George Perkins Marsh Institute

Mosakowski Institute for Public Enterprise

The Mosakowski Institute for Public Enterprise is the product of a generous gift of Clark alums William '76 and Jane '75 Mosakowski. The Institute brings together the personal and professional interest of the Mosakowskis in enhancing the effectiveness of governments and other institutions with the commitment of Clark University to draw upon the strength of its academic programs to make a difference in the communities of which it is a part in the United States and around the world.

What is use-inspired research?

Use-inspired research is research that seeks both to generate or create new knowledge and to maximize the utility of such knowledge for actual users and practitioners beyond the walls of the academy.

Over the last few decades there has been increasing interest in a new approach to research along these lines, and several fields have coined a variety of terms that refer to this kind of work. The sciences and psychology have primarily drawn on the term translational research, political scientists and economics have used policy relevant research, and education researchers and others have referred to useable knowledge. What holds them together is a paradigm shift away from a rigid distinction between basic and applied work. An excellent source for a deeper understanding of use-inspired research is Donald E. Stokes' seminal book Pasteur's Quadrant: Basic Science and Technological Innovation (1997; Brookings Institution Press). Stokes places the issue of use-inspired research in historical and political context while examining the evolving relationship of universities, governments, and other institutions to scientific research.

What is distinctive about the Institute?

The Mosakowski Institute for Public Enterprise exemplifies an emerging model of use-inspired research by carrying out and mobilizing cutting-edge university research to address important social concerns. The Institute is focused on 'the public enterprise'—governments and other organizations in service to society—and at the same time seeks to be 'enterprising' in identifying and implementing new approaches to improving the effectiveness of public policies and programs. The Institute promotes an exemplary model of use-inspired research. The model of research has five components:

  • Integration of knowledge about the structural dynamics of the institutions and organizations through which laws, policies and programs are implemented;
  • Innovative methodologies and rigorous research designs necessary for studying complex problems of contemporary life, including an emphasis on multi-disciplinary approaches;
  • Research conducted in actual context, often in partnership with practitioners, with a focus on such outcomes as improvements in educational performance and a safer, more sustainable environment;
  • Explicit consideration of the key factors supporting or impeding successful implementation of laws, policies and programs;
  • Timely and effective communication of results to promote widespread adoption of practices based on research conclusions.