Research Centers

Luskin Center for Innovation

The mission of the Luskin Center for Innovation is to solve environmental challenges through collaborative, actionable research for California’s communities, our nation and world. The Center translates rigorous research and expertise into real-world environmental policy solutions. Faculty and staff from a variety of academic disciplines pursue research on climate, energy, transportation, urban greening, and water, with a cross-cutting theme of environmental equity.

Faculty Director: Megan Mullin
Co-Executive Director: Colleen Callahan

The Ralph and Goldy Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies
The Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies was established in 1988 to promote the study, understanding and solution of regional policy issues, with special reference to Southern California, including problems of the environment, urban design, housing, community and neighborhood dynamics, transportation and economic development. The center’s interdisciplinary activities involve faculty members and graduate students from many schools and departments at UCLA. It also fosters links with researchers at other California universities and research institutes on issues of relevance to regional  policy.

Director: Evelyn Blumenberg

UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy
The UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy advances radical democracy in an unequal world through research, critical thought, and alliances with social movements and racial justice activism. We analyze and transform the divides and dispossessions of our times, in the university and in our cities, across global South and global North.

Director: Ananya Roy

Institute of Transportation Studies
UCLA’s Institute of Transportation Studies is one of the leading transportation policy research centers in the U.S. The ITS works closely with and is generously funded by two organizations: the UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies and the University of California Transportation Center  (UCTC). Each year dozens of ITS faculty,  students and research staff collaborate on a wide array of transportation policy and planning studies, ranging from an analysis of the travel trends and transportation needs of immigrants and low-income workers, to the testing and evaluation of innovative fare programs to increase public transit use.

Director: Brian D. Taylor

Center for Neighborhood Knowledge (CNK)

The mission of the Center for Neighborhood Knowledge (CNK) is to conduct basic and applied research on the socioeconomic formation and internal dynamics of neighborhoods, and how these collective spatial units are positioned and embedded in the Southern California region. The CNK emphasizes the study of diversity, differences and disparities among neighborhoods, and explicitly covers immigrant enclaves and minority communities. CNK examines neighborhoods through multi-disciplinary lenses and through collaboration with community partners. Equally important, CNK is dedicated to translating its finding into actionable neighborhood-related policies and programs and to contributing to positive social change. Email:

Director: Paul Ong

Latin American Cities Initiative

The mission of the UCLA Luskin Latin American Cities Initiative is to develop and deepen knowledge networks among students, educators and professionals in the arena of urban planning and policy in South, Central and North America. Known as Ciudades, the initiative sponsors teaching and public events at UCLA and Casa de California in Mexico City; coordinates academic and professional networks to enhance the knowledge base in urban planning and policy; and supports individual student research and internships.

 Director: Paavo Monkkonen

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UCLA Agile Visual Analytics Lab

The UCLA Agile Visual Analytics Lab (AVAL) empowers national, state, and local stakeholders to use data to make more timely and sound decisions impacting children, families, communities, and the workforces that serve them. The lab accomplishes that mission by 1) putting vital information into the hands of stakeholders in the form of data visualizations that efficiently and effectively meet their diverse and dynamic information needs, 2) implementing utilization-focused and developmental evaluation of programs and policies of mission-driven organizations and systems, 3) building the capacity of systems and organizations to grow, use, and sustain data ecosystems.

Faculty Co-Founder: Todd Franke
Co-Founder and Director: Robert Blagg


The UCLA Hub for Health Intervention, Policy and Practice

The UCLA Hub for Health Intervention, Policy and Practice connects the academy, community and policymakers to address health disparities among diverse communities in Los Angeles and beyond. The Hub engages community members in impactful, theory-driven and sustainable research that informs high-level policy and street-level social justice health outcomes. UCLA HHIPP’s work situates health policy within a social welfare and social justice framework. We espouse a broad definition of health and wellness with special consideration given to adverse social conditions, stigma, discrimination, poverty, racism and homophobia.

Director: Ian Holloway


The Gay Sexuality and Social Policy Initiative

The Gay Sexuality and Social Policy Initiative at UCLA Luskin is an academic center dedicated to understanding the complexities of gay male sexuality and empowering global gay communities through research, policy analysis and community mobilization. The initiative’s research centers on gay men’s unique experiences related to sex to increase the effectiveness of ongoing efforts to improve quality of life for gay men around the world. 

Director: Ian Holloway

Center for Policy Research on Aging

Established in 1997, the Center for Policy Research on Aging studies the major policy issues affecting our aging society including Social Security, Medicare, long-term care and the societal implications that accompany the aging of the baby boom generation and its parents. In recognition of the growing diversity of the elderly population, CPRA focuses special attention on policy issues as they affect Latino, African-American, Asian and other ethnic populations. As a national, state and local resource center on aging policy, CPRA conducts research, fosters multidisciplinary collaboration among UCLA faculty, and works closely with policymakers, service providers and community groups in meeting the challenges of an aging society.

Director: Fernando Torres-Gil

Latino Policy and Politics Institute

The UCLA Latino Policy & Politics Institute addresses the most critical domestic policy challenges facing Latinos and other communities of color through research, advocacy, mobilization and leadership development to propel policy reforms that expand genuine opportunity for all Americans. UCLA LPPI is built around a belief that there is no American agenda without a Latino agenda, envisioning policymaking that centers on the needs of Latinos and communities of color to operationalize dignity and opportunity.

Faculty Director: Matt Barreto
Executive Director: Sonja Diaz

Los Angeles Education Research Institute

The Los Angeles Education Research Institute (LAERI) advances educational equity and improvement in Los Angeles by bringing researchers and practitioners together to address important educational challenges. We cultivate and maintain a shared research and partnership infrastructure that facilitates new empirical projects and builds connections among academics, practitioners and policymakers. Our research-to-practice model emphasizes the importance of locally developed research questions; sustained collaboration and communication; and cumulative projects that build toward solutions.

