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 >
Tampa Bay Times Story on Evolution Institute’s New Early Learning Center

Advocates say help is on the way for troubled Potter Elementary
by Marlene Sokol

Children who live near Potter Elementary School will have a new option in August. An early learning center is opening just steps away, serving kindergarten and first grade, with plans to expand later.

It’s one of several projects under way to assist Potter, a four-time F school whose troubles have attracted widespread attention in recent months.

[…] Leaders of the early learning center, which will be a charter school, say their plans began in a local think tank called the Evolution Institute.

The institute “takes science and research and applies it to today’s issues (and) problems; education obviously is one of them,” said Michelle Shimberg, who chairs the board that will oversee the Early Childhood Learning Center.

Shimberg spent decades as a volunteer in the schools and the district, and she belongs to a family well known for community service and philanthropy. Serving with her are retired educators Jerry and Virginia Lieberman.

Their strategies include project-based learning, which lets students focus on their interests, and a community center location that can draw in siblings and others outside the school rolls. Parents and other family members will rotate in and out to give lessons in art, music and other enrichment courses.

“The idea of developing strong relationships with families, with parents, with community members in support of the students and the teachers at the school, we believe, will help produce better outcomes,” Shimberg said. She expects the benefits to extend far beyond the 54 students in kindergarten through second grade at the school.

Shimberg’s group first approached the district with hopes of applying its strategies to district schools. Instead it was advised to open a charter school, a sometimes controversial vehicle that gets tax funding but is run independently.

Each class of 18 students will have a full-time aide in addition to the teacher.

One built-in advantage: Potter suffers from a high student mobility rate, meaning kids in the largely transient East Tampa neighborhood frequently move from home to home and school to school. But a child who moves can stay in the same charter school.

[…] Shimberg and the Liebermans are creating the opposite — a homegrown charter school that will start small. And they are mindful of poverty in East Tampa, which often makes for stressful home environments and wary parents.

“What we want to do is to be that environment where people are engaged,” Shimberg said. “They are engaged at all different levels and there are trusting relationships.”

EI Advisory Board Member Barbara Oakley Featured in Wall Street Journal

How a Polymath Mastered Math—and So Can You
‘Mindshift’ author Barbara Oakley on the science and practice of learning—and finding love at the South Pole.

Year End Reports View All >
2016 Impact Report
2014 Year End Report
2013 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.