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Institute Objectives

Shangai, China

The objective of the Morrison Institute is to lead interdisciplinary study of population growth and its effects on social structures, national economies, resource availability, and the environment throughout the world. The three major facets to this endeavor — research, education, and contribution to the formation of policy — overlap in the major programs of the institute.

Shangai Skyline

International Exchange

The visiting fellows’ program bring to Stanford scholars from developed and less-developed countries to study population, environment, resource management, and sustainable development. Through this arm of the program, a joint research project has been established with the Population Research Institute of Xi’an Jiaotong University, People’s Republic of China.

Student Support

Through the grants and training program, the institute helps sponsor research projects by Stanford students, usually in fieldwork that contributes to their dissertations and to the study of population problems (e.g., on-site study of population growth as a factor in the destruction of the tropical forests of Latin America). About eighty students have been supported in this way, with the numbers growing each year. In addition, many interdisciplinary courses are available, and students majoring in Human Biology and Public Policy can specialize in population studies.


Workshops and seminars allow the exchange of ideas among faculty of different disciplines and between researchers and policy makers (e.g., Human Demography and Natural Resources). Institute reports and studies are available to the general public and especially to world leaders and government authorities. The institute cooperates with school systems, public-policy makers, nongovernmental organizations, coalitions of professional bodies, and student and faculty groups (e.g., Global Tomorrow Coalition, Forum of International Development Organizations) to organize conferences and to produce study materials, policy papers, and articles on matters pertaining to population, environment, resources, and development.