Institute for Social Science Research
The main research hub of the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences
The Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR) promotes excellence in social science research across UMass Amherst and beyond. ISSR supports the methods and training needs of faculty and their graduate students, provides information and support on grant opportunities, and facilitates social scientists' interdisciplinary collaboration (including collaborations with natural scientists and engineers).
Strengthening Research Skills and Resources
One of the goals of ISSR is to strengthen the research skills of social scientists across UMass Amherst. ISSR provides a number of methodology trainings including workshops and courses throughout the year. These trainings, many of which are available online, help faculty and graduate students gain the skills they need to be better researchers.
ISSR also offers methodology consulting services and short workshops on quantitative and qualitative methods. These services are free for students, faculty, and other members of the UMass Amherst research community. Private, fee-based consultations are available to nonprofit organizations and research-intensive companies. These services can be written into faculty grant proposals and are particularly appropriate for enhancing faculty grants.
Securing Research Funding
Social scientists at UMass Amherst have raised millions of dollars in research funding across disciplinary boundaries, creating new and innovative knowledge and research centers in the process. ISSR helps researchers identify funding opportunities through our database and through grants supported by the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences and the University.
The Funding Fridays series provides free grant-writing workshops, write-shops, and resources for researchers working on funding projects. Additionally, the ISSR Scholars Program supports social science faculty from across the University via a seminar and mentorship program. Since 2012, ISSR Scholars have earned nearly $38 million in external grant funding as PIs and Co-PIs.
Fostering Interdisciplinary Collaboration
Social science spans the human experience and thrives through interdisciplinary collaboration. ISSR seminars, workshops, and methodology services build a robust community for debate and mutual learning on new frontiers in research and spark innovation across disciplinary boundaries.
Collaborations go beyond the social scientists at UMass Amherst. The Social Sciences, Humanities & Environmental Network (SSHEN) is an interdisciplinary community of researchers from across the Five Colleges that focuses on the intersection of these important topics. SSHEN is particularly interested in building awareness around the role that social sciences and the humanities play in understanding environmental conditions, resolving environmental challenges, and relationships between people and the environment.
Promoting Research Visibility and Engagement
ISSR works to promote visibility for social science research through seminars, public forums, workshops, and online platforms. Through collaborations with the Public Engagement Project (PEP), ISSR helps scholars build the skills and confidence they need to promote their work to broader audiences. Together, ISSR and PEP have helped to fuel the University's rising profile as a source for rigorous and relevant knowledge in important public and policy debates.
The Racial Justice Education Project, a project established by ISSR, helps to provide information to the public on social science research surrounding public debates and discussions about race.
ISSR is a member of the Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA). This organization is an advocate for the social science research community, educating policy makers on the need for federal funding for research in the social and behavioral sciences.