The Institute selects and develops topics for consideration and discussion in an effort to bring together academics, social researchers, and organizational leaders around issues of public concern. To further these investigations, the Institute forms working groups, which include organizational representatives, graduate students, faculty, and IPK Visiting Scholars from various organizations and academic institutions who share interest in IPK's topics and concerns.
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The Institute for Public Knowledge serves as a hosting institution for Visiting Scholars from other universities and organizations. Visiting Scholars pursue their own research while in residence at IPK and have secured external funding to support their time in New York City. No direct support is given by IPK to Visiting Scholars, although they have access to many NYU research resources and opportunities for collaborative work and invitations to participate in Institute activities.
IPK will at times issue calls for applications for Visiting Scholars around specific subject areas over the Institute's email list. The IPK collects unsolicited applications for Visiting Scholars year round, and reviews them twice a year, in October (for appointments beginning in the Spring or Summer) and in April (for appointments beginning in the Fall or Winter).
The Institute for Public Knowledge (IPK) was established in 2007 by the President and Provost of New York University as an interdisciplinary, university-wide social science research institute. Since September 2012, IPK has been directed by Eric Klinenberg, professor of sociology and author of the acclaimed books Heat Wave, Fighting for Air, and Going Solo.
IPK began investigating what happened during Superstorm Sandy as the storm waters receded in November 2012. It established the Superstorm Sandy Research Initiative, including the Superstorm Research Lab: a group of faculty and doctoral students who comb through the city to observe and record the immediate aftermath of the disaster as well as the rebuilding process. IPK also organized the public forum series on Sandy, Climate Change, and the Future of New York City, a set of eight events through the winter and spring of 2013 that brought together faculty and members of the public to discuss issues including housing, infrastructure, security, and climate change.
IPK's founding director, Craig Calhoun, established and hosted numerous projects and working groups at IPK, including Cultures of Finance, the Humanitarian Action Initiative, the Poiesis Fellowship, Belonging Today, and NYLON. Professor Calhoun is now Director of the London School of Economics.
The Institute for Public Knowledge (IPK) brings theoretically serious scholarship to bear on major public issues. Located at NYU, it nurtures collaboration among social researchers in New York and around the world. It builds bridges between university-based researchers and organizations pursuing practical action. It supports communication between researchers and broader publics. And it examines transformations in the public sphere, social science, and the university as a social institution as these change the conditions for public knowledge.