What is the Innovation & Impact Fund?

The goal of the I&I fund is to stimulate innovative initiatives that promise to have real societal impacts. Proposals may be submitted by faculty, staff or students. Since 2013, the Innovation and Impact Fund helped launch 33 new initiatives.

Interested in applying?

If you are Sanford faculty or staff member, or Sanford student, you are eligible to apply.

Read the guidelines.

Projects We’ve Helped Launch

As a community of creative and engaged scholars,  we are continually working to put knowledge in service to society, applying what we have learned to solve problems that matter.  Highlights from the first couple of years include:

Durham Children’s Data Center

A collaboration between the Sanford School, Durham Public Schools, and Durham County government, the new Children’s Data Center, led by Ken Dodge, has created a unique capacity to use data to produce better policy decisions for families of young children.

Local Government Policy Innovation Workshop

Sanford piloted an innovation workshop led by Professor Dan Ariely for NC local governments focused on how local governments can apply insights from behavioral science to design better policies. 70 leaders from 30 NC governments attended the first workshop. Teams of Sanford MPP students are now working with 14 cities to design interventions using behavioral economics techniques.

The N.C. Workers-to-Leaders Program

This one-of-a-kind, nonpartisan program led by Assistant Professor Nicholas Carnes trains working-class citizens in North Carolina to run for political office. The ambitious multi-part project will give scholars and students unprecedented opportunities to study the factors that discourage less affluent Americans from running for office, and could impact the future of national efforts to promote political equality.

Sanford’s Ways & Means Podcast

Sanford’s communications office used funds to create a new top-quality podcast series, Ways & Means, “a show for people curious about the best ideas for improving our society.” Each episode is scripted, and combines faculty members discussing their scholarship with personal stories of people affected by the policies being discussed, audio extras, music clips, and narration by a professional host. Check it out today!

Duke Interdisciplinary Social Innovators

Founded by Sanford master of public policy students in 2013, DISI is a dynamic, interdisciplinary graduate and professional student group that contributes its talents at the intersection of business principles, technological innovation, and effective policy to serve social organizations. DISI provides pro bono consulting services to social organizations.

Read stories from I&I Fund supported projects.

And stay tuned as we add more stories from the 33 projects funded to date.