For the most part, past and current projects have dealt with social problems (e.g. crime, drug abuse, mental illness) and with broader social issues (e.g. approaches to dispute resolution, decision theory in social program evaluations). Many of these projects have led to direct social policy interventions.

These foci may change internally, and in no way limit the interests of faculty who make use of SSRI in the future. The institute's overall mission is the facilitation of social science research, both basic and applied, which has implications for social policy. This occurs in both the College of LAS and the various professional schools at USC. Examples of SSRI's research administration capacities and cross-disciplinary nature include:

  • Aiding newer faculty with research proposals, agency contacts, and the like.
  • Facilitating and housing "big ticket" research proposals or programs, those involving larger staffing patterns, several years of continuous funding, and/or direct cost amounts from several hundred thousand dollars to a million or more.
  • Facilitating new cross-disciplinary projects through the support of "working groups" of faculty from several disciplines. The most recent examples have been the working group on welfare reform, the working group on inner-city mental health research, the working group on violence, and the Steering Committee for Research on Sport and Society.
  • SSRI has hosted and will continue to host on behalf of interested faculties a number of visiting scholars and guest lecturers from the U.S. and abroad.
  • SSRI also serves as a convenient locus for state and federal officials from funding agencies to present their programs to interested faculty and students.

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