Public Impact Scholars

Public Impact Scholars is a program developed by the Initiative on Cities to equip BU faculty with new skills and knowledge to influence local and state policy and discourse for positive societal impact. Faculty have an opportunity to gain new perspective on state and local government, evidence-based policymaking, effective community-engaged research, and media engagement. The program also provides an opportunity to be part of a peer group of like-minded BU faculty from a variety of disciplines.

The program is open to any tenured, tenure-track or research faculty, as well as full-time lecturers at Boston University. Program instructors include faculty and senior staff drawn from across BU, as well as government and community leaders.

See our inaugural 2020 Public Impact Scholars cohort.

Applications for the current cohort have closed.
If you are interested in participating in a future cohort, please check this page during the 2020-21 academic year. Questions about the program can be directed to Katharine Lusk at

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the initial cohort’s training has been postponed until January 2021. It will address the following questions:

  • How is local government structured? What are its powers and limitations?
  • How do cities garner and allocate their financial resources?
  • What are the best mechanisms by which researchers can influence the policy-making process?
  • What are the most effective methods of community-engaged research? What are some common challenges and how best can researchers address them?
  • How do academics build a public profile and engage media for impact?

Additional activities may be developed in consultation with participating faculty.