Yankelovich Center for Social Science Research

The Division of Social Sciences is pleased to announce the creation of the Yankelovich Center for Social Science Research at UC San Diego, with initial funding from Dan Yankelovich. The mission of the Yankelovich Center is to promote a paradigm of social science that finds solutions to the nation’s most urgent problems.

Several trends are emerging nationwide that open new opportunities for the social sciences at UCSD. The nation is coming to recognize the importance of evidence-based research and of strategies for transforming social norms. Research of this sort is essential to solving huge national problems such as the decline of social mobility; under-performing schools; the unsustainable rise of health care costs; the urgency of action on climate change, and the destructive impact of political confrontation.

The Center is a pioneering leadership initiative that, if successful, will restore the great social science tradition of pragmatic problem solving and enhance our nation’s ability to cope with global change.  Guiding principles for the Center are attached to this email.

David A. Lake, Jerri-Ann and Gary E. Jacobs Professor of Social Science and currently Associate Dean of Social Sciences, has been appointed as the founding Director of the Center. He will be advised by an Executive Committee composed of former Executive Vice Chancellor Paul Drake (chair), Richard Madsen (Sociology), Amanda Datnow (Education Studies), and Dan Yankelovich.

The Yankelovich Center provides catalytic funding for projects designed to yield promising hypotheses, innovative interventions, and plans for larger-scale funding. Seed grants range from $5,000 to $30,000 per year. Small grants like these cannot, by themselves, solve overwhelming problems. But they can permit the preparatory work so essential to the discovery of ambitious solutions.

In its first months of operation in 2012, the Center awarded seed grants and support mainly to promising research in progress. These covered such topics as:

?         How to advance the academic achievement of students in diverse and underserved communities.

?         How to connect the theoretical knowledge of UCSD faculty with the practical knowledge of local community leaders.

?         How to change destructive norms in developing nations.

?         How to ensure more free and fair elections in emerging democracies.

Starting in 2013 its seed grants and support will go primarily to promising new problem-solving research initiatives.

Jeff Elman, Dean of Social Sciences

David A. Lake, Associate Dean of Social Sciences and Director of the Yankelovich Center for Social Science Research

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