Foundation and University Engagement

Bridging the Gap brings together different actors with the goal of promoting the value of and support for policy-relevant research by scholars. Bridging the Gap encourages the leadership of both foundations and universities to take concrete steps towards increased engagement with one another, including partnering in the development of research agendas and guidelines for assessing the impact of scholars’ policy contributions.

Bridging the Gap’s Summit of University Provosts

Bridging the Gap convened a summit of 13 university provosts and representatives from foundations and the policy world on June 10, 2016. The objective of the summit was to identify areas where universities can better support public and policy engagement. This summary report outlines the discussion which examined “The University as a Driver of Impact” and “University Culture and Obstacles to Promoting Public and Policy Engagement” and identified “Next Steps”. Read the report.

Foundations and Universities: Promoting collaboration to Produce Policy-Relevant Research

On January 23, 2017, Bridging the Gap convened leaders from prominent foundations and universities to identify and advance avenues of cooperation across academic disciplines and policy areas. This workshop focused on how the missions of universities and foundations provide a strong basis for synergies and partnerships. In particular, Bridging the Gap identified a core area of common interest: engaged scholars are well-positioned to harness their issue area and methodological expertise across a wide range of policy areas to co-create research projects with significant public policy and/or social impact – projects that align with the priority missions of foundations. In doing so, university-based scholars continue to serve the core objectives of the academy to create and disseminate knowledge for the betterment of society while educating future generations. Read the report.

In a follow up article in The Chronicle of Higher EducationWhy Universities and Foundations Should Get Together Sooner, James Goldgeier, Bruce Jentleson, Jessica Trisko Darden and Steven Weber argue for a co-creative approach to collaboration between university-based researchers and foundations. In a co-creative process, researchers and funders are able to cooperate at much earlier stages in the research process, working together to identify emerging problems that are of significance to both. Foundations are able to fund projects, and researchers are able to deliver their findings on the basis of a jointly identified problem of significant societal value.