We conduct research and regularly engage with the community at the local, regional, national and international levels. 

Here are some examples

Center for Child and Family Policy conference

The Center for Child and Family Policy held a two-day policy conference on April 12-13, 2022. This national, virtual convening, “The Next Step in Early Childhood Policy: Creating a Universal System of Care for Families with Young Children,” had more than 400 participants from across the US. The second day focused on North Carolina and included more than 90 policymakers, state legislators, direct service providers, researchers, funders, advocates, faculty, and staff.


World Food Policy Center conference

The World Food Policy Center co-sponsored “Rooted in Relationship – Power & Privilege in Food Systems” April 21, 2022. More than 150 leaders in community organizing, academia, and philanthropy explored how to move from charitable interventions to a justice-based approach to food systems reform and community development. The central theme of each discussion was shifting power and working in support of community-rooted organizations working on the health and economic viability of historically marginalized communities. Conference co-sponsors were the Equitable Food Oriented Development Collaborative, Communities in Partnership, and Sanford.

Polis: Center for Politics conference

On March 28-29, 2022, Polis: Center for Politics hosted “Politics, Policy, and a New Economic Strategy for Rural North Carolina,” a conference that brought together an all-star group of policymakers, community members, practitioners, activists, and scholars to consider some of the most pressing questions facing North Carolina and the U.S. as we think seriously about investing in rural communities.  Chaired by the Hon. Tony Copeland, former North Carolina Secretary of Commerce, and featuring a keynote address from Dr. Mandy Cohen, former Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, the conference contributed to important discussions of the policy changes necessary to provide national leadership on rural economic renewal.

Social Policy: Reparations

Professor William A. "Sandy" Darity Jr. continued work on reparations for black Americans whose ancestors were enslaved in the United States. Two signal moments associated with that work are the 2022 publication of the second edition of the book co-authored with Kirsten Mullen, From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century, with a new Preface and my participation in a “debate” with Harvard Law School Professor Randall Kennedy on black reparations.


Professor William Darity, Jr.

Social Policy: Guns

At the request of the Durham Police Department Chief, Professor Phil Cook prepared an analysis of police investigations of criminal cases in which the victim was shot, creating a database from police and court records for shootings that occurred in the period 2017-2021. Results were presented to the DPD leadership and, the Violent Crime Reduction Roundtable, made up of Durham city and county leaders. Read the final report.


Social Policy: Parenting

Professor Jennifer Lansford's research was cited by the advocacy group that helped Colombia outlaw corporal punishment in pushing toward realization of Target 16.2 of the Sustainable Development Goals. Lansford was a consultant on developing a parenting and caregiver support strategy and positive parenting program for the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority.


Jennifer Lansford

Social Policy: children

Professor Lisa Gennetian's first release of findings on infant brain activity from the Baby’s First Years (poverty reduction/cash transfer) study was featured in the New York Times, as well as in a longer list of media (the research team also engaged in a variety of private briefings).

Gennetian's consensus report Rebalancing Children First was released and Gennetian spoke at the launching event with Mitt Romney and Cecilia Rouse (Council of Economic Advisors).  

Gennetian is also the co-author of report for the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities: Three Reasons Why Cash to Families with Children is a Sound Policy Investment. The paper Investing in Latino Children and Youth, which Gennetian co-wrote was posted at Brookings. Economics of Infant Feeding in the U.S., which Gennetian co-wrote was posted at EconoFact.


Social Policy: Charter Schools

Professor Sunny Ladd gave the invited Ravitch lecture at Wellesley College on “How Charter Schools Disrupt Good Education Policy Making.”  The National Education Policy Center published a slightly revised version of the lecture with the title, “How Charter Schools Undermine Good Education Policy Making.”

Social Policy: Increasing Compliance

Assistant Professor Matt Johnson's research papers were cited in the 2022 Economic Report of the President from the White House. Johnson was a featured speaker in a webinar hosted by the Workplace Justice Lab at Rutgers and attended by over 100 people from state and local labor standards agencies around the country. The webinar was titled "Publicizing Violations to Increase Compliance.”


Social Policy: Family Connects

Professor Ken Dodge created and tested a universal system of primary psychosocial care for families giving birth, called Family Connects. The program has been found to reduce community-level child abuse rates by one third and is now being disseminated around the nation through an independent nonprofit organization, Family Connects International.

Energy & Environment: International Insight

Associate Professor Marc Jeuland's policy brief on barriers and opportunities for off-grid energy investment in four East African countries is now available here.

Jeuland's policy brief on how to think about the role of taxes and subsidies in developing countries as applied in the household cooking domain was distributed.

