This April, the Fels Policy Research Initiative welcomed researchers from across Penn and Philadelphia to engage in a half-day conference discussing Penn’s policy-relevant research. The second annual Breakthroughs Conference boasted panelists from four Penn schools, City of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Water Department, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, and more.
Funded by the School of Arts and Sciences, Fels Policy Research Initiative’s mission is to increase the visibility and impact of policy research at Penn. Fels PRI supports faculty research, working groups, and conferences with the goal of extending the reach of faculty research and connecting Penn faculty with leaders in the public and private sector.
At the Breakthroughs Conference this year, we heard about how local level research is benefiting Philadelphia. “The Fels Policy Research Initiative didn’t start out focused on local research but when we did our annual call for research proposals, we found many of the responses we received were requests to support local research and cross-sector working groups”, said Diana Lind, Fels PRI Managing Director.
The conference also covered the value of research partnerships from the perspective of the city. Michael DiBerardinis, Managing Director for the City of Philadelphia, joined the conference for some remarks about the importance of research and data in public sector leadership and how that research helps achieve ambitious policy objectives.
The conference concluded with a compelling keynote from Eric Klinenberg, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University. Eric Klinenberg exemplifies the connection between public policy and academia that Fels PRI aspires to foster at Penn. His keynote discussed social infrastructure, climate change and cities, and examined how overlapping environmental and human-made vulnerabilities leave cities and regions at risk.
Did you miss the event? You can watch the recording here.
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