Institute for Economic and Racial Equity

IERE and the Kapor Center Partnering to Demolish Digital Inequity

Kapor Center LogoThe Institute for Economic and Racial Equity (IERE) is excited to announce a gift from the Kapor Center, a CA-based nonprofit dedicated to leveling the playing field in the tech industry, to study the intersection between technology and social justice. Over the next two years, this gift will allow IERE and the Heller School for Social Policy and Management to significantly expand its focus into the next generation of policy challenges with a new Racial Justice x Tech Policy (RJxTP) Initiative.

“This gift from the Kapor Center will allow us to stand at the forefront of policy research,” said IERE Director Dr. Maria Madison, “but more importantly it will allow us to directly confront the digital divide by empowering young scholars of color to confront injustice in the field of tech and develop solutions for a more equitable future.”

The Heller RJxTP Initiative builds on the work begun by our Heller alumna, Gabrielle Hibbert, MA SID’21, and highlights exceptional programs such as PhD student Janelle Ridley’s H.O.P.E. Institute. The inaugural leadership team includes these individuals as well as Dr. Alexandra Piñeros Shields, PhD’07, and new hires.

The gift will enable us to incubate scholarship and policy proposals related to equity in tech, building a pipeline of scholars connecting to mentors and advisors of color. The initiative will receive further guidance from the RJxTP Thought Leadership Team, whose membership includes Drs. Freada Kapor Klein, PhD’84, Anita Hill, Allison Scott, and Lili Gangas.

Major activities include:

Hidden Bias Research Prize. We will be hosting a research and policy proposal competition, bringing together researchers, students, and practitioners to investigate hidden biases in the field of tech and develop innovative solutions for a more equitable society. Stay in touch, so you don’t miss the Hidden Bias Research Prize call for submissions this spring.

Hiring and enrolling Racial Justice x Tech Policy Scholars of Color. In the next few months, new scholars and students of color will join the IERE team to work on its new Tech Policy research focus area in a cluster hire, including an Equity in Tech Policy A.I. Research Director, scholars-in-residence, and multiple other staff positions. These faculty and staff members will act as mentors and resources to Fellows and Graduate Research Assistants who join the RJxTP initiative, develop projects that further racial justice in tech, and create reports and policy proposals that address pressing issues in the intersection between tech policy and equity.

Courses and credentialing. IERE will be driving the expansion of knowledge about Racial Justice and Tech issues both at Brandeis and beyond, with new courses and seminars that explore key issues related to technology’s impact across racial determinants of inequity including data privacy and security, algorithmic bias, and machine learning. These courses, some of which will confer micro-credentials, will be open both to students and professionals and launch this spring.

Professional panels of leaders on Racial Justice x Tech Policy. IERE will also spread knowledge at Brandeis and the broader community by hosting panels and seminars with global experts in the field, Heller alumni, and practitioners.

For more information about the RJxTP Initiative and to keep up with the exciting work happening at IERE, be sure to subscribe to our mailing list or follow IERE on Twitter. If you want more information about the RJxTP Initiative or if you have any questions, please email