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The Bridging the Gap Project

- June 10, 2013

This week we will be featuring posts from the organizers of the Bridging the Gap Project, Brent Durbin, James Goldgeier, and Bruce Jentleson.  The mission of this project is quite close to our own, and we’re pleased to feature them.  In this post, Brent Durbin provides an overview the project.


For the past several years, we at the Bridging the Gap Project have been trying to help scholars of international affairs and comparative politics promote their work beyond academia and build relationships with the broader foreign policy community. Our name comes from the eponymous book by Alexander George, who encouraged his students and colleagues to pursue research that was methodologically rigorous but also relevant to real-world policy problems. Alex saw such knowledge as “critical to the development and choice of sound policies,” and we agree. The experience and interaction also flow back to our core roles as professors, providing insights for our research and enhancing our teaching.

This week, we will convene the third annual International Policy Summer Institute (IPSI) at American University’s School of International Service. Designed as an intimate, hands-on workshop that includes intensive media training, IPSI has garnered scores of qualified applications for its 12-15 slots each year. Participants include professors of all ranks from top political science programs. IPSI brings these scholars together with practitioners, editors, media experts, think tankers, and others who can help them understand how to make their research more influential in foreign policy. (For graduate students out there, we also run our annual New Era Foreign Policy Conference.)

This year we’ll be blogging during the IPSI program. (Previous participants have written about IPSI here and here.) After each day of the institute, through June 13, a member of the Bridging the Gap team will write up key lessons from these meetings here on the Monkey Cage. These posts will address the three main themes of IPSI:

  • How to make research more policy relevant and accessible;
  • How to have a broader policy impact from within the academy, aside from research;
  • How to get involved in policy work, whether short-term or for good.

If these topics interest you, check back later this week for more. (While our focus is on international affairs research and U.S. foreign policy, we hope readers in other fields will find the discussion useful.) Of course, we invite you to add your experiences, suggestions, caveats, and critiques along the way.

We are grateful to The Monkey Cage for sharing its space (doubly so to John and Henry, who will also speak at IPSI on Tuesday), and to the Carnegie Corporation of New York for sponsoring our ongoing efforts to strengthen relations between scholars and the broader foreign policy community.