Focus Areas

The University of Nebraska Public Policy Center links policymakers to both academic and scientific resources and approaches to address important public policy issues. Covering a wide range of focus areas, the PPC partners with policymakers, faculty, and other stakeholders to translate scientific understanding to impact policy and practice. Some of these areas include: civil and government systems, community engagement, disaster and emergency planning, education and school safety, health and behavioral health, and violence and suicide prevention.

Our work includes program evaluations and data analysis related to government systems planning, processes, and communication. Related to Center public engagement and emergency response consultation, Center staff have facilitated multi-agency efforts to develop and present more effective messaging. Center projects focusing on civil and government systems include work with various agencies to improve processes and enhance accessibility.
The Public Policy Center's work in public engagement is focused on helping policymakers, community organizations, and individuals make informed decisions based on data and research. Researchers focus on a variety of topics, including: institutional trust and confidence, dispute resolution, public perceptions of new technologies, environment and natural resources policy, and community improvements. Center staff are engaged in multiple projects facilitating research related to public engagement and behavioral aspects relating to various aspects of environmental policy.
The University of Nebraska Public Policy Center works with local, state, and federal agencies on a variety of projects relating to disaster and emergency planning. In addition to program coordination and evaluation, and trainings in emergency and disaster preparedness, our role includes fostering links between mental health and substance abuse resources with public health systems, healthcare networks, emergency management, and first responder groups.
The Public Policy Center's work in education research is focused on the issues of school safety, threat assessment, and emergency planning and preparedness. The Center has provided extensive support for state and national efforts to assist with implementing threat assessment and other prevention strategies to educational settings. Recent projects include: Nebraska K-12 Threat Assessment and Emergency Planning for Schools.
The Public Policy Center works with local, state, and federal agencies on a variety of projects relating to public health and behavioral health for the state of Nebraska. In addition to program coordination and evaluation, our role includes fostering links between mental health and substance abuse resources with public health systems, healthcare networks, emergency management, and first responder groups. The Center has also performed national and statewide consultation in various areas of disaster behavioral health planning.
The Public Policy Center is working to prevent acts of violence and decrease the suicide rate in Nebraska with various initiatives on violence prevention, suicide prevention, threat assessment, and school safety. Center staff facilitate the development of threat assessment capabilities to enhance law enforcement, educational, and behavioral health professionals’ abilities to address various aspects of targeted violence (e.g., stalking, school violence, extremist violence).


Conference & Training Facilitation

For many of our active projects, our staff plan and execute conferences, workshops, and seminars of all sizes, virtual and in-person. This includes event management, technology recommendations, graphic design, communications, and accommodations for in-person and remote-hosted events. Additionally, staff are experienced in managing all logistics for virtual and in-person events. The University of Nebraska Public Policy Center is an approved continuing education sponsor through the American Psychological Association (APA). This means we can facilitate psychologists’ access to continuing education that meets APA standards.

Grant Development & Management

We pursue and manage funding opportunities to support policy-related initiatives. Center researchers garner both public and private funding at the local, state, and national levels for applied and translational research grants. We work closely with partners to identify funding opportunities, develop grant and contract proposal narratives, create budgets and timelines, execute agreements, manage grant funds in accordance with funder requirements, and submit required fiscal and programmatic reporting.

Program Design and Evaluation

Center research staff routinely conduct program evaluations in partnership with stakeholders to define questions, plan activities, interpret results, and use findings to recommend and implement changes. We use quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods techniques appropriate to the project. Our programmatic capabilities include survey design, interviews, focus groups, mapping geographic data, overall data analysis, and report preparation.

Project Management, Strategic Planning & Consulting

Our researchers bring high-level management expertise to projects for all kinds of organizations. We bring research-based insights to executive decision-making, develop organizational structures to achieve desired results; assist with communication planning, agenda setting and creating necessary informational materials; implement research plans; and guide open communication among stakeholders. Our researchers are trained in facilitation and regularly lead stakeholders through strategic planning, problem definition, and consensus-building, as well as discovering organizational priorities, setting goals, and creating action plans.

Scholarly Research

Our approach is rooted in academic-oriented inquiry and investigation. We provide basic research products for partners such as high-quality and easy-to-understand literature reviews, white papers, and briefing papers. Our researchers come from diverse disciplines, including: Business, Economics, Family and Consumer Sciences, Law, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology. 

Stakeholder Engagement & Outreach

We work with stakeholders to design and execute customized frameworks. This includes determining the breadth, length, location, and timing of facilitated events; identifying participants; collecting data from participants throughout the planning or engagement process; creating opportunities for feedback and debriefing; and producing draft and final products based on results. In addition, many of our staff consult with outside organizations and conduct professional presentations on a variety of issues.