The past several decades have been marked by many important social and economic trends, including a slowdown in economic growth, rising inequality, and increasing ethnic diversity. As a result, Canada and the United States are at a cross-road in terms of their social and economic prospects. New research is needed to develop policies and practices that will support sustainability, well-being and economic growth in the twenty-first century.
Starting in the fall of 2016, Western’s new Institute for Social and Economic Policy will produce world-class research of relevance to social and economic policy to promote economic security and growth. Housed in the Faculty of Social Science, The Institute will generate evidence-based policy research through a multidisciplinary approach with a goal to influence social and economic policy in Canada and North America more broadly.
The goals of the Institute are to use advanced data creation, management, and analytic techniques to provide theoretically driven and evidenced-based research that will inform social and economic policy. Our research will focus on issues related to educational attainment, poverty, inequality, immigration, diversity, population change, local government, urban affairs, and community development.
The Faculty of Social Science is the largest faculty at Western University. As of June 2016, it has more than 180 tenured or tenure-track professors, and 627 Graduate students, including 320 PhD candidates, in nine departments. Positioned at the centre of advanced policy research in the Faculty, the Institute will be a knowledge leader—bringing together our best researchers by creating a space to facilitate collaboration and foster synergies between research teams. The Institute will also serve as a resource for information on research and funding opportunities, research, training and additional activities relevant to its members.
A number of the Centres currently in existence within the Faculty of Social Science will function under the umbrella of the Institute:
Plans also call for the creation of two new centres that will also fall under the Institute’s umbrella:
Through conferences, working papers, policy briefs, newsletters and events, the Institute will reach policy makers, think tanks, academics and influence media personnel with interest in social and economic policy.
Artist rendering of the Institute of Social and Economic Policy