Old Blake Hall and Fraser Hall from the Museum Building, 1906

Institute for Policy & Social Research History

Municipal Reference Bureau

IPSR’s lineage begins with the 1910 creation of the Municipal Reference Bureau. The Municipal Reference Bureau operated under KU’s Extension Division. It served city officials who needed information on municipal problems.

Bureau of Governmental Research and Service

In 1925, the Bureau moved to the main library of KU under the direction of the Extension Department and the Political Science Department. At this time the name was changed to the Bureau of Governmental Research and Service. In 1928, the Political Science Department took full control of the organization.

Bureau of Government Research

In September 1945, the Bureau was reorganized as an independent agency at KU. Its name changed to Bureau of Government Research.* Newly under the supervision of a director, the agency’s scope of research and publications enlarged to cover the field of government at all levels – local, state, national, and international.

From Governmental Research Center to the Institute for Public Policy and Business Research

In December 1952, the Bureau became the Governmental Research Center.**

The KU Board of Regents changed the center’s name and focus in 1965, establishing the Center for Regional Studies “for the general purpose of contributing toward a better understanding of the process of regional growth and development.”***

In 1966, the Center published the first edition of the Kansas Statistical Abstract.

In 1971, the Center was reformed as the Institute for Social and Environmental Studies. It was renamed the Center for Public Affairs in 1979, and renamed again around 1984 as the Institute for Public Policy and Business Research. During this time that the well-known "Redwood-Krider" report was published. This report recommended steps to enhance future of economic development in Kansas. These recommendations shaped the state's efforts for the next two decades.

Institute for Policy & Social Research

Institute for Policy & Social Research was established in 2000 as the Policy Research Institute under the direction of Steven Maynard-Moody. Its name changed in 2006, signifying an expanded mission to serve social sciences at KU.

Today, IPSR brings together social scientists from a broad range of disciplines to pursue and conduct sponsored research at the international, national, regional, state, and local levels. IPSR-affiliated faculty represent disciplines across 11 schools, in fields including economics, education, environmental studies, geography, political science, public administration, social welfare, sociology, and urban planning.


* Governmental Agencies of the State of Kansas, 1861-1946, Bessie E. Wilder, Bureau of Government Research, University of Kansas, 1946.

** Governmental Agencies of the State of Kansas, 1861-1956, Bessie E. Wilder, Governmental Research Center, University of Kansas, 1957. Available from Kansas Government Information Online Library.

***Kanas Statistical Abstract 1965. Center for Regional Studies, the University of Kansas. 1966.