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Social impact research combines data, rigorous analysis, and real-world experience to explore solutions to complex social and environmental issues.

Social impact research at the Rustandy Center strives to examine the practices of social sector organizations and evaluate innovative social programs and methods to increase impact across nonprofit, government, and private sectors. We believe research-informed solutions can inspire change and make the world more equitable and sustainable.  

We connect world-class faculty at Chicago Booth with our alumni and other leaders in the for-profit, nonprofit, and public sectors, uniting research and practice. These partnerships generate insights that can improve the performance of each sector and produce measurable change for good.

We ask big questions and are open-minded about what we hear. Social impact research equips C-suite leaders, policymakers, and nonprofit leaders with tools and evidence from research and practice.

We want to know which strategies, systems, and policies lead to improved outcomes and social impact. Discovering what doesn’t work is just as valuable, saving others time, effort, and money.

What does social impact research look like in action? It tracks the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on U.S. small businesses and households to inform policy responses. It illustrates how financial incentives and social networks can increase TB screenings in India. It optimizes supply chain operations for sustainable delivery of life-saving medical supplies in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is research that identifies new systems and programs to help our nation’s largest food bank get more food, more efficiently, to those in need. And, it identifies discrimination in hiring practices and ways to tackle systemic racism. 

Rustandy Center social impact research is recognized as “best in class social research” by The Financial Times.

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