Everything we do at Stanford Impact Labs (SIL) is intended to put social science to use for society. Our commitment to making research actionable requires creating a culture within higher education that promotes and enables scholars to conduct solutions-oriented work. What does that look like, exactly? In part, it looks like a pipeline of faculty bringing their research skills and expertise to co-create new policies and programs with partners outside of the university, all in the name of making progress on a particular social problem.
Traditionally, academic training and incentives do not equip scholars with the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience to work in this way. This is where we come in. SIL runs a series of programs that seek to address this challenge from a diversity of angles. We offer a fellowship for faculty that provides workshops and one-on-one support; a fellowship for postdocs that pairs scholars with faculty who are already doing this work (alongside programming from SIL) and a sabbatical program that enables faculty to take time away from teaching and embed themselves within a public or social sector organization.
We see our training programs as complementary and vital if Stanford (and other universities) are to develop a pipeline of scholars equipped and excited to design solutions to social problems. Faculty who complete our fellowship program are then able to support graduate students in early stages of their careers. Post-doctoral students who have completed our fellowship often go on to get faculty positions at top-tier universities promoting this kind of practical, partnership-based work. Faculty who complete our sabbatical in service program return to the university with a new perspective and understanding of the questions practitioners are grappling with and the role of research in supporting them.
As we kick off this academic year, we’re delighted to welcome a new cohort of Stanford Impact Labs Design Fellows (SILDF), postdoctoral fellows, and Scholars in Service. What a privilege it is to see so many talented minds join the growing community of scholars across Stanford who are committed to partnership and solutions-oriented work!