About SIL's Programs

Pioneering New Pathways

A vital component of our work is the education and training programs we run for those within the university (faculty, postdoctoral scholars, PhD students) and those beyond it (social sector organizations and local government staff).

Our programs support scholars, practitioners, and leaders with the resources and skills necessary to marry vital social science research with broader public impact.

Industry and environment

Our work is animated by three key principles:

  • We aim to develop a pipeline of scholars equipped with the necessary skills to work closely with governments, industry, philanthropy, and nonprofit institutions to generate evidence and insights that are put into practice. 

  • We believe that by uniting practitioner experience and academic expertise on teams positioned to generate, test, apply, and scale insights and innovations, new frontiers of progress become possible for people and societies. 

  • We seek to build a culture at research institutions like Stanford that embraces a focus on tangible and scalable solutions to real-world problems. 

Through curricula, fellowships, and experiential learning opportunities, our programs help scholars design research projects that are practical, rooted in co-creation, and able to directly shape the design of new programs or policies.

We take our commitment to co-creation a step further with programs that equip leaders and advocates beyond the university with resources, tools, and fresh strategies to harness the power of data and evidence as they work to shape meaningful change. 

Extending Beyond the University 

Stanford has renewed its commitment to service and public impact as part of its long-range vision as a “purposeful university”. An ever-growing community of Stanford faculty, students, and staff are applying rigor and creativity to make progress on challenging social problems. As part of that community, SIL builds programs and makes investments that harness social science to drive change. We envision a world where measurable and meaningful approaches to social problems are co-created by communities, leaders, and science working together to unlock solutions and make progress. 

SIL's first three years were spent building pathways inside the university for PhD students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty to work on complex problems with partners in the public and social sector. These programs equip scholars with the necessary skills to work closely with people outside of the university to generate evidence and insights that are put into practice. SIL is now turning its attention to further support nonprofit leaders and local government staff who are using evidence to drive problem-solving in the public and social sectors. 

To learn more about SIL's programs, please contact Sarah Hopwood (shopwood@stanford.edu).