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Centers, Institutes & Initiatives

Innovative and Multidisciplinary

The Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service is home to research and policy centers, institutes and initiatives that focus on strengthening public policy and public service nationally and around the world.

About the Centers

  • Financial Access Initiative

    Housed at NYU's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, the Financial Access Initiative is a consortium of leading development economists focused on substantially expanding access to quality financial services for low-income individuals.

  • The Furman Center for Real Estate & Urban Policy

    The Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, the only joint research center of the NYU School of Law and NYU's Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service, is the leading academic research center in New York City devoted to the public policy aspects of land use, real estate development, and housing.

  • Research Center for Leadership in Action

    The Research Center for Leadership in Action builds knowledge and capacity for leadership to transform society. RCLA partners with public service leaders of all kinds, organizations of all sizes, scholars and funders to translate ideas into action. Together with its partners, RCLA generates breakthroughs in both scholarship and practice.

  • Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management

    The Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management works with public, private, and non-profit partners in supporting innovative research, convening thinkers and policy-makers from around the region and the world, and training students and leaders in the field.

  • The Institute for Education and Social Policy

    The Institute for Education and Social Policy (IESP) conducts non-partisan scientific research about U.S. education and related social policy issues to help inform educational institutions and policymakers about the effectiveness of instructional programs, the impact of school reform initiatives and the relationships between academic achievement, school finance and socio-economic and demographic factors such as poverty, ethnicity and immigration status.

  • John Brademas Center for the Study of Congress


    The mission of the John Brademas Center for the Study of Congress is to increase the understanding of Congress-"the People's Branch" of government-its role in making policy; its powers, processes and responsibilities. As a part of NYU's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, the Brademas Center strives to help the next generation of public service leaders develop a deeper understanding of how and why Congress makes decisions.

  • Berman Jewish Policy Archive

    The Berman Jewish Policy Archive (BJPA) at NYU's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service offers a vast collection of policy-relevant research and analysis on Jewish life to the public, free of charge. This searchable archive spans from the early 20th century into the 21st, and is bridging into the future with continually updated print and Web-based sources.

  • Center for Global Public Service and Social Impact

    The NYUAD Center for Global Public Service and Social Impact's mission is to advance international understanding and effective practice for strengthening the global public service as a driver of social impact in a constantly changing international environment. It is designed to support the entrepreneurial, effective and efficient production of public value by governments, nongovernmental organizations and private social ventures, by working through networks of scholars, opinion leaders and senior executives across the world.

  • NYU Wagner Innovation Labs

    The Wagner Innovation Labs are a series of experiments that marry theory and practice to promote informed, evidence-based policy decision-making in a complex world. Each Lab has its own focus and approach, and operates independently, but all reflect NYU Wagner's broad commitment to bringing policy's scholars, thinkers and practitioners together, both figuratively and literally, to improve the way policy is made.

Research from the Centers

Changes at Research Center for Leadership in Action

Changes at Research Center for Leadership in Action

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Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We write to share some bittersweet news. After 11 successful years of building knowledge and capacity for diverse leadership across all sectors, RCLA will cease to operate in its current form as of August, 2014. We will engage in a yearlong process to consolidate the Center’s legacy and identify alternative platforms by which our important work can continue in new outlets and varied forms.

We take joy in our accomplishments and are thankful that the circumstances have aligned for completing RCLA’s present life cycle in a positive and responsible manner. We also celebrate the depth of the knowledge and capacity generated over the past decade to support leadership through collaboration and coproduction with our partners. At the heart of our work is the notion of leadership as a collective achievement rather than an individual characteristic. While that idea was still nascent when we began our work, it is now widely championed.

We take pride in these achievements: helping to change the conversation about leadership through articles, book chapters and practitioner documents based on our research; working with leaders of color and members of other marginalized communities to draw from their leadership experience and elevate their contributions to theory building and effective practice; convening hundreds of diverse leaders and scholars in programs where they learned from each other, built strong networks, and developed strategies to accelerate social change; and developing novel research designs and pedagogical tools that highlight the power of practice-based knowledge and collaboration. All these contributed to building leadership that makes democracy work.

We are in the process of transferring RCLA administrative functions to the Wagner School and relocating current programs and their funding to Wagner or NYU’s Leadership Initiative. We will take the next year to codify our learning, identify effective dissemination strategies, and explore alternative ways to realize RCLA’s vision.

In the coming months, we hope to engage you in helping us ensure that RCLA’s legacy continues to have impact. We will be sending out additional information as the process unfolds. Thank you for your continued support over the years -- our success would not have been possible without it.

With warm appreciation,

The RCLA Leadership Team,

Sonia M. Ospina and Erica Gabrielle Foldy, Faculty Co-Directors
Rachel Pfeffer, Interim Executive Director
Amparo Hofmann-Pinilla, Deputy Director

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