The Tobin Project is a catalyst for transformative research in the social sciences. The mission of the Tobin Project is to mobilize, motivate, and support a community of scholars across the social sciences and allied fields seeking to deepen our understanding of significant challenges facing the nation over the long term. Toward this end, the Tobin Project aims to identify and pursue questions that, if addressed with rigorous scholarly research, could have the greatest potential to benefit society and to unlock doors within the academy to new and vital lines of inquiry.

The Tobin Project’s efforts are based on a belief that expert scholarship on major, real-world problems can make a profound difference over the long term. Indeed, many of the nation’s most important policy innovations, from social insurance to civil rights, were built on intellectual foundations arising out of inspired academic research. In recent decades, however, the academy has not always been as effective in marshaling its resources, with research sometimes more focused on filling gaps in the literature than on addressing major problems in the world. Though universities play a vital role in facilitating rigorous academic research, growing evidence suggests that external catalysts are needed to drive interdisciplinary research on the most pressing real-world problems. The Tobin Project is pioneering exactly this role.