What We Do

Evolution Institute connects the world of evolutionary science to the world of public policy formulation.

We bring evolutionary experts together with other experts for a respectful and constructive dialogue, resulting in a new agenda for basic scientific research, policy formulation, and policy implementation.

We solve real-world problems.

The Evolution Institute uses evolutionary science to solve real-world problems. Currently, there is no mechanism for applying current theory and research to public policy formulation. We aim to provide the mechanism. Working with our large network of advisors, we can:

Do you have a project the Evolution Institute could advance? The development of a focal topic typically includes the following steps:

  1. We identify a specific topic that can be addressed from an evolutionary perspective or receive a suggestion from a potential client.
  2. With the help of our advisory board, we investigate the current evolutionary expertise on the topic. Typically, we are able to identify scientists and scholars who are highly respected and have already adopted an evolutionary perspective, but are among the first to have done so within their disciplines.
  3. We bring the evolutionary experts together with each other and with the most relevant public policy experts for the topic in a workshop format. The group is charged with the following tasks: a) assessing the current state of knowledge on the topic from an evolutionary perspective; b) providing recommendations for future basic scientific research; c) identifying the most important public policy issues that need to be addressed; d) providing recommendations for how current knowledge and future research can be used to address the public policy issues in the real world.
  4. After the workshop, the Evolution Institute works with the participants to publicize and implement the recommendations over the long term.

Funding comes from donors or is raised for particular projects. We work with our clients to raise funds for projects that cannot be directly supported from our endowment.

We are a young organization with the flexibility to pursue our basic mission in different ways. Contact us if you need evolutionary expertise or want to explore the development of a focal project. Donate to support our efforts.

Evolution Institute News View All >
Evolution Institute project Seshat on New Scientist: The database that is rewriting history to predict the future

Seshat is a vast and growing database of historical and archaeological knowledge that can be explored using scientific techniques. That makes it a powerful tool for testing and ultimately discarding hypotheses. “A cemetery for theories,” is how Seshat co-founder Peter Turchin at the University of Connecticut in Storrs describes it. By making history more evidence-based, he and his colleagues hope it will become more relevant.

Peter Turchin for Bloomberg: Blame Rich, Overeducated Elites as Society Frays

Complex human societies, including our own, are fragile. They are held together by an invisible web of mutual trust and social cooperation. This web can fray easily, resulting in a wave of political instability, internal conflict and, sometimes, outright social collapse.

Analysis of past societies shows that these destabilizing historical trends develop slowly, last many decades, and are slow to subside. The Roman Empire, Imperial China and medieval and early-modern England and France suffered such cycles, to cite a few examples. In the U.S., the last long period of instability began in the 1850s and lasted through the Gilded Age and the “violent 1910s.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Year End Reports View All >
2013 Year End Report
2014 Year End Report
For better or worse, we live in a world of our own making and must use our knowledge to manage our affairs. It is time to make use of the knowledge provided by evolutionary theory.