Mission, Vision, Values

Our Mission

Stanford Impact Labs enables teams of scholars to work in partnership with leaders from public, social, and private sectors to tackle social problems using human creativity, rigorous evidence, and innovative technology. We advance this mission by catalyzing rigorous, problem-focused research and training on social problems with the goal of achieving broad public impact. We call the teams that do this work “impact labs.”  

Our Vision

To accelerate the impact of higher education in solving our most challenging social problems by reshaping how research and development is done in the social sciences.

We are a new university model that invests and sustains research-practice partnerships with funding, professional support, and a relentless focus on public impact. We flip the traditional idea of a public policy school on its head. Rather than bring policy problems to campus, we prepare, fund, and support teams of scholars to embed themselves with and work in close partnership with governments, philanthropies, companies, and nonprofits to generate evidence and insights that can be put into practice.

The 21st century research university can catalyze these partnerships and support rigorous, problem-focused research and training to create purposeful public impact. Our investments position scholars and practitioners to jointly frame problems, generate and test hypotheses, share insights, and scale solutions to complex problems to achieve broad public impact.

Read more about and how our work supports Stanford’s Long-Range Vision to ensure the university’s research and education makes a purposeful impact in the world.

Our Values

We are guided by a set of shared values and principles:

  • Ambition to improve human wellbeing through problem-focused partnerships that create new evidence, ideas, and solutions to pressing social problems;
  • Humility about the university’s role as only one part of what is required to make progress; 
  • Diversity of views, experiences, and perspectives in our work and operations;
  • Equity and inclusion in our programs and our practices;
  • High risk-tolerance for new approaches and ideas, recognizing many investments may generate meaningful progress without definitively solving a social problem;
  • Transparency and openness about our work and what we learn;
  • Scientific rigor and high standards for evidence and research; 
  • Curiosity and collaboration across disciplines, schools, and institutions; and
  • A relentless focus on outcomes that improve people’s lives.