Our D.C. Portfolio

ASU’s D.C. portfolio reflects the university’s idea-centered focus. We are here to bring the ideas of our students and faculty to bear in national conversations—so that ideas may be shared and combined to shape solutions to issues that matter to the country and the world. ASU in D.C. is a platform from which to educate and prepare students, a mechanism to convene a wide range of thought leaders, and a catalyst to forge innovative partnerships.

Applied Policy Centers

ASU’s efforts in D.C. support the university’s mission to develop solutions that make direct, positive contributions to the public good. Our pursuit of knowledge is use-inspired — with a sharp focus on making lives better. This is evidenced by the work of our applied policy centers, several of which conduct work in D.C. All represent ASU’s capacity to provide research-supported information and expertise to those making policy in our nation’s capital. Highlighted examples of these centers include:

The Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes is an intellectual network aimed at enhancing the contribution of science and technology to society’s pursuit of equality, justice, freedom and overall quality of life. The consortium creates knowledge and methods, cultivates public discourse, and fosters policies to help decision-makers and institutions grapple with the immense power and importance of science and technology as society charts a course for the future.

The L. William Seidman Research Institute serves as a link between the local, national and international business communities and the ASU W. P. Carey School of Business. The institute collects, analyzes and disseminates information about local economies, benchmarks industry practices, and identifies emerging business-research issues that affect productivity and competitiveness. 

The McCain Institute for International Leadership is a center for research and action in national security and foreign policy. It seeks to promote leadership and decision-making in the best American tradition of open inquiry, spirited discussion and practical action. Through its policy research, events, fellows program and other activities, the institute aims to inform, convene, train and assist current and future leaders from the United States and abroad. 

The Morrison Institute for Public Policy is a leader in examining critical issues for Arizona and the region, and is a catalyst for public dialogue. The institute bridges the gap between academic scholarship and public policy through nonpartisan research, analysis and public outreach. The Morrison Institute is also home to the Kyl Center for Water Policy. Retired U.S. Senator Jon Kyl lends both his expertise as a water attorney and leadership as a statesman to promote research, analysis, collaboration and open dialogue to identify opportunities for consensus to ensure sound water stewardship for Arizona and the West for generations to come.  

ASU Research

As the New American University, ASU has built its research enterprise on the principles of conducting transdisciplinary, use-inspired, and socially embedded research. ASU is one of the fastest growing research enterprises among U.S. universities, remaining nimble and responsive to emerging research and economic development opportunities locally, nationally and globally.


ASU’s research enterprise is a portfolio of diverse, strategic pursuits and partnerships that tackles emerging challenges. Through partnership with and support from federal agencies and other institutions in Washington D.C., research at the university is enabling significant progress towards developing and implementing solutions to some of the world’s grandest challenges.

Highlighted Examples of Federally Funded Research at ASU

A new $1.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health will allow a research team from Arizona State University and Baylor College of Medicine to evaluate recent developments in human genome editing and associated responses from the public and scientific communities to develop recommendations for how to responsibly govern such research and technologies in the future.

The New College Environmental Health Science Scholars (NCEHSS) program is funded through a five-year grant from the National Institutes Health. The summer program provides 10 weeks of intensive classroom instruction and lab research opportunities for promising students unable to pursue similar opportunities elsewhere. Scholars also receive a $4,000 stipend for participating.

Backed by a $2.9 million NSF grant, Erika Camacho will join a project led by Elizabeth Wentz, dean of social sciences at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, that aims to balance the lag in female professionals in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. Wentz and four co-principal investigators, including Camacho, will develop online professional development services, expand digital platforms and conduct promotion, recruiting and evaluation reviews for a multi-pronged update of STEM faculty opportunities at ASU.

Highlighted Research Capabilities

ASU’s Global Security Initiative (GSI) will serve as a university-wide interdisciplinary hub for global security research, and will address resource security, global health, changing climate, economic and political instability, and other emerging challenges that are complex, interconnected and interdependent.

The ASU Research Enterprise (ASURE) is the not-for-profit applied research, development, and consulting affiliate of Arizona State University. ASURE specializes in conducting classified and midrange technology readiness level (TRL) services for the defense and security industry. 

ASU International Development works to identify, qualify and pursue a robust pipeline of projects that provide solutions to the most complex challenges facing the developing world. ASU International Development provides the link between ASU’s world-class researchers and international development-funding agencies around the world.

