10-Year Anniversary Campaign

Our Ask

We want to be the best place in the world for undergraduate students and faculty to do applied research on global issues. To help make this a reality, we hope to raise $3 million in private gifts by December 2019. Such an investment will help to jump-start promising ideas, expand access for more students, and retain top talent at William & Mary.

Why We Hope You’ll Invest in Us

In the Institute’s first decade we catalyzed path-breaking research; trained more than 1,000 undergraduate students as leaders in the areas of international security, development, and data science; and created a vibrant intellectual community of faculty, practitioners, and students.

During that period our projects have gained global recognition. Institute research is regularly featured in outlets such as The Economist, Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy, and Washington Post. The U.S. Department of State, Defense Department, World Bank, and non-profits throughout the world have used our research to inform their decisions.

As we expand our research beyond campus and into the world, we integrate students into every step of the process. From participating in expedition-based coursework in Guatemala to briefing policymakers in DC, and from implementing project evaluations in Liberia to conducting data analysis on W&M’s supercomputer, students engage meaningfully with Institute projects and programs.

Return on Investment

The Institute’s impact in the world, combined with these opportunities for students and faculty, raise William & Mary’s profile as a global institution. In the words of the university’s Chancellor, Robert Gates ‘65, “The Institute exemplifies the best of William & Mary. Creativity, entrepreneurship, and intellectual risk-taking are rewarded. By investing in the power of student-faculty research, the Institute is helping position W&M as a leader for world-class, applied undergraduate research.”

The Institute is able to achieve this impact by delivering a strong return on investment. Over the past decade Institute projects have brought in over $50 million to William & Mary in research funding through competitive grants and contracts. This is over a 10-fold return relative to the Institute’s core funding, and the great news is this funding lets us do more research that helps solve real-world problems with our external partners. What this type of funding does not do, however, is provide continued support for the critical core funding needs of the Institute.


We need your help to do three very important things.
Solve real-world problems

Many of the Institute’s cutting-edge initiatives, including AidData’s project tracking Chinese investment and the Center for African Development’s work on mobile phone technology, were catalyzed by small amounts of seed funding from Institute supporters. Those early, targeted investments have since leveraged millions of dollars in external funding from the National Science Foundation, Gates Foundation, and MacArthur Foundation. We need your help to incubate and scale the next wave of great ideas that make a difference in the world.

Provide transformational experiences
Investing in our students and expanding their access to transformational experiences builds the next generation of leaders. The Institute focuses on shaping undergraduate experiences in and out of the classroom, drawing in students from a diverse set of backgrounds and majors to equip them with the skills they need to succeed in their future careers. Institute programs work with students to teach them how to pitch and implement policy-oriented ideas and embed them with local organizations to support analytical work in places like Uganda, Colombia, Nepal, and Rome. Students frequently cite these opportunities as the most important part of their time at William & Mary. We need your help to sustain and expand such transformative experiences.
Ensure the future
One of the Institute’s most significant challenges is our current reliance on external grant funding. In a down cycle, our greatest risk is not being able to retain our talented faculty and staff. A reserve fund will ensure continuity in great programming and student opportunities during grant downturns.

Join Us: We would love to discuss your role in helping to make William & Mary the best place in the world to do applied international research. Please let us know if you’re interested in a conversation on how you might join us as we enter our second decade.