Co-Founder and Faculty Director: Meredith Phillips

Berggruen Governance Index

The Berggruen Governance Index evaluates countries on the basis of their quality of political governance. To do this, the Index disaggregates governance into three key components: Quality of Democracy (Inputs), Quality of Government (Throughputs) and Quality of Life (Outputs). By disaggregating the capacities of governance, the Index attempts to deepen understanding of the relationship between the democratic feedback, government competence and the provision of public goods.

Founder and Principal Investigator: Helmut K. Anheier

The Global Lab for Research in Action

The Global Lab for Research in Action pursues evidence-based solutions to critical health, education and economic challenges faced by children, adolescents and women around the world. We conduct research that informs people, programs and policy to make a tangible impact on the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable individuals. We act as an interdisciplinary hub for academics, practitioners and policymakers to foster research and integrate their efforts. We shine a spotlight on their findings, acting as a springboard to advocate for and inform effective programs and policies, internationally and domestically. We translate research into digestible forms to empower individuals to make informed personal choices.

Director: Manisha Shah


Faculty Leaders at UCLA and Elsewhere

Faculty members associated with the Luskin School of Public Affairs also hold leadership roles and engage in scholarly collaborations with faculty colleagues on a cross-disciplinary basis at centers, institutes and other academic entities based elsewhere at UCLA or in partnership with community organizations. The individual faculty profile pages on the UCLA Luskin website are periodically updated to reflect changing roles, but here is a list of such associations as of June 2022:


Dana Cuff: Founding director of cityLAB at UCLA

Neal Halfon: Director of the UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities

Susanna Hecht: Director of the Center for Brazilian Studies

Jody Heymann: Founding director of the WORLD Policy Analysis Center

Brian Keum: Director of the Health, Identities, Inequality and Technology Lab

Jorja Leap: Director of the Watts Leadership Institute

Susanne Lohmann: Director of the Jacob Marschak Interdisciplinary Colloquium on Mathematics in the Behavioral Sciences

Kelly Lytle Hernandez: Director and founder of the Million Dollar Hoods project

Aaron Panofsky: Director of the UCLA Institute of Society & Genetics

Edward A. (Ted) Parson: Faculty Co-Director, Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment

Michael Stoll: Director of the Black Policy Project at the UCLA Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies

Veronica Terriquez: Director of the Chicano Studies Research Center

Sherod Thaxton: Director of the Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy at the UCLA School of Law

Karen Umemoto: Director of the Asian American Studies Center

Abel Valenzuela: Director of the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment

John Villasenor: Faculty director of the UCLA Institute for Technology, Law and Policy

Zev Yaroslavsky: Director of the Los Angeles Initiative; member of the Board of Advisors for the UCLA Luskin Center for History and Policy


Helmut K. Anheier: Editor-in-Chief of Global Perspectives for University of California Press

Jim Newton: Editor-in-Chief of UCLA Blueprint magazine

Mark Peterson: Senior Fellow at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research

Carlos Santos: Associate Director of the Chicano Studies Research Center

Arturo Vargas Bustamante: Senior Fellow at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research

Steve Zipperstein: Distinguished Senior Fellow of the UCLA Center for Middle East Development

Affiliated Research Entities

California Policy Lab

The mission of the California Policy Lab is to partner with California’s state and local governments to generate scientific evidence that solves California’s most urgent problems, including homelessness, poverty, crime and education inequality. CPL facilitates close partnerships between policymakers and researchers at UCLA and UC Berkeley to help evaluate and improve public programs through empirical research and technical assistance. Projects at the California Policy Lab are guided by the problems that government partners wish to solve, with relevant empirical analysis that moves at the speed of policymaking.

Faculty Director: Till von Wachter

Center for Health Policy Research
The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research is one of the nation’s leading health policy research centers and the premier source of health policy information for California. Established in 1994, the Center improves the public’s health by advancing health policy through research, public service, community partnership and education. The Center is based in the School of Public Health and affiliated with UCLA Luskin.

Director: Ninez A. Ponce

UCLA Pritzker Center for Strengthening Children and Families

The Center serves as a collaborative hub for prevention and intervention efforts, working to strengthen families to prevent children from entering the child welfare system. It will also aim to build the capacity of foster parents, relative caregivers and adoptive families to promote stable and nurturing families, equitable opportunities and paths to educational success.

Co-Directors: Tyrone Howard, Audra Langley
Faculty Leader: Todd Franke

Southern California HIV/AIDS Policy Research Center

The Southern California HIV/AIDS Policy Research Center brings together the most relevant and timely evidence to bear on HIV/AIDS policymaking in order to further California’s efforts to develop and maintain efficient, cost-effective, and accessible programs and services to people with or at risk for HIV/AIDS.

Director: Ian Holloway

The Williams Institute
The Williams Institute advances sexual orientation law and public policy through rigorous, independent research and scholarship, and disseminates it to judges, legislators, policymakers, media and the public. A national think tank at UCLA Law, the Williams Institute produces high-quality research with real-world relevance.

Founding Executive Director: Brad Sears

Institute of the Environment and Sustainability
Through its local, national and international programs, the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability employs innovative, cross-disciplinary approaches to address critical environmental challenges — including those related to climate change, water quality, air pollution, biodiversity and sustainability — with the goal of achieving stable human coexistence with the natural systems on which society depends.

Director: Marilyn Raphael

The Blue Sky Health Initiative
Blue Sky Health is dedicated to transforming our health care system. Its network of researchers, business leaders and physicians envisions a system that seeks to keep Americans healthier, rather than treating them only when they are sick.

Program Manager: William Nicholas