Becoming Relevant: How Can Research Impact Policy and Practice?

Hesburgh Center C103
8:30 a.m., February 14, 2020

In his most recent book Cult of the Irrelevant: The Waning Influence of Social Science on National Security (Princeton University Press, 2019), Faculty Fellow Michael Desch argues that social scientists have lost influence with policymakers as academia increasingly prioritizes rigor over relevance, to the detriment of both society and the disciplines.

Desch will give a brief overview of the main arguments in his book, followed by a dialogue moderated by Kellogg Institute Director Paolo Carozza aimed at engaging seminar participants, including PIs from the new Kellogg Policy and Practice Research Labs. With an eye toward integrating best practices moving forward within the Keough School and the broader university, this discussion is open to all faculty and graduate students.

Complimentary copies of the book are available through the event registration.  Participants are encouraged to prepare for the conversation by reading chapters 1, 8, and 9. A recent article Desch wrote for the Social Science Research Council also provides helpful insights into his perspective.

A light breakfast will be provided.

This event is presented by the Keough School and its Kellogg Institute for International Studies.

Registration is required. A limited number of complimentary books will be available to registered participants by request.  Please click here to register.

Originally published at


Michael C. Desch

Packey J. Dee Professor, International Relations, University of Notre Dame; Founding Director, Notre Dame International Security Center