New student prize recognizes interdisciplinary policy research

January 23, 2019

Starting this semester, students will have a new opportunity to earn recognition for excellent interdisciplinary research and writing. The Peter Eckstein Prize for Interdisciplinary Research and Policy Analysis, will be awarded to a Ford School student or group of students whose work exhibits the use of theories, concepts, frameworks, research methods or other tools from two or more disciplines in researching, analyzing, or furthering understanding of a topic, issue or debate related to public policy, domestic or international.  

The award was designed to celebrate the value of interdisciplinary research that is critical in public policy. The prize was established by a gift from Peter Eckstein, who was a student of both economics and social sciences, and throughout his career saw the value in combining the two fields to explain economic phenomena.

“I believe policy development will be richer to the extent that we draw on more than one discipline in analyzing an issue,” said Eckstein. “The Ford School’s curriculum emphasizes interdisciplinary research, and I recognized there was an opportunity to celebrate and encourage this approach by creating this award.”

Eckstein is an economics graduate of the University of Michigan. He also holds two graduate degrees from Harvard University, a master’s in sociology and a doctorate in economics. Eckstein spent the majority of his career working on the research side of the labor movement, first for the UAW then the Michigan AFL-CIO. For several years, he ran the Governor Blanchard’s Commission on Jobs and Economic Development.

“In the course of my own studies and career, I saw the value in considering disciplines together to better understand and solve a problem. I hope appreciation for interdisciplinary research is highlighted through this prize.” 

Students seeking a degree at any level (BA, MPP, MPA, or PhD) are qualified to submit work for consideration. One $3,000 prize will be awarded to the winning entry.

The inaugural award winner will be announced toward the end of winter semester. Students interested in entering a submission can learn more on the intranet.