Staats captures five lessons from his account for anyone working to put research to work for society.
The $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill passed last month in the United States includes $50 billion to help communities mitigate and adapt to the effects of global warming. PBS NewsHour Special Correspondent Tom Casciato reports on a Bay Area partnership between the nonprofit Climate Resilient Communities and Stanford’s Future Bay Initiative to use smart phone technology and in-person surveys to better understand how communities experience climate hazard—like heavy smoke from wildfires—and identify practical solutions together. The Our Communities, Our Bay partnership has support from Stanford Impact Labs' start-up impact lab funding.

"This is a remarkable opportunity to get support to develop meaningful partnerships and to build the infrastructure needed to address social problems. Developing partnerships takes time and dedication and is not often supported through other mechanisms."

Lisa Goldman Rosas
Assistant Professor of Health Research and Policy