What We Do
The Social Trends Institute centers its investigation on five main branches of study: Family, Bioethics, Culture & Lifestyles, Governance, and Civil Society. Most of STI's activity centers on Experts Meetings and the publications resulting from them. STI also organizes and sponsors Graduate Seminars, supports research projects by established scholars and institutions, and offers grants for post-graduate study in the foundation's priority research areas.
Experts Meetings bring together an international and interdisciplinary group of leading scholars in a particular topic of study. Most participants present papers, which represent original scholorship produced specifically for the meeting and the subsequent publication. These papers are discussed by the entire group and later revised and edited into a published volume.
On a case-by-case basis, STI also supports research projects in the five priority areas of study.
STI organizes and sponsors experts meetings of some dozen scholars from a variety of disciplines to study and debate specific issues of current social significance. The conferences are held over a two-and-a-half day period at any one of a number of prestigious universities around the world. They are developed under the oversight of an Academic Leader - a professor expert in the field under consideration. The Academic Leader defines the topic to be studied, poses the principal inquiries, identifies and invites the best thinkers on the issue - representing different disciplines and nationalities, directs contributions, leads discussion and oversees the resulting publication.
STI asks a majority of conference participants to submit and present an original paper, in English, on the subject at hand. After the meeting, these papers may be revised in light of the conference discussion. They then become the basis of a published volume.
Experts on the topic who do not submit a paper are often invited as Discussants to contribute to the debate.
Each meeting is organized under one of STI's five branches of priority research: Family, Bioethics, Culture & Lifestyles, Governance, and Civil Society.
Additionally, STI sometimes sponsors or co-sponsors similar meetings that fall outside of the purview of the five branches. Such meetings may be organized by other institutions with STI support.
STI promotes a broad range of research projects selected on the basis of their social relevance and potential impact. STI may provide all or part of the financing for these projects and for the dissemination of their findings.