Clawson selected as interim director for the Purdue Policy Research Institute in Discovery Park

Rosalee Clawson, professor and head of the Department of Political Science in Purdue’s College of Liberal Arts, will serve as interim director of Discovery Park’s Purdue Policy Research Institute (PPRI), effective July 1, 2018.

Clawson replaces PPRI inaugural director, S. Laurel Weldon, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, who has been leading the Institute since February 2016. Weldon worked to set up the newly envisioned Institute in its new Discovery Park home in Mann Hall, and to define and realize its mission as part of the Discovery Park constellation of research centers bringing interdisciplinary approaches to grand challenges.

Weldon has been a fierce advocate for the role of social science and the humanities in solving these grand challenges, leading the Mellon-funded PPRI program supporting such interdisciplinary research in partnership with Purdue Libraries (link to webpage). 

Notably, she travelled to New York this past Fall to participate in Goalkeepers, a Gates Foundation event organized by Bill and Melinda Gates to draw attention to the Sustainable Development Goals alongside the UN’s General Assembly meeting. 

Weldon is leaving Purdue to take a position at her alma mater, Simon Fraser University, but will remain actively involved with PPRI as a visiting professor through 2019.

“Laurel has been integral to bringing the Purdue Policy Research Institute to life within Discovery Park, and she has proven to be an invaluable team player in Discovery Park initiatives. She will be greatly missed, and we wish her much success, which she will no doubt achieve in her role at Simon Fraser,” says Tomás Díaz de la Rubia, chief scientist and executive director of Discovery Park.

The Purdue Policy Research Institute (PPRI) fosters high-impact, interdisciplinary, and policy-relevant research on global grand challenges. Clawson has been involved with PPRI since its early days as the Global Policy Research Institute. She helped envision its transformation into the Purdue Policy Research Institute, and she has served on the PPRI Faculty Leadership Committee. She is a co-PI on PPRI’s “Breaking Through: Developing Multidisciplinary Solutions to Global Grand Challenges” Mellon Grant.

“We are most fortunate that during this transition, we will benefit from the leadership of Rosie Clawson, who has already been very engaged in many of the activities and initiatives of PPRI,” says Díaz de la Rubia.

Under Weldon’s leadership, PPRI has emphasized the ethical, legal, and social dimensions of grand challenges to connect more than 50 faculty members from all of Purdue colleges as PPRI affiliated faculty. The institute has developed relationships with scholars and activists across the state (through the Indiana Policy Collaborative) and nationwide (through the Scholars Strategy Network), and has been represented at cutting edge policy and research workshops from Dubai to DC.

Other PPRI initiatives developed under Weldon include faculty and student Fellows programs and the Contemporary Matters lunch series.

“I look forward to leading PPRI as the university begins its 150th anniversary celebration. It’s an exciting time for Purdue, and it’s critically important for PPRI to continue to cultivate and share policy-relevant research that enable us to make ‘Giant Leaps,’” says Clawson.

Clawson came to Purdue’s political science department in 1996. She has served as department head of political science since 2012. Specializing in the effects of public opinion and mass media on public policy attitudes, she has authored a monograph and numerous journal articles. In addition, she is the author of the well-regarded textbook, Public Opinion: Democratic Ideals, Democratic Practice (CQ Press, 2017). She is also a founding co-editor of the journal Politics, Groups, and Identities. Clawson is a graduate of The Ohio State University’s Department of Political Science.

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Writer: Krista Kelly,, 765-494-1050
Sources: Rosalee Clawson,, & S. Laurel Weldon,

About Discovery Park

Discovery Park is a place where Purdue researchers move beyond traditional boundaries, collaborating across disciplines and with policymakers and business leaders to create solutions for a better world. Grand challenges of global health, global conflict and security, and those that lie at the nexus of sustainable energy, world food supply, water and the environment are the focus of researchers in Discovery Park. The translation of discovery to impact is integrated into the fabric of Discovery Park through entrepreneurship programs and partnerships.