Jeuland presented during the Environment for Development conference Policy Day in Kampala, Uganda, on the need for measurement, monitoring and evaluation of climate adaptation outcomes to spur private sector finance and action in Uganda and other similar countries.


Environmental Economics

Professor Alex Pfaff was a keynote speaker for the Workshop on Environmental Economics held in Uruguay on What has (not) worked: some empirical results for environmental impacts of conservation and development interventions in Latin America.

International Development: Finance

Professor Roy Kelly was a featured speaker at the BLGF Anniversary webinar: Mobilizing Resources through Property Tax: Local and International Perspectives held on 21 October 2021. Over 6,700 participants celebrated the 34th Anniversary of the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF), Department of Finance, Government of the Philippines. 

Kelly moderated a panel discussion during a webinar on the Personal Income Tax Surcharge experience in the Republic of Croatia held on 18 October 2021. The webinar, attended by 100+ Indonesian Ministry of Finance officials, was organized by the World Bank and the Indonesian Ministry of Finance.

Kelly moderated the closing Validation Session at the 6th African Tax Research Network Congress which was was attended by over 450 government officials, elected political leaders, practitioners and academia largely from throughout Africa.


International Development: Focus on Vietnam

Professor Eddy Malesky provided a briefing for new US State Department officers on the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

Malesky authored the Vietnam Provincial Competitiveness Index report and presented results to national politicians and leaders of all 63 provinces.

Malesky authored the Vietnam Provincial Administrative Performance Survey and presented results to national politicians.


Media & Democracy: Policy Lab

Striving to use knowledge in the service of society, Policy Lab gives students the opportunity to develop research memos in response to questions posed by policymakers, issue advocates, non-profit organizations, and community leaders.

Students in Professor Kristin Goss’s PUBPOL 301 and Associate Professor Deondra Rose’s PUBPOL 301 courses participated in PolicyLab. ‘Clients’ include members of the North Carolina House of Representatives, North Carolina Senate, non-profit leaders, North Carolina City Council members, a representative from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, and an analyst from RTI International.

Media & Democracy: Supreme court case

Professor Ed Balleisen's research article was cited in a U.S. Supreme Court case legal brief: SIEGEL v. FITZGERALD, 2022 U.S. S. CT. BRIEFS LEXIS 1033.

Balleisen co-convened the 2022 Annual Symposium of the Northwestern University Law Review, which brought together policymakers (including a former Attorney General of Illinois), scholars, and practicing lawyers around the topic, “Fraud and the Erosion of Trust."


Media & Democracy: Germany & Photography

Professor Chris Sims received a grant from the U.S. Embassy Berlin to run a series of documentary photography and history-focused workshops for German high school youth from migration backgrounds to critically examine the U.S-German transatlantic relationship.

National Security & Foreign Policy: Democracy

Professor David Schanzer worked with Congressman David Price to host the Facebook Live Event: “Jan. 6, Democracy Under Threat." 

Schanzer was a guest curator for the National Law Enforcement Museum & Memorial exhibit on the 20th anniversary of 9/11: Post-9/11: The Evolution of American Law Enforcement. Schanzer also spoke at the opening event along with the Commissioner of the NYPD and wrote the opening essay for the exhibit catalogue.

Schanzer served on a Privacy and Ethics Experts Panel for a RAND Corporation project on “Misinformation, Disinformation and Mal-Information Challenges to Department of Homeland Security Functions” from January 2022 to July 2022.


Tech Policy: Data Broker and Platform Accountability

Professor David Hoffman leads the Duke Cyber Policy program, which includes research teams on data brokerage and platform accountability. The team, led by Justin Sherman and Alexys Ogorek work on issues critical for how governments can measure whether technology platforms are operating responsibly. 

The team is examining national security implications of data brokerage as well as how the data brokerage ecosystem impacts senior citizens, students and employees.

Undergraduate student researcher Alistair Simmons published a Lawfare blog on the Justice Department’s agreements with one of the data brokers that facilitated this type of elder fraud. Justin and Alistair also spoke with Technology Policy Visiting Scholar and technology journalist, Bob Sullivan, on an episode of Debugger in 10.

Health Policy: Caregiver Support

Associate Professor Nathan Boucher led a study and findings, represented in this publication, used by the Roslyn Carter Institute for Family Caregiving (Americus, GA) to evaluate and strengthen their regional caregiver support programs.

Boucher was appointed to and served on the NC Institute of Medicine Health Aging Task Force during 2022 (and was previously on the Serious Illness Task Force).

The VA Health System on the national level commissioned a report on the state of urgent care telehealth for low acuity conditions, resulting in the report led by Nathan Boucher on which they are basing their decision.


These are highlights of the many examples of Sanford policy engagement occurring every day. Learn more about our wide array of Sanford faculty and their areas of expertise.