Related Research Center Listings at HarvardIt is challenging to capture in a single document all the fascinating research activities taking place across the University as they relate to nonprofits and civil society, but we’ve tried.
Below is a preliminary list of those Harvard University Research Centers which have stated an interest in the nonprofit sector or nonprofit studies. If you know of a Harvard University Research Center which should be included, please email: Laura_Johnston@harvard.edu. We welcome additions!
Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government (HKS)
A. Alfred Taubman Center for State and Local Government - The Center conducts research on a range of issues relating to subnational governments and intergovernmental relations. Of potential interest to nonprofit students and practitioners are programs on education policy, civic engagement and social capital, emergency preparedness, applications of information technology to governance, and the Greater Boston region.
Roy and Lila Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation - The Roy and Lila Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation advances excellence in governance and strengthens democratic institutions worldwide. Through its research, education, international programs, and government innovations awards, the Institute fosters creative and effective government problem-solving and serves as a catalyst for addressing many of the most pressing needs of the world’s citizens. Asia Programs, a school-wide initiative integrating Asia-related activities, joined the Ash Institute in July 2008.
Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs - The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs is the hub of the Harvard Kennedy School’s research, teaching, and training in international security affairs, environmental and resource issues, and science and technology policy. The Center’s mission is to provide leadership in advancing policy-relevant knowledge about the most important challenges of international security and other critical issues where science, technology, environmental policy, and international affairs intersect. The Center’s leadership begins with the recognition of science and technology as driving forces transforming threats and opportunities in international affairs. The Center integrates insights of social scientists, natural scientists, technologists, and practitioners with experience in government, diplomacy, the military, and business to address critical issues.
Carr Center for Human Rights Policy - The mission of the Carr Center is to train future leaders for careers in public service and to apply first-class research to the solution of public policy problems. The Center’s research, teaching and writing are guided by a commitment to make human rights principles central to the formulation of good public policy in the United States and throughout the world. The Center uses its: convening power to create a safe space for human rights organizations and other policy actors to engage in constructive self-criticism and to forge new partnerships; research capacity to evaluate the human rights policies of the United States and other governments and to analyze the dilemmas that need to be resolved when human rights principles are brought to bear on major public policy choices; and, teaching capacity to inspire future leaders to make respect for human rights principles a central commitment of democratic leadership.
Center for International Development at Harvard University - The Center for International Development at Harvard University (CID) was established on July 1, 1998 by the Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID) and the Kennedy School of Government (KSG) to serve as Harvard’s primary center for research on sustainable international development. As a university-wide center, its goal is to advance understanding of development challenges and offer viable solutions to problems of global poverty. The CID seeks to be the leading idea factory focusing on resolving the dilemmas of public policy associated with generating stable, shared, and sustainable prosperity in developing countries. Our ongoing mission is to apply knowledge to and revolutionize the world of development practice.
Center for Public Leadership - Launched in 2000 through a generous grant from the Wexner Foundation, the Center for Public Leadership has responded rapidly to the burgeoning interest in leadership. The Center is dedicated to excellence in leadership education and research. It is equally committed to bridging the gap between leadership theory and practice. The Center for Public Leadership provides a forum for students, scholars, and practitioners who are committed to the idea that effective public leadership is essential to the common good. It creates opportunities for reflection and discovery, and promotes the dynamic exchange of ideas among those from different disciplines, sectors, cultures, and nations.
Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics - The Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics encourages teaching and research about ethical issues in public and professional life; helps meet the growing need for teachers and scholars who address questions of moral choice in architecture, business, education, engineering, government, journalism, law, medicine, public health, public policy and other professions; brings together those with competence in philosophical thought and those with experience in professional education; and promotes a perspective on ethics informed by both theory and practice. A guiding principle of the Center is that moral and political theory can help identify and clarify ethical issues in public life. The Center explores the connection between the problems that professionals confront and the social and political structures in which they act.
The Institute of Politics - Harvard’s Institute of Politics, established in 1966 as a memorial to President Kennedy, seeks to unite and engage students, particularly undergraduates, with academics, politicians, activists, and policymakers on a non-partisan basis and to stimulate and nurture their interest in public service and leadership. The Institute strives to promote greater understanding and cooperation between the academic world and the world of politics and public affairs. The Institute oversees the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum, a premier arena for political speech, discussion and debate and runs a fellows program for political practitioners. The Institute also offers conferences for presidential campaign managers and newly-elected Mayors and Members of Congress, wide-ranging internship opportunities and a National Campaign for Political and Civic Engagement.
Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy - The Shorenstein Center was established to promote a greater understanding of the media by public officials, improve coverage by media professionals of government and politics, better anticipate the consequences of public policies that affect the media and the First Amendment, and increase knowledge about how the media affect our political processes and governmental institutions. The Center includes a faculty of scholars and practitioners who, through their research and teaching programs, are creating a body of knowledge about press, politics and public policy in theory and in practice.
Joint Center for Housing Studies - The Center’s research on housing and community development issues reflects the premise that the resolution of these issues calls for interdisciplinary approaches and cooperation among leaders in academia, government, and the public and private sectors. The Center publishes reports, articles, and papers including the nationally recognized annual study, “The State of the Nation’s Housing.” The Center’s educational activities include student research assistantships, graduate fellowships, regular lecture series, occasional major policy conferences, and the annual John T. Dunlop Lecture on Housing. The Director of the Joint Center is Nicolas P. Retsinas, former Assistant Secretary for Housing-Federal Housing Commissioner at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy - The Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy is a vibrant intellectual community of faculty, masters and Ph.D. students, researchers, and administrative staff striving to improve public policy and practice in the areas of health care, human services, criminal justice, inequality, education, urban poverty and labor. The work of the Center draws on the worlds of scholarship, policy, and practice to address pressing questions by: carrying out research on important policy issues that affect the lives of those who are most vulnerable and needy; providing professional education for those in the world of practice; educating the next generation of academics and policy scholars; ensuring that research and education are closely tied to and draw from politics and practice in the field; and, developing working partnerships with the broader policy community. For two decades, the Wiener Center has been an influential voice in domestic policy through faculty work on community policing, welfare reform, youth violence, inner city poverty, education, American Indian economic and social development, and medical error rates. The Center’s research portfolio is both broad and deep, spanning many academic disciplines, encompassing traditional research as well as executive sessions, case-based research, and action research, and employing a variety of research methods.
The Mossaver-Rahmani Center for Business & Government - The Center for Business and Government helps to develop solutions to some of society's most challenging problems at the interface of business and government. It is a catalyst, convener, and innovator at the critical intersection where private enterprise meets governance. In the United States and around the world, we promote economic growth while helping public officials promulgate fair, thoughtful and efficient policies. Bringing together thought leaders from both the public and private sectors, and drawing on the unparalleled intellectual resources of the Kennedy School and Harvard University, we examine the issues, create a dialogue, and seek answers.
Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston - The Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston seeks to improve the governance of Greater Boston by fostering better connections between the region's scholars, policymakers, and civic leaders. The Institute sponsors events on issues of importance to the region; supports courses and research that focus on key issues in the region; and runs a summer fellowship program that places Boston-area graduate students in state and local entities throughout the region.
Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management – The Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management at the Kennedy School of Government aims to enable governments to fulfill their obligations to ensure public safety and justice. We do this through research, teaching and curriculum development, and maintaining long-lasting partnerships with practitioners and other scholars. We also organize executive sessions--intensive conversations among leading practitioners and scholars in a specific field that span several years, punctuated by research, practical experimentation, and collaborative publications.
The Women and Public Policy Program (WAPPP) - The Women and Public Policy Program of Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government was founded with the internal goal of incorporating an understanding of gender perspectives on public policy into the education of future and current leaders trained at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, and the external goal of contributing to the canon of scholarship on women and public policy.
Harvard Business School (HBS)
Social Enterprise Initiative - Grounded in HBS’ mission to educate leaders who make a difference in the world, the Social Enterprise Initiative (SEI) aims to inspire, educate, and support current and emerging leaders to apply management skills to create social value. Through an integrated approach to social-enterprise related teaching, research, and activities at HBS, SEI engages with leaders in all sectors to generate and disseminate practicable resources, tools, and knowledge with the ultimate goal of bettering society.
Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH)
The François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights - The Center was founded at the Harvard School of Public Health in 1993 through a gift from the Association François-Xavier Bagnoud. The center is the first academic center to focus exclusively on health and human rights. Center faculty work at international and national levels through collaboration and partnerships with health and human rights practitioners, governmental and nongovernmental organizations, academic institutions, and international agencies to do the following: 1) expand knowledge through scholarship, professional training, and public education; 2) develop domestic and international policy focusing on the relationship between health and human rights in a global perspective; and 3) engage scholars, public health and human rights practitioners, public officials, donors, and activists in the health and human rights movement.
