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CASBS is an accelerator of ideas. It facilitates multi-year, interdisciplinary, intersectoral, and collaborative groups as they progress on significant societal problems. The combination of great researchers and thinkers in multiple meetings over time enhances the prospects for major breakthroughs. CASBS projects depend on external funding and generally last three to five years.

For more information, please contact CASBS program directors Federica Carugati ( and Betsy Rajala (

Cross-Cutting Themes

All of our projects touch on one or several overarching themes.

The Political and Social Life of Climate Change

Climate change is one of the most important long-term problems facing the world. Researchers have made considerable improvement in the technology used to address the causes and consequences of climate change. But in order to halt or reverse the effects of climate change, we must also address social and political processes that influence mitigation and adaptation..

Building Equitable Institutions

To function effectively, large-scale societies need robust institutions. By institutions, we refer broadly to the humanly devised rules that incentivize behavior. This includes political institutions, laws, and norms. Institutions affect distribution and coordination. We study how equitable institutions can be crafted to maximize societal and individual flourishing.

Effects of  Technology on Humans & Society

Automation, artificial intelligence, digitalization, and technological change all have consequences for humans and society.  They affect the transformation of job opportunities, the skills required for future work, the costs of healthcare, and education, urban development and infrastructure, social life, news, elections, and many other aspects of governance. We focus on the role that social scientists can play in mitigating the problematic consequences of technology, and ensuring that it serves societal well-being.

Rethinking the Social Sciences 

The social sciences focus on the intricacies of human motivation, behavior, and interaction. However, the current tools and standards for conducting this work do not adequately meet the demands of modern society and, thus, need rethinking. At issue are the standards for conducting field research, particularly with vulnerable populations; how social science research can help inform policy; and how to convey the value of social science research to those beyond the ivory tower.