The Public Value of Social Policy Research

  • Guston, David (PI)
  • Erlichson, Bari A. (CoPI)
  • Wyly, Elvin (CoPI)
  • Crowley, Jocelyn (CoPI)
  • Whittaker, Julie J.M. (CoPI)

Project Details


This project investigates the public value of the research funded by social policy agencies of the US federal government. 'Public value' refers not the outputs of research (in terms of papers, reports, patents, etc.), but the societal outcomes such research influences, according to the agencies' missions and as measured by the broadest available social indicators. Studying this research will broaden the scholarship of public R&D management beyond such traditional agencies as NIH and NSF, facilitating the comparative study of techniques including merit review and technology transfer. Moreover, the study may illuminate mechanisms for producing public value from research and thus contribute to understanding the relationship between sponsored research and societal outcomes more broadly. Examining the 'public value' of social policy research means studying the societal outcomes of the research and the hypothesized causal links between mission-related research programs and these outcomes. Sources for the articulation of goals and objectives include authorizing legislation, mission statements, and strategic plans. Societal outcomes include available, systematic social indicators, as well as ad hoc indicators that policy makers and stakeholders have used in articulating the societal problem triggering the need for the research program. The project will seek to learn how social policy agencies set priorities between current programs and investing in research, how they manage research for societal outcomes, how they transfer new knowledge and/or technologies from their sponsored research into the pursuit of their missions, how they anticipate the linkages between their research and societal outcomes, and what those outcomes may be.

The current funding is for planning purposes, to develop the necessary permissions to gather data, develop questions to be asked, and develop the research design, analysis and interpretation.

Effective start/end date8/15/027/31/03


  • National Science Foundation: $9,952.00


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