Combining lessons from areas such as economics, business, medicine, public policy, social work, and sociology, the Social Policy Institute (SPI) at Washington University provides a systems-level understanding of policy problems and promotes systems-level solutions.

The Institute aims to build upon existing international collaborations and establish new partnerships, further enhancing Washington University’s reputation as a global research leader. SPI values the robust array of its partnerships—ranging from local St. Louis nonprofits, to national government agencies in the U.S. and abroad, to corporations that affect the daily lives of people in communities.

What is Social Policy?

Social policy focuses on translating the best ideas from across disciplines into sustainable solutions for real-world problems. The underlying aims of social policy work are to develop and promote public policy grounded in equity and addressing human needs across the life span to achieve an inclusive society that is socially, racially, and economically just.

Social policy research focuses on the various ways in which the world’s societies meet people’s needs for security, education, work, health, and wellbeing. By applying the lessons learned in research, social policy addresses global challenges that arise and evolve through social, political, economic, and environmental change.