The Decision Theater Network actively engages researchers and leaders to visualize solutions to complex problems. The network provides the latest expertise in collaborative, computing and display technologies for data visualization, modeling and simulation. It addresses cross-disciplinary local, national and international issues by drawing on ASU’s diverse academic and research capabilities.

Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology

The Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology (CGEST) explores, identifies and creates innovative scholarship about under-represented girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). As a unique research unit, a diverse and interdisciplinary community of scholars, students, policy makers and practitioners unite to establish best practices for culturally responsive programs for girls of color.

Center on the Future of War

The Center on the Future of War is a collaboration between ASU and New America, an interdisciplinary think tank and civic enterprise, focusing on the profound social, political, economic and cultural implications of the changing nature of war and conflict. The initiative draws together leading experts and policymakers to address some of the most complex questions of our time, including developments in international law, national security policy, defense and counterterrorism operations, cyber-security, weaponized narrative and complex global threats. 

Click here to see the Center on the Future of War’s newsletter for their response to current events.

Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes

The Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes - recently named one of the world's top ten think tanks for science and technology policy for the 6th straight year - is an intellectual network aimed at enhancing the contribution of science and technology to society's pursuit of equality, justice, freedom and overall quality of life. The consortium’s D.C. office expands its capacity to help decision-makers and institutions grapple with the immense power and complexity of science, technology and society by communicating knowledge and methods, educating students and decision-makers, forming strategic partnerships, participating in science policy initiatives, and building a community of intellectuals and practitioners. 

Forums, Workshops and Debates

As a comprehensive national university, ASU regularly convenes events in Washington, D.C. intended to facilitate conversations on critical national and international issues. Regularly occurring series of events bring together experts, policy makers, practitioners and the public to examine topics ranging from science policy, human rights, global policy, leadership, higher education, and emerging technologies and their transformative effects on society and public policy.

Future Tense

Future Tense is a partnership between ASU, New America, and Slate magazine that explores emerging technologies and their transformative effects on society and public policy. Central to the partnership is a series of events in Washington, D.C., that take in-depth, provocative looks at issues that, while little-understood today, will dramatically reshape the policy debates of the coming decade. 

Visit the Future Tense channel on Slate

Learn more about Futurography, Future Tense’s monthly feature focusing on a new technology, providing a citizen’s guide to how it might shape the future.

Highlighted faculty work in DC

In addition to faculty and staff based in Washington, D.C., many ASU faculty in Arizona are also actively engaged in Washington, D.C. through their research, scholarship and teaching. These faculty and staff provide their expertise to federal and international agencies, lead federally-funded research for the national academies, contribute to the development of public policy, connect students to national leaders, lead nationwide education initiatives and much more.
  • Director, Global Security Initiative
  • Professor of Practice, School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

Nadya Bliss directs ASU’s Global Security Initiative (GSI), a university-wide interdisciplinary hub for global security research that focuses on openness, inclusiveness and connections to the global defense, development and diplomacy communities. GSI serves as ASU’s primary interface with the U.S. Department of Defense, the intelligence community and the ASU Research Enterprise. Working with collaborative teams of experts in computer science, law, business, psychology and digital humanities, GSI is actively engaged in research and developing solutions in dark web market behaviors, personal privacy issues, digital forensics and next generation authentication.

  • Honors Faculty Fellow at Barrett, the Honors College
  • Affiliate Faculty, Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes

Jenny Brian is a faculty lead for CSPO’s ‘Science Outside the Lab,’ a two-week workshop in Washington, D.C. where science and engineering graduate students have an intensive experience in the policy-making arena and the culture of our nation’s capital. She also serves as a faculty participant for the ‘Increasing Diversity in Science Studies’ program funded by the National Science Foundation and held in Washington, D.C.

Brian served as co-principal investigator on a National Science Foundation-funded grant on synthetic biology, the results of which were presented at CSPO’s New Tools for Policy Seminar in Washington, DC. Video of this program is available here

  • Professor and Foundation Chair in Computing and Informatics, School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering
  • Executive Vice President, ASU Knowledge Enterprise
  • Chief Research and Innovation Officer

Panchanathan leads the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development, which advances research, entrepreneurship and economic development at ASU, one of the fastest growing research enterprises in the U.S. ASU’s knowledge enterprise works with federal agency partners and global development organizations to advance programs that impact education, energy, science, humanities and national security.