Harvard Divinity School (HDS)
Center for the Study of World Religions - The mission of the Center for the Study of World Religions (CSWR) at Harvard Divinity School is: to advance interdisciplinary, international, and interreligious exchange, learning, and research on the world's religions; to bring together the rich intellectual resources of faculty and students at Harvard Divinity School and at other Schools and departments of Harvard University with an international scholarly network to explore issues of religion in today's complex, globalizing, and changing world; and to build a deeper and broader understanding of the histories and contemporary patterns of the world's religious communities by hosting scholars and practitioners at the CSWR as residents and program participants.
The Pluralism Project - In the past forty years, immigration has dramatically changed the religious landscape of the United States. Today, the encounter between people of different religious traditions takes place in our own cities and neighborhoods. In 1991, the Pluralism Project at Harvard University began a pioneering study of America's changing religious landscape. Through an expanding network of affiliates, we document the contours of our multi-religious society, explore new forms of interfaith engagement, and study the impact of religious diversity in civic life. In 2000, we expanded our study of pluralism to other multi-religious societies.
Harvard Graduate School of Education (GSE)
Center for Education Policy Research - The rapid accumulation of student achievement data represents an untapped national resource, one that holds the promise of breaking longstanding stalemates in the education policy debate. The Center for Education Policy Research works with University-based researchers and policymakers to bring these new data to bear in evaluating policies and drawing implications for reform. To ensure that the research is solving real problems, the Center engages stakeholders in the field directly to frame the research. The Center is intended to serve as a focal point for education policy research across the University and is working to develop a campus-wide effort in education policy research. As a national convener with alumni in leadership positions in districts around the country, the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Harvard University are uniquely placed to play this national leadership role.
Harvard Law School (HLS)
The Berkman Center for Internet and Society - The Berkman Center was founded to explore cyberspace, share in its study, and help pioneer its development. It represents a network of faculty, students, fellows, entrepreneurs, lawyers, and virtual architects working to identify and engage with the challenges and opportunities of cyberspace. It investigates the real and possible boundaries in cyberspace between open and closed systems of code, of commerce, of governance, and of education, and the relationship of law to each. It does this through active rather than passive research, believing that the best way to understand cyberspace is to actually build out into it. Projects include the Center for Citizen Media and Internet and Democracy.
Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice (CHHIRJ) - In 2005, Professor Charles J. Ogletree, Jr. established the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice (CHHIRJ) at Harvard Law School. The Institute honors and continues the work of one of the great civil rights lawyers of the twentieth century. Litigator, scholar and teacher, Charles Hamilton Houston dedicated his life to using the law as a tool to reverse the unjust consequences of racial discrimination. CHHIRJ is committed to marshalling the resources of Harvard and beyond to continue Houston’s unfinished work.
Child Advocacy Program - The Child Advocacy Program (CAP) at Harvard Law School is committed to advancing children's interests through facilitating productive interaction between academia and the world of policy and practice, and through training generations of students to contribute in their future careers to law reform and social change.
Criminal Justice Institute - The Criminal Justice Institute is the curriculum-based criminal law clinical program of Harvard Law School. The mission of the Criminal Justice Institute is to educate Harvard Law School students in becoming effective, ethical and zealous criminal defense lawyer-advocates through practice in representing indigent individuals involved in the Massachusetts court system as well as to research and present issues and debates about the criminal and juvenile justice systems in order to effect local and national reform.
Environmental Law Program - The Environmental Law and Policy Clinic is offering students even more opportunities to do a wide variety of hands-on, environmental legal and policy work. Under the leadership of Director and Clinical Professor Wendy Jacobs, the Clinic has expanded to offer local, national and international projects covering a broad range of environmental issues.
Harvard Law School Project on Disability - The Harvard Law School Project on Disability (HPOD) works to promote the human rights of people with disabilities worldwide. We empower all people to use the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) to develop fully equitable societies. HPOD supports the development of disability civil society, informs innovative legislative and policy development, provides legal advice and human rights training to persons with disabilities, their representative organizations, non-governmental organizations, National Human Rights Institutions, and governments. We enable inclusive development practices.
