The Social Science Research Council began the celebration of its Centennial, kicking off a year in which it will highlight 100 years of important contributions made by social and behavioral scientists to solving pressing global challenges. 

In 1923, a group of social and behavioral scientists representing the American Economic Association, American Political Science Association, American Sociological Association, and American Statistical Association founded the Social Science Research Council to advance policy-relevant social and behavioral science with the potential to lead to societies more supportive of human well-being.

The Council’s founders identified a number of challenges to the production of policy-relevant evidence, including insufficient high-quality administrative data and the lack of methodological tools to establish cause and effect in a complicated world. They formed the Council to tackle these challenges by focusing the attention and effort of the research community on producing actionable solutions to pressing social problems. By 1925 they had been joined by representatives from the American Anthropological Association, American Historical Association, and American Psychological Association.

The Council’s first research project addressed the social and economic consequences of immigration restrictions, using migration and census data to counter misconceptions driving anti-immigration legislation. In 1933, in the midst of the Great Depression, the Council was asked to urgently assemble an advisory group of social and behavioral scientists to help the Roosevelt administration craft what was to become the Social Security Act, one of the greatest poverty-fighting programs in US history. In subsequent decades the Council would tackle racial discrimination, economic development, the green revolution, education, persistent poverty, climate change, democracy, and pandemic response.

In 2023 the Council will celebrate the many contributions of social and behavioral scientists to the advancement of global well-being over the past 100 years. The Council’s Centennial website and monthly online Centennial Lecture Series will tell the stories of pioneering researchers and feature new insights from social and behavioral scientists working on today’s challenges. On each decade page of the Council’s Centennial website, viewers are invited to share suggestions of important social and behavioral science contributions to solving critical social problems. 

To secure the next century of policy-relevant and solutions-oriented social and behavioral science, the Council has embarked on an ambitious and exciting $100 million Centennial Campaign for the Social and Behavioral Sciences. In recognition of the societal value of socially useful social and behavioral science, the generous contributions of supporters have already moved the Council ¾ of the way to its campaign goal. The Centennial campaign will enable the Council to continue its work to mobilize the research, philanthropic, and policy communities in search of bold solutions to urgent global challenges. The Council is receiving campaign gifts here.