Research with a public purpose

Complex problems require complex solutions. 

Our experts collaborate across disciplines to ensure that holistic approaches address deep rooted social inequalities that affect every aspect of human and natural worlds. 

Learn more about our faculty

Food justice

Rachel Bezner Kerr

Rachel Bezner Kerr's collaborative research program advocates for localized food justice in New York and around the world. She has united communities across Malawi and Tanzania, culminating to a 10,000 member nonprofit, numerous farmer-led training programs and internationally acclaimed expertise in agroecology. 

Parfait Eloundou-Enyegue

As a global expert on demographics, sociology and development, Parfait Eloundou-Enyegue advises the United Nations and national governments on the relationship between demographics, inequality and development. He is the co-founder of PICHNET, which seeks to transform Africa's largest generation through youth capacity development, research and policy communication in Cameroon. 

Environmental Sociology

Jack Zinda

As an environmental sociologist and professor of global development, Jack Zinda analyzes global challenges surrounding relationships between human groups and environments. Zinda makes in-depth explorations of locales across the globe, from rural communities in China to metropolitan areas straddling the Hudson River in New York State. 

Political ecology

Jenny Goldstein

As a political ecologist, Jenny Goldstein studies the intersection of power dynamics, the environment, and the meaning of place and space. Her research has taken her across Southeast Asia, Africa and the United States to study the role that environmental conservation and development play in terms of governance, data, human health and ecological change. 

Three women hug and smile in a field
Parfait Eloundou-Enyegue headshot
Jack Zinda headshot
Head shot of Jenny E. Goldstein

Polson Institute for Global Development

Research Program Highlights

Our faculty take their knowledge and experience to the field, connecting with stakeholders to build resilient, inclusive communities and tackle real-world problems

Tom Hirschl demonstrating his poverty calculator to other team members
Map of New York State

Student Research Spotlight

Under the mentorship of Rebecca Nelson, Eli Newell '24's work revolves around a growing field of research: circular bionutrient economy. With research partners from New York to Kenya, this work seeks to recycle nutrients from human and agricultural waste into fertilizer, which ultimately reduces pollution, improves sanitation, and promotes food security.