Social innovation is a central goal in the efforts of CSD, our departmental partnerships across the university, and the Brown School. This goal suggests an important possibility and raises a penetrating question: research for what?

CSD’s research is designed to produce objective, empirically validated knowledge with real-world benefits. Key collaborations with others in the Washington University community afford opportunities to undertake transdisciplinary inquiries, generate productive solutions and disseminate transformative insights.

The Next Age Institute

The Next Age Institute is a product of a collaboration with the McDonnell International Scholars Academy​ and the National University of Singapore. The institute was formed to study, design and test social innovations that confront challenges facing families and communities, particularly challenges related to inequality and aging populations. At Washington University, the institute is led by CSD Director Michael Sherraden.

The Livable Lives Initiative

The Livable Lives Initiative is a university-wide, cross-disciplinary research collaboration co-sponsored with Washington University’s Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Work and Social Capital in the School of Law; the Center for New Institutional Social Sciences; the Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government, and Public Policy; the American Culture Studies program; and the Office of the Provost. The initiative is designed to investigate social conditions and policy supports that enable low- and moderate-income families to live stable, secure and successful lives.

The Work, Families, and Public Policy seminars

​The Work, Families, and Public Policy seminar series provides opportunities for intellectual engagement with leading scholars on timely research related to labor, households, health care, law and social welfare. The series is co-sponsored by CSD, the Brown School, the Wells Fargo Advisors Center for Finance and Accounting Research in the Olin Business School, the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Work and Social Capital, the Department of Economics, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

Washington University Department of Sociology

Washington University’s re-established Department of Sociology collaborates with CSD on social policy and research.

The Brown School

CSD is part of the Brown School, an internationally recognized leader in social work and public health. The school engages the brightest minds in efforts to identify and implement social innovations.

Through its faculty directors, CSD works with the Brown School’s research centers, Health Equity Works, and the Clark-Fox Policy Institute, as well as with Washington University’s Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging and the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement.

Within the Brown School community, CSD supports inquiry and innovations by scholars in the early stages of their careers. The center has provided funding for groundbreaking work by numerous faculty members, postdoctoral fellows and doctoral students, including doctoral students with the Kathryn M. Buder Center for American Indian Studies. CSD also collaborated with the Buder Center to raise awareness about historical seizures of Native land and to advise the Brown School on a statement endorsing Native Acknowledgment as a best practice for organizers of events at the school. CSD offers research opportunities to master’s students who wish to focus on social-development research.

CSD has also established the Shanti  Khinduka Research Fellowship for Social Innovation in recognition of the leadership of the Brown School’s former dean. Khinduka led the school from 1974 to 2004. This annual $10,000 fellowship supports a member of the Washington University in conducting applied research testing a policy or practice innovation.