About CSPI

The Center for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology (CSPI) supports and funds research on how ideology and government policy contribute to scientific, technological, and social progress.

Over the last few decades, scientific and technological progress have stagnated. Scientists conduct more research than ever before, but groundbreaking innovation is scarce. At the same time, identity politics and political polarization have reached new extremes, and social trends such as family stability and crime are worse than in previous decades and in some cases moving in the wrong direction. What explains these trends, and how can we reverse them?

Much of the blame lies with the institutions we rely on for administration, innovation, and leadership. Instead of forward-looking governments, we have short-sighted politicians and bloated bureaucracies. Instead of real experts with proven track records, we have so-called ‘experts’ who appeal to the authority of their credentials. Instead of political leaders willing to face facts and make tough tradeoffs, we have politicians who appeal to ignorance and defer responsibility.

To fix our institutions, we need to rethink them from the ground up. That is why CSPI supports and funds research into the administrative systems, organizational structures, and political ideologies of modern governance. Only by understanding what makes these systems so often dysfunctional can we change them for the better.

As a 501(c)3 non-profit, donations to CSPI are tax-deductible. If you would like to contribute to our mission, please e-mail us at contact@cspicenter.org.


Areas of Interest:

1. Progress

Scientific and technological progress has stalled. There is no lack of funding for research and development, but our current systems disincentivize genuine risk-taking and innovation.

At the same time, there are areas in which we know how to advance social goals, but ignore the relevant knowledge for political reasons. Social scientists understand a great deal about how to prevent crime and build affordable infrastructure, but politics often makes it difficult to do what is right.

CSPI supports research into the social, structural, and psychological factors obstructing progress. We are also interested in ideas and policies that can spur scientific and technological innovation.

2. The Great Awokening

In the last decade, white liberals in America have shifted far to the left on issues of race, gender, and sexuality. Ideas once seen as radical, like defunding the police and gender being on a spectrum, are embraced by more people than ever before.

Social scientists know little about the social and psychological factors underlying this “Great Awokening.” Is wokeness a status competition among elites? An extension of WEIRD (Western, educated, industrial, rich, democratic) morality? Or something new altogether?

CSPI is interested in funding scholars studying woke attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. We are also interested in work examining the impact of woke policies and practices on organizational culture and performance.

3. Safetyism

The sacralization of physical and emotional safety is a worrying trend. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw the inability of public health officials to consider the tradeoffs between physical safety and personal freedom.

Progress in science and technology is impossible without physical risk. Progress in ethics and politics is impossible without emotional risk. Yet, society and government seem to be becoming more risk-averse.

CSPI welcomes work investigating the origins, nature, and effects of safetyism. We are also interested in policies and practices that reduce risk aversion or encourage better cost-benefit analysis.

4. Scientism

CSPI believes in the importance of science. However, we think much of what is considered science is better understood as scientism: the use of scientific language and concepts without much actual rigor or objectivity.

Today we are constantly told to “trust the science” and “listen to the experts.” Thus, it has never been more important to point out bad science when we see it and question the nature of scientific authority. Our scholars have criticized questionable research practices and political bias in fields such as international relations, epidemiology, and psychology.

CSPI welcomes work that challenges bad scientific practices, debunks established findings, or explains modern reverence for scientific authority and expertise in political matters.

5. Bureaucratization and the Politicization of Institutions

Public institutions used to pride themselves on being politically neutral, but this is no longer the case. Institutions such as schools, universities, and public health bureaucracies now take public stances on polarizing issues and let political ideology undermine their functioning.

Private companies are being politicized too. Media, tech, and big business actively signal their political affiliations and incorporate them into their products and marketing.

We believe that government policy along with ever-growing bureaucracy are responsible for much of the failure of institutions we see. CSPI is interested in understanding such phenomena and their potential policy implications.


Our Team:

Richard Hanania – President, Board Member

Richard Hanania is a Fellow at the Salem Center for Public Policy at the University of Texas, and a former Research Fellow at the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University. He holds a JD from the University of Chicago Law School and a PhD in Political Science from UCLA. According to Tyler Cowen, “of all the ‘new thinkers’ on the Right, he is the one who most combines extreme smarts and first-rate work ethic, with non-conformism thrown in to boot.” His research interests include the relationship between wokeness and civil rights law, psychological differences between liberals and conservatives, and how to improve public discourse and policymaking by holding experts accountable through prediction markets. He has written in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.

Eric Kaufmann – Research Fellow, Board Member

Eric Kaufmann is Professor of Politics at Birkbeck College, University of London, an Adjunct Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and a Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange. He researches political demography, the sociological roots of wokeness, and academic freedom. He is the author of four books, including Whiteshift: Immigration, Populism and the Future of White Majorities. He has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and National Review, and is a frequent contributor to City Journal and UnHerd.

George Hawley – Research Fellow, Board Member

George Hawley is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Alabama. His research examines American public opinion, religious and political behavior, and the conservative movement. He is the author of six books and has written for venues such as The Washington Post, The New York Times, Foreign Affairs, and The New York Daily News.

Philippe Lemoine – Research Fellow

Philippe Lemoine is a PhD candidate in philosophy at Cornell University and a lecturer in epidemiology at Sciences Po. He specializes in the philosophy of science but has been writing on a wide range of issues over the years, such as police violence, feminism, immigration, medicine, and COVID-19. His work has been featured in various publications such as New York Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and National Review, and is frequently discussed on prominent science blogs like Marginal Revolution, Astral Codex Ten, and Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science.

Jonah Davids – Director of Communications

Jonah Davids produces the CSPI Podcast and has helped develop the organization. His interests include political communication and mental health policy.


Apply for Research Grants

Our grants are usually in the range of $2,000 to $15,000, and are considered on a rolling basis. In order to apply for a grant, please send a letter of inquiry to contact@cspicenter.org. If approval is given at the initial stage, we will ask for one PDF file (this can be done for free at combinepdf.com) that has the following.

1) The CV(s) of the individual(s) applying for the grant, which should include their current affiliations.

2) A 250-word maximum abstract describing the project.

3) An up to 2,000-word grant application that explains the project and why it fits with the research supported by CSPI. Please include references to previous research that you will be addressing and discuss how your project contributes to the academic field or public discourse.

4) Any supplementary materials, including pre-registration materials and charts or graphs showing work that has already been done.

5) A budget.

Special preference will be given to projects at a more advanced stage, and, when appropriate for the research design, those that have been pre-registered already. Our grants are mainly meant to cover the costs of research, although a stipend may be provided for individuals that do not have other sources of funding.

Apply for a Fellowship

For particularly strong candidates, we are willing to support early-career scholars who share interests that are similar to those of CSPI, and who have a commitment to publicizing their research through the media. Those who would like to be considered for a fellowship should e-mail contact@cspicenter.org to inquire about the process.