Research for Democracy

Connecting journalists, policymakers, and civic leaders with America’s top researchers to improve policy and strengthen democracy.

About the Scholars Strategy Network

Our Mission and Approach

The Scholars Strategy Network (SSN) is a national membership organization made up of college- and university-based researchers interested in improving policy and strengthening democracy. Founded in 2011 by Theda Skocpol, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard University, SSN has grown into a network of over 1800 researchers in 47 states. SSN members organize themselves into local chapters across the United States, working to advance the use of research wherever policy decisions are made - from city halls to state legislatures to Washington.

To foster a nationwide culture where research regularly informs policy at every level, scholars must build strong, sustained relationships with policymakers, civic intermediaries, and journalists.

To do this, SSN:

  • Teaches public engagement best practices, with an emphasis on relationship building

  • Emphasizes the value of providing practical support to policy actors

  • Organizes scholars into chapters, cohorts, and issue-specific working groups

  • Helps scholars translate academic jargon into clear and compelling language for the media

Our People

Our national staffers and steering committee support SSN members, chapters, and cohorts and working groups. Meet them below.


Our Funders

We want to thank our institutional funders for their continued support of our work.

Logos of SSN funders

Get Involved


Learn about the benefits of joining SSN. Our two-step membership process is free and offers hands-on support for scholars interested in deepening their public engagement skills.


SSN chapters build communities where research informs policy by connecting local researchers with key policy players in their area. Find a chapter near you and meet the chapter leaders.


SSN offers trainings to our chapters and other academic networks, developed and hosted by our expert staff. Our workshops teach concrete skills for engaging in the public policy process and the media.

Your donation supports:

Amplifying diverse voices in the news
Reducing incarceration in Missouri
Affordable prescription drugs in Colorado
Local news outlets
Housing for California's homeless
Education access for parents in Maine
The No Jargon podcast
Local experts for The Advocate in New Orleans
Training the next generation of public scholars
Paid family and medical leave in Hawaii
Medicaid expansion in New Mexico
Healthcare expansion in Tennessee
Election reform in Missouri
A raise for working families in Massachusetts
School legislation in Wisconsin