International Policy Lab requests proposals

October 16, 2015

CAMBRIDGE, MA—MIT announces today the first call for proposals from the International Policy Lab (IPL), a new program working to enhance the impact of MIT-sponsored research on public policy. MIT's Center for International Studies launched IPL last year in recognition of the growing need for science and engineering to inform public policy, with seed funding from the Office of the Provost; Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences; and its own budget. The IPL works with MIT faculty members and researchers to translate their scholarly work into policy-relevant materials and to connect them directly with policymakers.

"We are very pleased to open this successful initiative to Institute-wide competition," said faculty lead Chappell Lawson, Associate Professor of Political Science. "The demands on researchers at MIT leave those who wish to engage the policy community very little time to do so. We hope to maximize the impact of faculty members' efforts to inform public policy while minimizing the time they must invest in such efforts."

"IPL helps scientists and engineers engage with the environmental, security and health implications of the technologies that they are creating," said Ken Oye, Associate Professor of Political Science and of Engineering Systems. "In my case, the IPL provided funding for travel to the UN Biological Weapons Convention in Geneva and to the National Research Council on security implications of advanced gene editing methods."

R. Scott Kemp, Assistant Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering, who is studying the proliferation potential of laser enrichment, said, "The IPL has been able to bring a different set of people to the table and establish links to the policy community that will allow us to get feedback early, rather than our coming in at the end with a product that does not address their concerns."

Jessika Trancik, Atlantic Richfield Career Development Assistant Professor of Energy Studies at the Institute for Data, Systems and Society, worked with the IPL in her project on the effects of fugitive methane emissions. "Working with the IPL has provided a wonderful opportunity to identify and reach out to partners from the public sector with an interest in methane mitigation. Engagement with these partners has in turn informed the research and increased its impact."

"There is a major appetite in Washington, from executive branch agencies to think tanks and congressional committees, for the high quality, data-driven research that MIT produces," said Bill Bonvillian, Director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Washington, D.C. Office "These MIT in-depth studies have been a critical way in recent years that MIT, through its faculty and researchers, has met its long-standing mission of contributing to science, technology and public policy at the national level."

About the Request for Proposals: Proposals are welcome from faculty, and principal and senior research staff with principal investigator status who wish to engage the policy community in the U.S. and abroad. Proposals are sought from all parts of MIT. Awards of up to $10,000 in direct costs per project are available. Guidelines for submission are available at:

The submission deadline is December 6, 2015. Awards will be made available in time for activities during IAP.

Related links:
IPL Projects:

Dan Pomeroy

The Center for International Studies (CIS) supports interna­tional research and education at MIT. It is the home of MIT’s Security Studies Program; the MIT International Science & Technology Initiative, its pioneering global education program; the Program on Emerging Technologies; and seminars and research on migration, South Asia politics, the Middle East, cybersecurity, nuclear weapons, and East Asia. The Center has traditionally been aligned with the social sciences while also working with MIT’s premier science and engineering scholars. CIS produces research that creatively addresses global issues while helping to educate the next generation of global citizens.