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California Policy Lab Awarded $3.2M UC Multicampus Research Grant

February 16, 2021, Berkeley, CA — The California Policy Lab (CPL) was recently chosen for a 4-year, $3.2 million grant from the University of California’s Multicampus Research Programs and Initiatives to expand its research infrastructure and work with social science researchers throughout the UC system to conduct cutting-edge research on pressing public policy issues. CPL has physical locations at UC Berkeley and UCLA, and works with UC researchers throughout California.

“We’re thrilled to receive this award because it will allow us to bring together key datasets on health, financial well-being, and homelessness and make that data available to UC researchers on a far more streamlined basis,” explains Professor Jesse Rothstein, the principal investigator on the grant and Faculty Director at CPL’s Berkeley site. “This investment will pay dividends for years to come in terms of faster and higher quality social science research, translating to better, evidence-based policy for California, and in terms of attracting top social science researchers to come work at UC.”

“Nearly 70,000 people experience homelessness in Los Angeles every year, yet a lack of reliable data about the underlying causes of homelessness has been a big obstacle to implementing evidence-based solutions,” comments Professor Till von Wachter, Faculty Director at CPL’s UCLA site. “This award will help CPL to bring together better data and conduct more comprehensive research, and to work with our state and local partners to implement and test strategies to prevent homelessness.”

With this funding, CPL will make available three new data resources, the UC Consumer Credit Panel, the Health Data Access Initiative, and the L.A. Homelessness Research Accelerator Datahub. This data will make possible new research on residential mobility, financial wellbeing, population and public health research, and homelessness prevention. CPL will also expand the lab’s infrastructure, which already encompasses Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, to three additional UC campuses: Merced, Santa Cruz, and Santa Barbara.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced that good data is necessary to inform good public policy,” explains Evan White, Executive Director of the California Policy Lab at UC Berkeley. “We’re excited to bolster state and local responses to the virus and its economic fallout, as well as other pressing issues like poverty and homelessness.”

With this funding CPL plans to:

• Support research using powerful new datasets.
• Purchase health data from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and make that data available to UC researchers on a streamlined, cost-effective basis.
• Provide competitive awards to support student and faculty research.
• Host a summer institute for undergraduate students to gain hands-on experience doing research to inform better public policy.

The California Policy Lab creates data-driven insights for the public good. Our mission is to partner with California’s state and local governments to generate scientific evidence that solves California’s most urgent issues, including homelessness, poverty, criminal justice reform, and education inequality. We facilitate close working partnerships between policymakers and researchers at the University of California to help evaluate and improve public programs through empirical research and technical assistance.

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