UAlbany Among Best Universities for Social Research

Jona Hoxha, and Alejandro Castro-Reina, with UAlbany Professor Victor Asal review a chart on a computer indoors.
Jona Hoxha, '17, and Alejandro Castro-Reina, '16, with Professor Victor Asal.

By Michael Parker

ALBANY, N.Y. (Feb. 17, 2022) –  The University at Albany has been recognized as among the best universities for Social Research according to the Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) Survey released by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

As reported by Forbes, the survey tracks dollars spent annually on research and development at American colleges and universities. Among research on political science and government, UAlbany was found to have conducted $12.4 million in research and development for the fiscal year 2020, putting it among the Top-10 for the field, which also includes Harvard University, Georgetown University, the University of Michigan and the Univiersity of California-Berkeley.

“The University at Albany has always been in the forefront of social research in fields such a health equity, the impact of climate on vulnerable populations, sanctions, terrorism or social movements,” said UAlbany Vice President for Research and Economic Development Thenkurssi Kesavadas. “We are proud to note that we are being recognized nationally for it. Our faculty and researchers are committed continuing this effort in the future.”

The survey provides data collected from 915 universities and colleges that grant bachelor’s degrees or higher and spent at least $150,000 in R&D in the prior fiscal year. It summarizes the federal, state, and other funds an institution spends on all research activities.

Among the research projects sprearheaded by UAlbany researchers in the fields of political science and government are:

  • The Project on Violent Conflict, led by Professor of Political Science Victor Asal. The project examines terrorism and violent extremist organizations.

  • The Project on International Security, Commerce, and Economic Statecraft (PISCES), led by Associate Dean for Research and Associate Professor of Political Science Bryan Early, which conducts international outreach to prevent the proliferation of weapons and related goods and technologies. That work has been funded by the U.S. State Department.

  • The Center for Technology in Government (CTG UAlbany) led by Associate Professor of Public Administration and Policy J. Ramon Gil-Garcia. Among the Center’s social-science driven research endeavors is a new $2.8 million project to develop a message design dashboard to help emergency managers write effective messages for public alert and warning. The project, led by Associate professor of the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity Jeannette Sutton, is funded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

  • The Center for Social and Demographic Analysis, led by Associate Professor of Sociology Samantha Friedman, supports interdisciplinary population dynamics and population health research, with a special focus on the analysis of spatial inequalities (in particular, urban and regional development and its impact on residents) and the concerns of vulnerable populations (as defined by race and ethnicity, age, social class, and nativity).

Additional research is being conducted on such topics as automation and inequality, urban policy and politics, the opioid epidemic, social mobilization and civil society and justice sector reforms.

UAlbany’s School of Criminal Justice, Department of Sociology, School of Public Health, College of Emergency Preparedeness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity and the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy all feature faculty members involved in social research involving politics and government.