International Policy Institute

Applied Research Program

The Applied Research Program (ARP) matches teams of top-achieving Jackson School students with private and public sector organizations seeking dynamic, impactful, and internationally-minded analyses to support their strategic and operational objectives.

Since the program’s establishment in 2009, ARP consultants have successfully completed projects generating actionable and evidence-based insights for a wide variety of organizations across both the private and public sectors, including Starbucks, Microsoft, Global Washington, williamsworks, and Construction for Change.

The applied research projects are mutually beneficial. They bolster the impact of clients’ endeavors and enrich student consultants’ academic experience and professional pedigree. To learn more about how to become an ARP consultant or client, contact Jessica Beyer and Sara Curran at jsisarp@uw.edu

The Program

ARP Consultant Teams provide unique interdisciplinary expertise along with advanced training in writing, research, qualitative and quantitative data collection, data evaluation and analytics, impact analyses, leadership, and teamwork.

Consultants work within the timeline of the organization and participate in regular briefings with their client to ensure that the project is both consistently on track and meeting the organization’s needs. Final deliverables are customized in line with the client’s desires and always include evidence-based insights on how to increase the likelihood of achieving the client’s strategic and operational objectives.

ARP consultant teams consist of three to eight undergraduate consultants, one graduate-level senior consultant, and a faculty project lead. The standard project cycle is 6-8 weeks, although the program can accommodate longer or shorter engagements.

The Client Experience

In an increasingly competitive and interconnected global marketplace, the most pressing issues faced by organizations today are inherently international. ARP consultants, senior consultants, and project leads integrate cutting-edge academic research and deep knowledge of international issues to address the client’s real-time demands with optimal impact.

With an interdisciplinary education founded in economics, international relations, and advanced language study, Jackson School students are particularly qualified to tackle such challenges. ARP consultants are recruited from a pool of high-achieving Jackson School students. Jackson School students must apply for entry into the department — a competitive process that ensures that student excellence is the baseline in the School. In addition, the undergraduate major is known as one of the most challenging on campus. The combined entry requirements and training mean that students in the department are highly skilled. We select students from this already strong group using a rigorous application process.

Clients have the opportunity to customize their project scope and deliverable in coordination with the ARP project lead, allowing them to ensure that they are getting what they need from their dedicated consulting team. In addition to gaining valuable data and contributing to the educational mission of the UW, past ARP clients have also utilized the program as a recruitment mechanism, identifying talented students to join their team full-time upon graduation.

The Student Experience

Through their participation in the ARP, consultants have the opportunity to apply the academic insights from their rigorous liberal arts education to real world interdisciplinary challenges. The unique challenge of dealing with an organization’s problems in real time and with the potential to make a significant impact provides an invaluable learning experience. Participating students can expect to gain new skills in researching, writing, collaborative work, professional written presentation, professional oral presentation, project management, and time management.

The ARP experience greatly enhances the professional pedigrees and marketability of students hoping to demonstrate their ability to address complex problems to potential employers. ARP graduates have found their experience with the program to be invaluable, both as a line on a resume and as a talking point during interviews.

Become a Client

To learn more about hiring an ARP consultant team, contact Jessica Beyer and Sara Curran at jsisarp@uw.edu. Projects can run at any time during the calendar year.