The Institute for Population Research [IPR] is a multi-disciplinary research center that nurtures population and health research at The Ohio State University.
IPR has four major thematic emphases:
- Sexual and Reproductive Health
- Family Demography (including union formation/dissolution and transition to adulthood)
- Mortality and Health Over the Life Course
Beyond these four themes, IPR supports research in all facets of population and health, broadly defined.
IPR faculty and graduate student affiliates span six colleges and sixteen departments, and IPR serves as a bridge between behavioral and biomedical scientists at OSU.
Activities and services include: seed grant program; rapid response grants; administrative assistance in the submission of applications for external funding; data services (with emphasis on secure/restricted data); travel support for participation in conferences; weekly seminar; office space. IPR prioritizes investments in multi-disciplinary projects and in junior faculty.
Leadership and Staff
The current Director is Dr. John Casterline, Robert T. Lazarus Professor in Population Studies and Professor of Sociology. The Associate Director is Dr. Sarah Hayford, Professor of Sociology. Dr. Maria Gallo and Dr. Elisabeth Root are the other two members of the IPR Leadership Committee.
Infrastructure and Services
IPR occupies a 7300 sq ft suite of offices in OSU's Townshend Hall, comprising a dedicated seminar room, several small meeting rooms, offices for faculty affiliates, graduate student suite, and space for hosting research projects including projects requiring special consideration for restricted or sensitive data.
Senior Grants Specialist Jill Morris provides assistance in the submission of proposals for external funding (especially NIH).
Senior Research Associate Beth Boettner provides assistance with the management of restricted data.
Research Scientist Jason Thomas provides statistical advice and computing (including programming) assistance.
Seminars - Weekly seminars provide a forum for scholars from other universities and OSU faculty to present ongoing research to a multidisciplinary audience. The annual Huber Lecture in the Spring features an eminent scholar from outside OSU.
Seed Grants - IPR annually extends 4-8 seed grants to affiliates for work towards submission of applications for external funding. Priority is given to multi-disciplinary projects and to more junior faculty.
Rapid Response Grants – small grants are available to cover last-minute costs in the construction of an application for external funding.
Didactic Workshops– Periodically IPR offers workshops on technical matters, including procedures and tools for conducting transparent and reproducible research.
Graduate Students - IPR provides office space for fifteen graduate students, and graduate students are active participants in all IPR activities. Each Autumn, IPR organizes a graduate student conference jointly with the population center at Bowling Green State University. In 2015, IPR began offering the Graduate Interdisplinary Specialization in Demography; new cohorts enroll each Autumn.
The Institute for Population Research was established in 2000 as the Initiative in Population Research with the goal of building excellence at Ohio State in population and health research.
IPR has grown enormously in the twenty years since its creation, thanks in part to internal and external grants. An initial five-year R21 infrastructure award from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) was received in 2004. The OSU Targeted Investment in Excellence (TIE) in Population and Health, launched in 2006, supported crucial faculty hires and provided funds for the renovation of IPR’s office suite. In 2009, IPR successfully competed for a five-year $2.2 million NICHD R24 infrastructure award. This grant (P2C-HD058484) was renewed in 2014 for $2.2 million and again in 2019 for $2.7 million.
In 2012, the OSU Faculty Senate approved IPR’s proposal to become a university center, and IPR was renamed Institute for Population Research.
Successive Directors of IPR have been: Daniel Lichter, 2000 – 2005; Randall Olsen, 2005 – 2009; John Casterline, 2009 – 2020.
The Population Association of America [PAA] and the Association of Population Centers [APC] issued a statement on racial justice. The statement acknowledges the existence of historically-grounded racial inequalities, with consequences for well-being in every respect, including health. And it expresses a determination to work to rectify this injustice.
As Director of IPR, I fully and strongly endorse the PAA-APC statement. I trust I speak for the community of scholars that constitutes IPR in affirming a commitment to making our distinctive contribution to becoming a more just society.
I welcome your input about initiatives IPR might take. I have already received some suggestions that are under active consideration.
I will note here that the IPR Seminar this coming academic year will have racial inequality as a thematic emphasis. Details forthcoming soon.
Institute for Population Research
Statement from the Presidents of PAA and APC
As the presidents of the Population Association of America and Association of Population Centers, we want to express how profoundly recent events have affected us as individuals, the organizations we lead, and our members. The recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and other Black Americans due to police violence–and in the context of a long history of such incidents–vividly demonstrate the insidious and pervasive effects of racial inequality. These recent deaths come during a public health crisis in which Black Americans, Native Americans, and Latinx Americans die at disproportionately higher rates and experience greater economic hardship than White Americans. We mourn with the nation and stand in support with the millions of individuals who are demanding an end to systemic racism by making clear that Black Lives Matter.
Population scientists are committed to understanding how factors, including educational opportunity, income and wealth, psychological stress, the social and physical environment, and public policies affect health and well-being. We endeavor to develop research findings that will inform policies designed to rectify racial inequality and improve the lives of all Americans. Our organizations are also dedicated to mentoring and promoting the careers of population scientists and to addressing racism that we know, unfortunately, exists within our own field. To this end, the PAA is leading several efforts. First, the PAA Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is developing a range of initiatives, including a webinar series that will focus on research related to this topic. Within the population research centers, initiatives are underway to address pipeline challenges by introducing underrepresented undergraduates, through in-depth summer programming, to the theory and methods of population scientists, and to the careers they may explore with such training.
While these are important steps, we know much more action is needed. We encourage members to share their thoughts and suggestions through the PAA Engage online forum. We underscore that listening is also extremely important. Thus, PAA and APC pledge to consider input from members in a transparent, inclusive manner and to take action to promote equality, enhance professional engagement, and, critically, contribute toward broader efforts to end the scourge of racism that divides our nation and limits opportunity for all.