Policy Support for Newly Electeds

Even at times of great political uncertainty, the Scholars Strategy Network believes that uplifting expert voices and supporting evidence-based policymaking are key to protecting and strengthening our democracy. We know that no matter what happens after election night, newly elected and re-elected policymakers must begin to pivot from campaigning to addressing the policy agendas they ran on. For those who have secured re-election, it is a time to consider which unfinished priorities to revive; for first-time officeholders, it is time to turn their campaign themes into an agenda and assemble both their formal staff and informal “kitchen cabinet” of advisors. For the success of both new and returning policymakers - and for the successful implementation of policies that truly improve people’s lives - it’s critical that researchers be among that trusted inner circle that elected officials rely on for advice.

Project Details

The Scholars Strategy Network would like to support our members as they build productive relationships with newly elected officials. Scholars whose proposals are selected based on the criteria outlined below will be awarded:

  • a $750 honorarium
  • editing support from SSN
  • treatment by a graphic designer to create a dynamic one-page document focused on capturing policymakers’ attention
  • assistance in carrying out tailored outreach plans for leveling up their connection to a targeted policymaker.

Participants will attend a short virtual group training where SSN national staff will share tips and best practices for effective outreach. Up to twelve projects will be supported.

To Apply:

Email Lizzy Ghedi-Ehrlich ([email protected]) a less-than 500-word statement that briefly details what your research findings are and why a specific policymaker or group of policymakers need access to your expertise, along with the name of at least one policymaker who you would like to target with outreach. Priority will be given to applicants who:

  • Have existing relationships with policymakers - but please don’t refrain from applying if you don’t! We always want to support our members in creating new relationships too. 
  • Illustrate the positive impact a given policy could have on a community if their research findings informed its design.
  • Offer tactical research (evidence supporting or refuting an issue on which a policymaker has already taken a position.)
  • Address a policy issue championed by a local, state, or national office candidate of whom they are a constituent, or at least share a state.

If you are selected, you will then have 10 days to:

  1. Draft an SSN brief, drawing from your (sole or co-authored) research, of under 1000 words. Remember that briefs can cite the source research in their footers, but supporting research should be included as hyperlinks within the text and not as footnotes or endnotes.
  2. Submit the draft along with 1 to 3 “key Q&As”: short (fragments are fine!) questions with simply stated answers that a policymaker who reads your piece should absolutely remember.
  3. You may also submit a few ideas for what you think would make a persuasive or memorable statistic/chart/image. Note that you do not have to include this information in the draft of the brief itself.

Assistance and examples that illustrate all of the above will be provided once participants are selected. Proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis until we have exhausted the available funding.

Existing SSN Resources to Assist Applicants

  • Building Relationships with Newly Elected Policymakers (Dropbox: PDF & Doc)
  • How to Solicit & Reply to Policy Questions (Dropbox: PDF & Doc)