Apply for the First Annual APSA Institute for Civically Engaged Research (ICER) at The Tisch College of Civic Life

Scholars in many disciplines are grappling with how to produce rigorous scholarship that addresses significant social challenges in collaboration with communities, organizations, and agencies. They strive to learn from those working outside of academia, to benefit from the research capacity of all kinds of groups and institutions, and to give back to communities rather than extract value from them. Although political scientists offer models of excellence in civically engaged research, relevant methods and strategies are not yet widely taught in the discipline’s graduate programs or sufficiently valued in the profession as a whole.

In an effort to address this need, the APSA Presidential Task Force on New Partnerships has developed an annual APSA Institute for Civically Engaged Research (ICER) to begin in summer 2019. ICER is intended for advanced graduate students in political science and political scientists at any stage of their careers who wish to shift to using civically engaged research. (It is not meant for scholars who are already experienced in that approach.)

To apply, please complete this form. New application deadline: March 31, 2019. 

Content of the Institute

Topics covered will include:

  • Expertise: what do political scientists contribute? What are the limitations of scholarly expertise? What expertise do others have?
  • The needs of scholars as compared to community groups or political actors. Tensions and ways of addressing them.
  • The ethics of collaboration: sharing of credit, funds and overhead, IRB issues, sharing results, dealing with disagreements.
  • Communicating results: to partners, communities, the press, directly to the broad public. Dealing with controversy.
  • How to define and honor values of like neutrality, objectivity, and rigor.
  • Career issues: publication and credit, tenure and promotion, fundraising.
  • Mapping the different and varied ways that political scientists engage.

We will explore these issues by discussing relevant readings, by analyzing specific examples of civically engaged political science research, and by considering the research plans and ideas of the participants in the Institute.


Confirmed speakers and visitors include: Archon Fung(Harvard), Taeku Lee (Berkeley), Robert Lieberman (Johns Hopkins), Jamila Michener(Cornell), Pearl Robinson (Tufts), and Rogers Smith (Penn).

Also involved with the Institute are: Amanda Grigg (APSA), Hahrie Han (University of California Santa Barbara), and Jane Mansbridge (Harvard)

The Institute Directors are Amy Cabrera Rasmussen (Cal State-Long Beach) Peter Levine (Tufts University), and Valeria Sinclair Chapman (Purdue). If you have further questions about the institute, please contact APSA’s Centennial Center at



The Institute will take place on the campus of Tufts University, in the Boston area, from June 17-22, 2019. Approximately twenty participants will meet each day from June 17-20 for intensive discussions. Participants will attend the Frontiers of Democracy conference with approximately 120 other scholars and practitioners from the evening of June 20 until noon on June 22 in downtown Boston.

Thanks to support from the Ivywood Foundation, participation in the Institute and the conference is free, and scholarships are available to defray costs of travel, food, and housing in dormitories on the Tufts campus. Applicants are expected to seek financial support from their home institution, but admission to the Institute for Civically Engaged Research will not be affected by financial need.

To apply, please complete this form.