Policy Impact

Flags of many countries at the tops of their poles

Policy Impact

At FSI, our scholars don't just study pressing global challenges, they make a difference in the world.

NEW: Monthly Policy Roundup

Get key takeaways on pressing policy issues from FSI scholars.

World-Class Research, Public Impact

At FSI, we aspire not only to study global problems, but also to solve them. Our work reaches those who have the ability to make change in several ways: we provide policy advice through Congressional testimony; we engage policymakers in person and in small groups; we form research-policy partnerships with governments; we host public events to share research with policy actors in Washington, D.C., Silicon Valley, and around the world; and we engage with news and social media in order to inform the public debate.

We also know that impact requires policymakers capable of affecting change. That's why we train policymakers in the U.S. and worldwide, and prepare the next generation of policymakers through undergraduate programs as well as our Master's in International Policy.

Finally, many FSI scholars have been policymakers themselves, making an impact in the field and then bringing real-world experience with them to strengthen FSI's work.

There is a benefit to researching and studying policy here at Stanford – it affords us a unique perspective because of the distance from D.C., and allows us to take a longer view on current world affairs. Below are a few examples of how we are building the bridges to ensure our research flows to policy professionals all around the world.

I appreciate your interest in our work. Please reach out to us if you'd like to learn more or connect with an FSI scholar.


Michael McFaul
Director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Russian and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council at the White House, 2009-2012
U.S. Ambassador to Russia, 2012-2014

Congressional Testimony

Daphne Keller testifies before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary (May 4, 2022)

Platform Transparency and the Impact of Social Media

Daphne Keller and Nathaniel Persily testified before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary to the Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law on how company secrecy threatens broader democratic values and structures.
Matthew Masterson delivers testimony to the House subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, & Innovation

Protecting Against Threats to Elections Infrastructure and Voter Confidence

Matt Masterson and Alex Stamos spoke at a virtual Congressional hearing on the effects of mis- and disinformation on the U.S. public and election officials tasked with administering secure elections.
Oriana Skylar Mastro testifies to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission on Taiwan deterrence.

Deterring PRC Aggression Toward Taiwan

China may now be able to prevail in cross-strait contingencies even if the United States intervenes in Taiwan’s defense, Chinese security expert Oriana Skylar Mastro tells the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.
Megan Palmer testifies at a Senate subcommittee hearing

Securing U.S. Leadership in the Bioeconomy

Dr. Megan Palmer testifies before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation's Subcommittee on Science, Oceans, Fisheries, and Weather about the bioeconomy, the federal government’s role in the bioeconomy, and the potential risks from such research.

Watch Congressional testimonies by FSI experts.

Engaging Policymakers

Barack Obama delivers the keynote address at the symposium, "Challenges to Democracy in the Digitial Information Realm," co-hosted by the Stanford Cyber Policy Center and the Obama Foundation. (April 21, 2022)

Barack Obama Calls for More Action to Counter Disinformation

The former president was the keynote speaker at "Challenges to Democracy in the Digital Information Realm," a symposium on disinformation and its effects on democracy hosted by the Cyber Policy Center and Obama Foundation.
Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks and her team meet at the Hoover Institution with students and faculty from the Gordian Knot Center.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Meets with Students and Faculty

A visit from Kathleen Hicks of the Department of Defense gave the Gordian Knot Center a prime opportunity to showcase how it's working to build an innovative workforce that can help solve the nation’s most pressing national security challenges.
Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya discusses the future of democracy in Belarus with a roundtable of Stanford scholars.

Roundtable on Democracy in Belarus with Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya

Democratic leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and her delegation joined an interdisciplinary panel of Stanford scholars and members of the Belarusian community to discuss the future of democracy in Belarus.
Kurt Campbell and Laura Rosenberger speaking at the 2021 Oksenberg Conference

Biden's Top Asia Policy Officials Discuss U.S. China Strategy

The National Security Council’s Kurt Campbell and Laura Rosenberger describe the shifting U.S. strategic focus on Asia and the Biden administration’s approach to engaging an assertive China.

Receive updates on our policy outreach and engagement straight to your inbox.

Research-Policy Partnerships

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The Virality Project

The Virality Project is a coalition of research entities focused on supporting real-time information exchange between public health officials, government agencies, civil society organizations, and social media platforms about vaccine misinformation.
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How to Deal with the Kremlin-Created Crisis in Europe

A statement by twenty-four distinguished experts and former senior officials offered their ideas on how to deter Moscow from escalating its current war of aggression against Ukraine.

New Impact Lab Supports Renewable Energy Integration

The Program on Energy and Sustainable Development and the California Public Utilities Commission are partnering to design and implement next-generation policies and regulations that support California's ambitious renewable energy goals.

Upscaling with China's Government

Researchers at the Rural Education Action Program work with Chinese government officials from project conception to the last day of data collection to ensure research projects aligns with government priorities and local needs.

Policy Relevant Research

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Hot Money: Illuminating the Financing of High-Carbon Infrastructure in the Developing World

New research details the shift the world’s major infrastructure financiers would have to make to meet mounting promises to cut carbon emissions to “net-zero” by mid-century.
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Engaging, Empowering, and Enabling Youth to Lead Social Action in the Favelas of Rio de Janeiro

This study is the result of over four years of active collaboration between the Poverty, Violence and Governance Lab and the Rio-based NGO Agency for Youth Networks.
image of front cover of securing american elections

'Securing American Elections' Report Offers a Policy Road Map

FSI scholars urged policymakers, in both government and the private sector, to act immediately in order to protect the integrity and independence of U.S. elections, particularly in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election.
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Recommendations to Safeguard Democratic Elections Around the World

FSI scholars make a number of recommendations as to how best to tackle the threats posed by social media to free and fair elections.

See all of our policy-relevant white papers and reports.

Students and Alumni

Students on the NREL policy team

On Track to Bring Clean, Affordable Energy to Businesses in the Yucatan

As part of FSI's Policy Change Studio, four master's students have partnered with the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory to connect businesses in the Yucatan Peninsula with reliable, inexpensive, and clean energy.
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Draper Hills Fellows Reflect on Activism, Democracy and the Importance of Collaboration

Five fellows describe the impact of the Draper Hills program on their work and activism on the frontlines of democratic change around the world.
Master's students Mariann Varga and Elani Owen work together at a laptop.

Improving Living Conditions in Niger

The Niger State Government adopted a policy proposal from Master's students Elani Owen and Mariann Varga aimed at increasing government accountability in the city of Suleja.
Geo Saba in Washington DC with Scott Sagan and Joe Felter

From CISAC Classrooms to the Halls of Congress

Geo Saba, legislative director for Congressman Ro Khanna, credits his time as a CISAC Honors student for enabling him to make a policy impact with his career.

Find an educational program that's right for you.

Dr. Fauci and Dr. Winslow


FSI is home to many scholars who served in government, the military and international organizations such as the United Nations.

Colin Kahl speaks with a television reporter in Encina Hall following an event on US-Iran relations in January 2020.

Scholars in the Media

FSI's experts engage with news, print, and social media in order to inform the public debate.

Contact: Ari Chasnoff, Associate Director for Communications