Collage of photos: woman with animal skull, hands gesturing, child and woman looking at images in a lab, crowd of people outside

For four years, an institute in the UC Davis College of Letters and Science worked to bring together experts from diverse fields across the campus and beyond to tackle big questions facing society.

The Institute for Social Sciences (ISS), from fall 2014 through spring 2018, provided research seed funding, hosted conferences and talks, and offered graduate seminars and other student programs.

Founded by the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor as an incubator of new ideas, ISS supported work that reached across culture, class, social norms, politics, mobility, economics, values, technology, language, communication and history. Joe Dumit, a professor of anthropology and science and technology studies, was its founding director.

ISS published an online journal with feature articles on research, lectures, professors and graduate students, and videos of talks on an array of social science topics.

It also oversaw the Social Science Data Service, which acquires and curates data on society for scholarly research, as well as the Sheffrin Lecture on Public Policy, which brings top scholars to campus to speak — both of which continue within the College of Letters and Science.