State of Rhode Island, Brown University to create a data-driven policymaking and research center.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — After three years of designing evidence-based policies to support efforts of the State of Rhode Island to better serve families, the Rhode Island Innovative Policy Lab (RIIPL), located at Brown University, will be transformed into a permanent University research center under new leadership and governance.

RIIPL was founded as a partnership between Brown researchers and the State of Rhode Island in 2015 by Justine Hastings, professor of economics and international and public affairs at Brown.

Projects undertaken by RIIPL include using big data and data science to find new solutions to lower emergency health care costs, curb the opioid crisis, improve worker training programs, create tools to connect dislocated workers to benefits, and help Rhode Island children reach proficiency in reading and math tests. RIIPL is also conducting research in partnership with the state on early childhood and disability programs, helping families become more food secure, optimizing energy policy for low-income families, and closing the college achievement gap.

Based on the success of this work, Brown’s senior administration and the State of Rhode Island have begun discussions to create a permanent center that will be formally part of Brown. This center will build upon efforts to support data-driven policymaking on important issues facing the state and its residents. It will engage the breadth and depth of expertise among Brown’s faculty and will operate under new leadership and a new governance model.

“Brown is committed to undertaking research that can address critical and persistent issues facing Rhode Island,” Brown Provost Richard M. Locke said. “We look forward to strengthening our collaboration with the state, and to conducting data-driven research that informs effective public policy development and implementation.”

A planning committee with representatives from Brown and the State of Rhode Island will convene in mid-April 2018 to begin a strategic planning process that outlines the scope, mission and new governing structure for the center.