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This archived information is dated to the 2008-09 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.

Institute for Research in the Social Sciences (IRiSS)

Director: Karen Cook

Executive Director: Chris Thomsen

Office: 450 Serra Mall, Building 370

Mail Code: 94305-2077

Phone: (650) 724-5221


Web site:

The Institute for Research in the Social Sciences (IRiSS) supports the research of Stanford faculty, graduate students. and undergraduate across the social sciences. IRiSS has a two-fold mandate: to advance discovery research in areas involving a mix of questions of anthropology, communication, economics, political science, psychology, and sociology, often addressing major societal challenges; and to build core research infrastructure that strengthens scientific inquiry.

IRiSS hosts the Stanford Center for the Study of Poverty and Inequality, the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, the Social Science History Program, and the Stanford Institute for the Quantitative Study of Society. Research projects consist of: the American National Election Studies (ANES), a collaboration with the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research; Educational Diversity in Graduate Education in the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (EDGE-SBE), a multi-university collaboration sponsored by the National Science Foundation aimed at increasing the number of under-represented minorities in the social, behavioral, and economic sciences who enter and complete Ph.D. programs; and the Minerva Project, a longitudinal study examining how scientific ideas, scholarly networks, and their institutional contexts influence each other.

In addition, the institute provides programs, funding opportunities, and technology initiatives to enhance research for faculty and graduate students. These include: annual awards made through a peer-reviewed proposal process for seed grants and faculty fellow appointments; an early career faculty program; an experimental research program for nonmedical subjects; and research methods training with a certification option for Ph.D. students. IRiSS also offers conferences and workshops to explore new collaborative research topics.

IRiSS participates in a collaborative program with the Stanford Libraries in providing access to Academic Technology Specialists (ATS) for the social sciences. The technology resources they support include: the Secure Data Center, including the Stanford Branch of the Northern California Census Research Data Center; the development of geographic information systems (GIS); online survey design and implementation; and the creation of high performance computing grids and data visualization systems (for the manipulation of data sets).

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