Research Projects

Efforts worth talking about.

Our students and faculty continue to affect outcomes and drive positive change through needs-focused research projects. Learn more about the latest issues we have tackled and how our informed solutions were designed to make a difference.


Afghan Asylum Assistance Project

Professor Jennifer Murtazashvili and a team of GSPIA students led a charge to help a group of Afghans desperate to escape the country.

The Research
At the core of this work is an important question: How do people — in this case students — actively solve problems like the U.S. immigration process, which are typically addressed on the institutional level? This student-led group conceived self-governing solutions.

The Impact
"People have enormous capabilities to do and solve things," Murtazashvili says, emphasizing that understanding these bottom-up dynamics is crucial for developing successful public policy.

For more information, contact Professor Jennifer Murtazashvili or follow her research updates on Twitter: @JMurtazashvili and @CGMPitt 

The Police Accountability Project

Professor Sera Linardi and GSPIA students created a data platform to help citizens navigate the hyper-fragmentation of policing in Allegheny County. 

The Research
With a focus of 130 municipalities and 108 police departments, Linardi and her group designed a way to help citizens with the complicated governance and opaque police union structures.

The Impact
Every feature came from community input. "Demystifying what citizens' rights are, related to police, is important," shared Ivy Chang, a Pitt student and volunteer.

For more information, contact Professor Sera Linardi or follow her research updates on Twitter: @seralinardi and @CaasiPitt.

Gender Equality in Public Administration 

Muge Finkel and Melanie Hughes, co-directors of GIRL (Gender Inequality Research Lab), have co-authored a new report with UNDP on gender equality in public administration globally.

The Research
The report provides an overview of key trends and analysis on women’s participation and leadership in public administration, drawing from the Gender Parity in Civil Service (Gen-PaCS) dataset, which spans 170 countries. 

The Impact
The report finds that though there has been progress on women’s representation overall in public administration, persistent gaps remain. Women continue to hit glass ceilings and glass walls that stop them from advancing to positions at the highest levels of power and influence, including in organizations tasked with COVID-19 response.

For more information, contact Professor Müge Finkel or follow her research updates on Twitter: @MugeKFinkel and @GirlAPitt