In addition to his work in Washington, D.C. advancing ASU’s research enterprise, Panchanathan was appointed by President Obama to the U.S. National Science Board in 2014. He has also been appointed by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker to the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

  • Executive Director, Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology
  • Associate Professor, School of Social Transformation 

Kimberly Scott directs ASU's Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology (CGEST), a founding partner along with the White House Council on Women and Girls, of the National STEM Collaborative. The collaborative is a consortium of 10 higher education institutions and 11 nonprofit partners dedicated to scaling research-based best skills and knowledge, resources and practices on access, completion, and workforce development for women of color in STEM.

Scott is a White House STEM Access Champion of Change, an honor she received in recognition of her work in supporting and expanding STEM opportunities for African-American students, schools and communities through her CompuGirls program.

Issues in Science and Technology

Issues in Science & Technology is a forum for discussion of public policy related to science, engineering, and medicine. This includes policy for science (how we nurture the health of the research enterprise) and science for policy (how we use knowledge more effectively to achieve social goals), with emphasis on the latter.

Presented by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, The University of Texas at Dallas and Arizona State University, Issues is a publication where researchers, government officials, business leaders, and others with a stake in public policy can share ideas and offer specific suggestions.

McCain Institute

The McCain Institute advances character-driven leadership based on security, economic opportunity, freedom and human dignity around the world. 

Melikian Center for Russian, Eurasian and East European Studies

The Melikian Center for Russian, Eurasian and East European Studies advances innovative use-inspired research and teaching on the languages, societies and geopolitics of greater Eurasia.  The Center’s core mission is to enhance contextual expertise and cultural awareness in the communities it serves, through partnerships across disciplinary, ideological and geographical borders.

National Capital Chapter, ASU Alumni Association

The National Capital Chapter of the ASU Alumni Association is a vibrant community for ASU alumni living in the Washington, D.C., area. The chapter offers an extensive networking and philanthropic opportunities while actively maintaining alumni’s connection to ASU and fellow graduates. 

National Policy Affairs

The Office of National Policy Affairs represents ASU at the national and federal levels. The office is charged with coordinating university-wide priorities through the development of the ASU federal agenda and serves as the primary contact for Arizona’s Congressional delegation in Washington, as well as district offices. The office actively participates in national associations to advance issues of importance to ASU and serves as a resource to faculty and staff for federal-related endeavors. In addition, the office monitors the federal legislative process and works closely with relevant federal agencies. 

New America Partnership

ASU and New America have forged a collaboration designed to bring together the strengths of the nation’s largest public research university with one of the nation’s leading interdisciplinary think tanks and civic enterprises. ASU and New America are engaged in an experiment to see how each organization’s talents can be applied in tandem to understand and elucidate the problems and opportunities facing the Unites States. Examples of this unique partnership include Future Tense, a project designed to explore emerging technologies and their transformative effects on society and public policy, and the Center on the Future of War, a collaboration focusing on the profound social, political, economic and cultural implications of the changing nature of war and conflict.

Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law

The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University is one of the country's preeminent law schools. Ranked No. 24 nationally by U.S. News & World Report; ASU Law provides comprehensive and personalized legal education through graduate programs with a wide range of courses, popular focus areas, and unique experiences. ASU Law’s world-class faculty and administrators provide students with unparalleled opportunities to gain insights and practical skills needed to address legal challenges locally, nationally, and globally. More than 90 percent of ASU Law students participate in public service through externships, clinics, and pro bono activities.

Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems

The Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems develops innovative ideas and solutions to the many challenges of current food systems. Taking a holistic and transdisciplinary approach, the Center’s work encompasses water and energy use, carbon footprint and nutrition, innovations in agtech, and the well-being and livelihood of farmers and others working in food systems.

University Innovation Alliance

The University Innovation Alliance (UIA) is a consortium of 11 large public research universities committed to making high-quality college degrees accessible to a diverse body of students. ASU President Michael Crow is Chair of the University Innovation Alliance. 

What It Means To Be American

ASU affiliate Zócalo Public Square and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History have launched a partnership and new project: What It Means To Be American. The collaborative three-year initiative is engaging leading thinkers, public figures and Americans from all walks of life to explore how the United States became the nation it is today. The project will foster a national conversation through a multimedia platform and a series of live public events across the U.S. to ask and find answers to the question, what does it mean to be American?