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Our Story

It all started with two William & Mary students who challenged the status quo, and a group of faculty who helped them change it.

One student wondered about the gulf between how his professors taught and how they studied international relations. Another was working on his honors thesis and discovered the data he needed didn’t yet exist.

institute-throwback.jpgThey teamed up with professors and practitioners to solve these problems, and as they did they realized their approach needed a home. So they created the Institute, a multidisciplinary hub to apply research to real world issues.

Here we house global research projects that are focused beyond the ivory tower. Our work ranges from big data analysis that informs policymakers to service-oriented projects that leverage rigorous research to help communities where they need it most.

We’re a group of passionate students, faculty, and practitioners who take our work seriously. We take pride in being able to solve problems requiring data that has not been collected and methods that have yet to be invented. Our research has been featured in outlets such as the Economist, Foreign Policy, and the Wall Street Journal, and you can find more than a thousand of our former students in places like the World Bank, the CIA, the US Department of State, top PhD programs, and tech startups in Silicon Valley.

Our sense of community is at the heart of it all. We provide unique and exciting research experiences in which students from different backgrounds work side by side with faculty members. And we like to have fun. If we’re not out grabbing time on W&M’s supercomputer or running field experiments in pursuit of the next research horizon, you’ll find us gathering around the porch of our yellow house enjoying burgers during one of our legendary barbeques.

Join us. Big ideas live here.