A Case Study in Community Building

A key component of the Tobin Project’s model for catalyzing transformative research is to engage leading scholars across disciplines and institutions and to develop connections with policymakers working on related issues. This is not only because scholars are the main drivers of new research and policymakers will draw on these ideas in shaping public policy, but also because the Tobin Project has found there to be unique possibilities when individuals come together in community. While the lone scholar remains an archetype within the social sciences, the Tobin Project has found collaborative, cross-disciplinary engagement a more effective mechanism for identifying strategic research questions, developing pioneering research on this questions, disseminating new ideas to those best-positioned to use them, and creating ongoing momentum around a shared commitment to scholarship on issues of pressing importance. The Tobin Project’s work on National Security, and its current focus on sustainable security, perhaps best exemplifies the importance and power of community in incubating, producing, and sharing potent new research.

2006-01-01 12:44:37


The Tobin Project convenes a National Security & Foreign Policy working group of political scientists and policymakers, chaired by Stephen Van Evera.

2007-05-01 12:44:37

Spring/summer 2007

The Tobin Project hosts working group meetings on national security issues, expanding participation and developing an intellectual path forward.

2008-12-01 12:44:37

December 2008

The Tobin Project convenes a conference, which draws more than fifty political scientists, historians, policymakers and practitioners.

2009-06-01 12:44:37

Spring 2009

The Tobin Project refines research questions surfaced at the conference, developing an inquiry on nonkinetic power in U.S. national security strategy.

2009-12-01 12:44:37

December 2009

The Tobin Project convenes a conference on nonkinetic power that includes a wider range of policymakers and scholars.

2010-04-01 12:44:37

April 2010

Building on the inclusion of graduate students in the 2008 and 2009 conferences, Tobin initiates a focused program for graduate students.

2010-07-01 12:44:37

July 2010

Tobin scholars Jeremi Suri (UT-Austin) and Deepak Malhotra (HBS) present their conference research to policymakers and researchers in Washington, D.C.

2010-12-01 12:44:37

December 2010

The Tobin Project holds a conference, building the research community, addressing unanswered questions, and developing new lines of inquiry.

2011-05-01 12:44:37

May 2011

Growing out of a connection forged at the 2010 conference, Tobin Project scholars share their work with former diplomats and think tank researchers.

2011-09-01 12:44:37

Fall 2011

Professors Suri, Van Evera, and Valentino work closely with the Tobin Project to chart a strategic path forward, focusing on “Sustainable Security.”

A Case Study in Community Building

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