Centers & Institutes


The NYU-ECNU Institute for Social Development at NYU Shanghai ​brings together the scholars and professionals at the East China Normal University School of Social Development in Shanghai with the faculty members at the NYU Silver School of Social Work. This collaboration aims to create a vibrant institute that will produce not only the highest quality of social scientific research but also the highest-impact, scientifically informed research to shape practice and policy response in improving the well-being of both societies.

The Institute sponsors world-class research that informs social policy and practice, prominent academic programs that are locally and globally relevant, and conferences and professional training activities that contribute to the outstanding academic reputation of NYU Shanghai and both sponsoring institutions. An essential mission of this research institute is to apply both multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives to address the poverty and inequality issues that are present in both societies (China and the United States) but that manifest in unique ways within each. The Institute is founded on the principle that poverty and inequality are the root causes for many emerging and existing social issues; this guiding framework, when applied to research, can lead to improvements in social development. Thus the Institute for Social Development has four intertwined purposes:

Research: Produce top-tier research through collaborations between faculty members at ECNU and NYU that carries great implications to inform policy and practice in local, national, and global contexts. Poverty and inequality will serve as the guiding framework for research in the following three priority areas: migration and immigrants; children, youth, and families; and aging. Research in each of these areas will address issues such as the economic, emotional, and physical well-being of individuals and families, including the contributing factors, the contexts, and the mechanisms that promote positive and healthy well-being.

Education: Provide and exchange educational curriculum at both ECNU and NYU to advance professional and cultural competency at both universities with the aim of providing doctoral, master's and bachelor's degrees at the NYU Shanghai campus.

Collaboration and Exchanges: Institute opportunities for both ECNU and NYU faculty, students, and researchers to collaborate on education and research; provide opportunities for these scholars to visit both campuses (NYU and NYU Shanghai); organize regular national and international conferences as a platform to facilitate exchanges and collaborations among scholars from both societies.

Training: Provide education and training programs to students and faculty members as well as to personnel currently employed in government and nongovernmental social service-related agencies to advance the social work profession in local, national, and global contexts through both ECNU and NYU. Another important purpose and source of training will be to provide opportunities to translate scientific knowledge gained through our research projects into language, knowledge, and skills that can be applied and understood in the field and by the general public.