How can we predict impact?

The Center for Impact Sciences (CIS) at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy was launched to make evidence more actionable for policymakers. Specifically, we focus on pioneering new frontiers in standardization, data science and probabilistic modeling in order to provide policymakers with greater scientific rigor for decision making. 

Similar to how econometrics employs statistics, math and modeling to forecast future economic outcomes, CIS seeks to “harden” social science by using structured data to forecast social outcomes. We don’t believe that “evidence-based” should be a binary determination – i.e. a program is either effective or not. In reality, efficacy is probabilistic, and data can be used to estimate likelihood of success and mitigate risk of failure. Program design can be optimized scientifically using standardized variables and benchmarking past precedent.

To achieve its mission, the Center for Impact Sciences has four key priorities:

  1. Advancing core components research
  2. Developing probabilistic decision-making models
  3. Standardizing social impact data
  4. Advancing the “S” in ESG

Here are three ways you can get involved with the Center:

  • Be a research associate on one of our initiatives
  • Co-sponsor one of our initiatives
  • Follow our work/join our mailing list

Read about the Center for Impact Sciences in the news:

The Center's Launch Event in Washington DC


Contact Us

To get involved or learn more about the Center for Impact Sciences, email Jason Saul.


Jason Saul

Executive Director, Center for Impact Sciences

Jason Saul

Jason Saul is one of the world’s leading experts on measuring social impact, advising corporations, federal agencies and philanthropies on how to maximize their impact.
John List

Associated Faculty and Academic Director, Center for Impact Sciences

John A. List

John A. List is the Kenneth C. Griffin Distinguished Service Professor in Economics at the University of Chicago. He received his B.S. in economics at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and Ph.D. in economics at the University of Wyoming.


Harris Public Policy Announces Center for Impact Sciences

Harris Public Policy today announced the formation of the Center for Impact Sciences, an initiative to make evidence-based analysis more accessible and actionable for policymakers across all levels of government and the nonprofit sector.