As a global disability law and policy center, HPOD undertakes and encourages teaching and ground-breaking scholarship on disability rights.
Human Rights Program at Harvard Law - The Human Rights Program (HRP) at Harvard Law School seeks to give impetus and direction to international human rights work at Harvard Law School. Founded by Professor Henry Steiner and now in its twenty-fourth year, the HRP fosters coursework and student participation in human rights activities through its summer fellowships, clinical work, speaker series, applied research, and scholarship. The HRP forges cooperative links with human rights organizations in this country and abroad, and works with student organizations such as the Harvard Human Rights Journal and the Harvard Law Student Advocates for Human Rights. The HRP plans and directs international conferences and roundtables on human rights issues, and publishes reports and scholarship resulting from these events. Its staff advises students wishing to conduct research projects with human rights organizations, and provides counseling on careers in the field. Through these activities, the HRP seeks to make international human rights an integral part of a Harvard Law School education. It works to educate students who will be among the leaders of the human rights movement, and foster progress within the movement through its scholarship, engagement, criticism and suggestions.
Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law - The Labor and Worklife Program (LWP) is Harvard University’s forum for research and teaching on the world of work and its implications for society. Located at the Harvard Law School, the LWP brings together scholars and policy experts from a variety of disciplines to analyze critical labor issues in the law, economy, and society. The LWP also provides unique education for labor leaders throughout the world via the oldest executive training program at Harvard University, the Harvard Trade Union Program, founded in 1942. As a multidisciplinary research and policy network, the LWP organizes projects and programs that seek to understand critical changes in labor markets and labor law, and to analyze the role of unions, business, and government as they affect the world of work. By engaging scholars, students, and members of the labor community, the program coordinates legal, educational, and cultural activities designed to improve the quality of work life.
The Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics - The founding vision of the Petrie-Flom Center is to promote scholarly inquiry that breaks away from existing disciplinary lines and brings the totality of these disciplinary methodologies under its compass. To achieve this goal, the Center fosters the growth of a community of leading intellectuals from a variety of backgrounds and at all stages in their careers. This environment created by the Center will produce scholarship that addresses the true legal, social and ethical challenges presented by issues at the intersection of health and law. The Center is not an advocacy center, but is dedicated to the non-partisan promotion of important new ideas and empirical findings.
Program on Negotiation - The Program on Negotiation (PON) is a university consortium dedicated to developing the theory and practice of negotiation and dispute resolution. As a community of scholars and practitioners, PON serves a unique role in the world negotiation community. Founded in 1983 as a special research project at Harvard Law School, PON includes faculty, students, and staff from Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Tufts University. At PON, we are committed to developing the theory and practice of negotiation, to nurturing the next generation of negotiation teachers and scholars, and to helping students become more effective negotiators. We accomplish this through research, seminars, courses, conferences, publications and special events.
Harvard College, Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS)
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS)
Harvard University Committee on Human Rights Studies - The Harvard University Committee on Human Rights Studies, an interfaculty initiative, seeks to integrate and strengthen human rights learning and research across all the schools at Harvard by promoting collaborative projects university-wide, and by building a vibrant program of human rights studies for undergraduates.
W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research - Named after the first African American to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard University (1895), the idea for the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research was proposed in the Report of the Faculty Committee on African and Afro-American Studies dated 20 January 1969. In May of 1975 in its progress report to President Derek C. Bok, the Institute's Advisory Board announced the establishment of four fellowships for the 1975-1976 academic year. The fellowships were intended to "facilitate the writing of doctoral dissertations in areas related to Afro-American studies." As such, the Du Bois Institute is the nation's oldest research center dedicated to the study of the history, culture, and social institutions of Africans and African Americans.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.)
The Center for Reflective Community Practice - The Center for Reflective Community Practice at MIT designs and implements projects which build the capacity of practitioner and community-centered cross sector teams to improve the lives of those least served by our society. Our projects support the development and use of knowledge embedded in marginalized communities to build social capital, improve community practice, and inform policy. CRCP designs structures for creative alliances and applies tools based on reflective practice, group dynamics, cultural psychology, organizational learning, team-based work, and participatory design process to disrupt "business as usual" ways of working. The goal is to produce outcomes and solutions that emerge from the collective genius of groups that have deeply and thoroughly engaged the inventiveness and knowledge of every individual involved.