Internal Allied Centers:

Population Aging Research Center (PARC)

The Population Aging Research Center (PARC) fosters research on the demography and economics of health and aging. It solicits and encourages research on population and aging across the University of Pennsylvania and also sponsors global networks of population aging researchers. It is especially committed to research on aging from a population perspective that takes advantage of complementarities between the social and biological sciences, and which views aging within a life course framework. PARC was established at Penn in 1994 by former PSC Director Samuel Preston. It has enjoyed continuous funding as a research center under a succession of P30 awards from the National Institute of Aging (NIA). The leadership of PARC and the PSC have long been intertwined: Preston was the first PARC Director; former PSC Research Associates Beth Soldo, Claudia Valeggia, and Irma Elo are former directors. Currently, PARC is being co-directed by Hans-Peter Kohler and Norma Coe, both PSC Research Associates. There is a close synergy between the PSC and PARC. PARC and PSC have large membership overlaps and thus work together to create efficiencies in grants management, computing, and administration. PARC partners annually with the PSC in sponsoring the university-wide Quartet Pilot Project Competition, a seed grant competition that supports population-related research via awards to early career researchers and/or small grants for proposal development. These include PARC-sponsored awards on themes of interest to the Population Dynamics Branch of NICHD, including cohort studies of the life-long effects of investments in child health, and the study of human mortality.

Center for Health Initiatives and Behavioral Economics (CHIBE)

CHIBE is part of the Division of Health Policy in the Perelman School of Medicine. The Division was established in 2014. CHIBE conducts behavioral economics research aimed at reducing the disease burden of major U.S. public health problems. It is one of two such NIH-funded Centers in the U.S. The center’s mission is to inform health policy, improve healthcare delivery and increase healthy behavior. Behavioral economics is a field that uses principles of economics and psychology to understand how individuals make decisions. Those insights are then used to help people make choices that are consistent with their own long-term interests. The center is particularly strong in the development and testing of health interventions. CHIBE’S objectives merge well with the primary research areas of the PSC and bring a policy perspective to population science. CHIBE’s Associate Director Harsha Thirumurthy has long been a Research Associate of the PSC. We have ongoing collaborations on issues related to human resources and endowments. The Division also includes PSC Research Associates Kevin Volpp, and Atheendar Venkataramani as primary faculty and Alison Buttenheim, and Norma Coe (Co-PI PARC) as affiliated faculty. Moving forward, it is likely that the PSC will recruit further Research Associates from the Division of Health Policy. Recent examples include Norma Coe who arrives to the PSC as part of the collaboration with the aging center and “big data” initiative, Diana Montoya-Williams who collaborates with Boen and Parrado, and Eugenia South who also collaborates with Boen and MacDonald.

Boettner Center for Pensions and Retirement Security 

The Boettner Center for Pensions and Retirement Research has as its mission the support of scholarly research, teaching, and outreach on global aging, successful retirement, and public and private pensions. The center also disseminates research findings to international audiences of academics and policymakers and supports data development efforts at the University of Pennsylvania. Core concerns of the Boettner Center-- population aging, the economics of intergenerational exchange, and health and investment across the life cycle--overlap with those of the PSC. The Boettner Center was recruited to Penn during the early 1990s by former PSC Directors Samuel Preston and Jane Menken as the Boettner Institute of Financial Gerontology. It was originally a part of the PSC and it is now located in the Wharton School, where it is directed by Olivia Mitchell, a long-time member of the PSC. The Boettner Advisory Board draws heavily from the PSC leadership. Boettner partners annually with the PSC in sponsoring the university-wide Quartet Pilot Project Competition. The awards funded by the Center bear on subjects of direct interest to the Population Dynamics Branch of NICHD and help expand the training capacity of the PSC.

Perry World House (PWH)

Perry World House at the University of Pennsylvania is a global policy research center that advances interdisciplinary, policy-relevant research on the world’s most urgent challenges. PWH draws on the wide range of expertise found across Penn’s 12 Schools, connecting Penn with policymakers, practitioners, and researchers from around the world to develop and advance innovative policy proposals. From its inception, Perry World House has placed issues of population change and population policy at the top of its agenda, with Global Shifts: Urbanization, Migration, and Demography as one of its two inaugural themes. High-level workshops, conferences, engagements, and publications link Penn to the global policy community. Political Science Professor Michael Horowitz directs the center. He, his colleagues, and staff work closely with the leadership and staff of the PSC on numerous conferences, workshops, and agendas of mutual interest, including support for NICHD-sponsored research. The global vision embodied in PWH’s name works well with the PSC’s international research agenda. PSC Research Associates are frequent contributors of expertise to the PWH program. PWH’s strong connection to the PSC puts the PSC “up front” in public events with local and global luminaries. The PSC benefits especially from PWH’s facilities. Perry World House is located in a new, state-of-the-art building at the center of Penn’s campus, just across a pedestrian bridge from the PSC. Its central location and excellent resources provide a great setting for conferences, workshops, and seminars.


Internal Allied Initiatives:

Data Driven Discovery Initiative (DDDI)

The Data Driven Discovery Initiative (DDDI), a central pillar of the SAS Strategic plan, serves as a hub for data science education and research in SAS. It was established under the belief that data science is a powerful avenue for researchers in disciplines as diverse as sociology, neuroscience, and astrophysics to exchange ideas and work together on cutting edge research. Thus, its objective and orientation merge well with the PSC themes. The initiative provides a forum for interactions aimed at sparking discoveries by Penn faculty and students working across disciplinary boundaries, including population scientists. DDDI has launched two initiatives where PSC Research Associates participate: a data science postdoctoral fellow program and the Data Science for Social Good seed grant program. Parrado has received funding from the latter program to study court data on immigration. Xi Song, PI of the PSC scientific/technical core, is a member of the DDDI executive committee. We anticipate this collaboration to grow and to become central to the promotion of population science and junior scientists at Penn. The PSC and DDDI are jointly organizing workshops and training activities around data issues. We are also supporting hires connected to the initiative, such as David Kirk arriving at Penn in 2024 from Oxford. Learn more about the DDDI: