Griffin Applied Economics Incubator

Applying economics to drive change. 

The Kenneth C. Griffin Applied Economics Incubator is a hub for generating new initiatives and ideas that drive broad-based thought and policy change. 

About the Incubator

The Griffin Applied Economics Incubator aims to elevate the status of the University of Chicago as a hub for generating key initiatives that drive broad-based thought and policy changes. Each academic year, the Incubator is dedicated to a specific topic of importance to society that stands to benefit from focused research attention and ideation. Scholars from all disciplines, as well as practitioners and policy makers are engaged in the Incubator’s activities.


Incubator 2021-22

This year’s Griffin Applied Economics Incubator explores the potential implications of using machine learning and big data to understand economic questions.

For years, firms have achieved incredible successes in harnessing the power of bigger and better datasets using novel techniques from machine learning, computer science, and statistics. This revolution has helped make substantial progress on long-standing problems, such as speech and image recognition.

The Incubator will bring together an interdisciplinary team of researchers and thought leaders to unravel some of the methodological and substantive questions which arise in the age of big data.

 Incubator Activities


The Incubator will generate a range of publications, including journal articles, opinion pieces, and books, ensuring that the ideas generated by its participants reach fellow scholars, policymakers, and members of the public.

Research Grants

Financial support for new research on each of the elements of the Global Energy Challenge – energy markets, pollution, and climate change – is a core component of the Incubator.

Visitors Program

Intellectual exchange is essential to producing innovative ideas and establishing new research partnerships. The Incubator will welcome visitors and collaborators from around the world.


Through seminars, academic conferences, and other events, the Incubator will encourage interaction and scholarship across a variety of fields on energy, environmental and climate change topics.

 News + Announcements

The 2020-21 Griffin Applied Economics Incubator on the Global Energy Challenge is pleased to announce a call for proposals. The Incubator welcomes proposals on any aspect of the challenge, in any country or context. 

Incubator events are currently on hiatus in accordance with public health guidance. 

Policymaking Is Not a Science (Yet)” – John List and Dana Suskind on Freakonomics Radio

What cutting-edge neuroscience tells us about early childhood development” – Dr. Dana Suskind in the Brookings Institution’s Chalkboard

Basing Laws on Nothing Is Easier Than Using Evidence” – John List and Eszter Czibor in The Atlantic

University Of Chicago Professors Dana Suskind And John List Go Beyond The Word Gap” – Forbes

Questions about the The Kenneth C. Griffin Applied Incubator? For general inquiries, contact Diana Smith at