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Propose a Project

The Dukakis Center works collaboratively with neighborhoods, cities, towns, and regions to develop innovative, data-driven interventions to improve the quality and efficiency of our communities. We invite stakeholders to submit inquiries specifying one of the following types of engagement:

Students will partner with stakeholders on a research project under the direction of a government agency or nonprofit group that culminates in a capstone project or part of a dissertation. Capstone projects typically encompass a team of master’s students working on a project for one semester and delivering a final report and client presentation that includes a set of recommendations to address the problem at hand. Dissertation work is typically undertaken by one Ph.D. student working on a project for one to two years and delivering a final report that counts as one or more chapters in the dissertation.  In both cases, students are supervised by faculty with expertise in the area under study.

Faculty will partner with stakeholders to seek funding for collaborative research projects with a government agency or nonprofit group that results in both actionable policy recommendations as well as academic publications. Faculty will work closely with the client to develop a scope of work, proof of concept, and budget suitable for submission as either an LOI or RFP for a given funding opportunity. Either Northeastern University or the client may take the lead as the fiscal agent with funding procured from a variety of federal, state, and foundation sources.

Dukakis Center staff will work with clients to meet their research needs across a variety of topic areas where we have suitable faculty expertise. Consulting engagements may arise from the RFP process or as a direct invitation from foundations, government agencies, or nonprofit groups. We are able to draw on faculty across the university to consult on a wide variety of topics.

We are particularly interested in working with communities addressing the following issues that overlap with the expertise of our students and faculty:

  • Racial inequality and justice
  • Transportation and economic development
  • Housing production and displacement
  • Resiliency and climate change
  • Youth development and engagement
  • Health outcomes and longevity
  • Artistic design and cultural identity
  • Program evaluation and financial modeling
  • Use of “big data” and new technologies
  • Planning, community engagement, and policy development

We welcome both formal written requests and informal inquiries.


At the Dukakis Center, we seek to have an immediate and lasting impact on the quality of life in Greater Boston, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the nation, and beyond. We engage a wide range of stakeholders – faculty, policymakers, community and business leaders, students, and researchers – to develop effective solutions to our most pressing problems.

Your support will help to sustain and expand our work and impact.