About the SPEC Lab

The Security and Political Economy (SPEC) Lab conducts interdisciplinary, policy-relevant research on issues at the intersection of climate change, security, and economic development. These research projects provide opportunities for undergraduate students to develop data science and other research skills and apply them directly to the policy challenges facing national governments and international institutions.

The interdisciplinary nature of the SPEC Lab draws students from a wide range of fields including International Relations, Economics, Computer Science, Political Science, Environmental Studies, and Mathematics. We focus in particular on recruiting and serving female, minority, and first generation students. In a close-knit, supportive research community we are building the next generation of social science researchers.  

In the SPEC lab, we learn by doing. Junior lab members receive, and senior lab members help provide, formal training, but from day one lab members are working alongside faculty and doctoral students on cutting edge research projects, every one of which is aimed toward producing actionable research findings. Every exercise is live. That means mistakes are costly, but successes deliver more than a grade – they deliver policy-relevant results that address some of the world's most pressing global challenges.