The Social Science Research Council (SSRC) is an independent, international, nonprofit organization founded in 1923. It fosters innovative research, nurtures new generations of social scientists, deepens how inquiry is practiced within and across disciplines, and mobilizes necessary knowledge on important public issues.

In 1923, visionary members of the American Economic Association, the American Sociological Association, the American Political Science Association, and the American Statistical Association came together to found the Social Science Research Council, a groundbreaking organization designed to generate new insight into pressing societal issues. By 1925, representatives from the American Anthropological Association, the American Historical Association, and the American Psychological Association had joined the fledgling organization. 

For nearly 100 years the Social Science Research Council has coordinated the research, policy, and philanthropic communities in the pursuit of evidence-based policies to promote human well-being, emerging as both a pivotal force in the academy and a respected contributor to the public good. The SSRC is guided by the belief that justice, prosperity, and democracy all require better understanding of complex social, cultural, economic, and political processes. We work with practitioners, policymakers, and academic researchers in the social sciences, natural sciences, humanities, and related professions. We build interdisciplinary and international networks, working with partners around the world to link research to practice and policy, strengthen individual and institutional capacities for learning, and enhance public access to information.

Basic Commitments

The SSRC approaches its work guided by five basic commitments:

  1. Fostering innovation. We work on problems that need new approaches; we act as a catalyst for new thinking. We seek to mobilize the most creative and knowledgeable researchers and to help research institutions become more dynamic. Renewing existing expertise, putting knowledge to work on new problems, and generating novel data and theories are all crucial to advancing social science for the public good.
  2. Building a diverse research community. We advocate for and support programs that create a diverse pipeline of researchers, ensuring that tomorrow’s scholars will seek answers to previously unasked questions and that the production of knowledge is informed by different contexts and perspectives.
  3. Working internationally and democratically. Better understanding of basic social processes is a resource for improving the lives of all. It should be available to all. Participation in the production of scientific knowledge should also be as broad as possible. Many of society’s most pressing problems are global in nature and must be addressed through global collaboration.
  4. Investing in the future. We ensure the future of knowledge production by nurturing new generations of researchers, enabling practitioners to act on scientific knowledge, enhancing cross-fertilization among intellectual fields, developing capacity where it is most lacking, and facilitating the internationalization of social science.
  5. Combining urgency and patience. We bring researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and broader publics together to focus on topics of pressing public importance, including climate change, health, and human rights. But since even the most urgent problems are seldom solved overnight, we must learn even as we act, continually renew existing knowledge, and identify future problems and research agendas.

Equity and Inclusion

At the SSRC, diversity, equity, and inclusion are core values, and also an opportunity to explore a wide array of perspectives and social phenomena, toward the goal of enriching and advancing our understanding of the human condition.

The diversity of the SSRC staff, Board, and networks—including background, culture, experience, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, age, ability, and much more—strengthens the organization and our work.

As an organization widely recognized for intellectual agenda-setting, the SSRC is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all facets of our organization and work, including scholarly programs and initiatives; these efforts are emblematic of the organization’s broader and fundamental commitment to inclusiveness.

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