Become a PAE/SYPA client

The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation is proud to support public and non-profit organizations committed to deepening democracy at home and abroad. The capstone of the School’s MPP program – the Policy Analysis Exercise (or PAE) – provides students with the opportunity to apply their training to produce high-quality professional policy analysis for a client organization.

Click here to view PAE and SYPA (Second Year Policy Analysis, the equivalent capstone project in the MPA program at HKS) which the Ash Center has supported in the past.

We would like to increase the number of students with PAE client organizations working in the democracy space. In particular, we are looking for projects that allow students to examine and develop strategic responses to the core structural challenges faced by democracy in the United States and elsewhere around the world. This kind of project might include finding ways of getting more people involved in the electoral process as well as engaging them beyond the ballot box; helping citizens and communities to become better organized to make their voices heard; and building stronger coalitions of organizations that advance agendas of institutional reform that deepen democracy.

Our MPP students are passionate about public service and approach their PAE projects with a wealth of professional experience and a strong base of training in a broad variety of analytic tools. PAE students are advised by two Kennedy School faculty members, who provide guidance throughout the process of designing and completing the final product.  The final PAE product is presented as a 40-page research report that provides actionable recommendations to the client. Students have also produced supplementary products adapted from the PAE, including slide decks, policy briefs, and reports that can be shared more broadly.

In the past, engaging one or more MPP students has provided a valuable analytic resource for advancing strategic decision making in client organizations. While students conduct the research work independently, regular contact between the client and the student is an important determinant of the ultimate success of the project. There is no requirement for the number of calls/meetings between the student and the client, and you and the student would have substantial flexibility to develop a schedule of check-ins that work for clients. 

We are excited to help connect HKS students with organizations working in the democracy space. If you have work in mind that could serve as a PAE project or would like to learn more about becoming a PAE client, please contact Tim Glynn-Burke for more details.