Applied Policy Research Institute (APRI)


The Applied Policy Research Institute or APRI for short is a non-partisan, applied policy research organization at Wright State University. We are a team of researchers, data analysts, and former legislative staff members with over two decades worth of experience in providing objective research and data-driven analysis. We have trained experts in strategic planning, impact analysis, GIS, and policy analysis. APRI also conducts primary data collection and analysis as it contains its own phone survey lab. 

Our Mission

APRI’s mission is to provide leaders in government, the non-profit sector and others with independent, objective analysis and data-driven policy research in order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their decisions.

Our Vision

APRI believes that the most effective policy decisions—those that ultimately carry the greatest benefit for the intended stakeholders—are the ones that rely on data-driven analysis and careful research of the relevant facts. APRI lends its research expertise so that leaders in the region, state, and national level can make and execute informed, effective decisions.   

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why did APRI change its name?

    APRI has existed for three decades as the Center for Urban and Public Affairs (CUPA), and has provided thoughtful research, data analysis, and technical expertise to a host of local decision-makers, and is now poised for even more consistent growth. In order to adequately support that growth, CUPA’s director and its staff, with support of University leadership determined a new name was needed that recognizes CUPA’s history and foundation, captures its future strategic direction, and clearly and concisely describes the organization’s future work. Thus, as the organization has broadened its mission and expanded and diversified its portfolio, it also updated its name to the Applied Policy Research Institute. This name not only clearly indicates the applied policy research of the organization, but also marks growth from a center to an institute. Traditionally, centers have a more narrow focus. Institutes, however, by their definition are known to focus on a wide range of issues, and in academia, a policy institute also often encompasses a focus on student achievement in applied policy, something CUPA had not included to date, but will going forward as APRI.

  • Who does APRI serve?

    APRI's clients have included local and state government, as well as non-profits of various sizes and scopes. By providing these clients with objective, data-driven research and analysis, we believe the ultimate beneficiaries of our work are the constituents that our clients serve. 

  • Does APRI's research include program evaluation?

    Absolutely. Public programs are often the result of implemented policies, and require research and evaluation to determine their efficiency, effectiveness, and overall return on investment from tax dollars. Since APRI was established in 1986 it has worked with clients to systematically evaluate public programs of varying scopes and sizes.

  • Is APRI an academic unit?

    No. Although APRI is part of Wright State University's College of Liberal Arts, it is not an academic unit. The staff are dedicated to performing the applied policy research needed by clients, and they do not teach classes as members of the Institute. However, APRI does collaborate with members of faculty when applicable in order to maximize research outcomes for clients and stakeholders. Additionally, because APRI staff members are experts in their respective fields, they may also serve as adjunct faculty members from time to time, outside the scope of their duties as APRI employees. 

  • Why can't I access all the research you've done?

    Our new website is intended to make our research and expertise more accessible than it has been in the past. To that end, we have already posted several research products we've done, and will continue to post research, analyses, and briefings going forward whenever possible. However, from time to time, APRI is hired to do research that a client may wish to keep confidential. In these cases, we will respect the client's wishes. If there are broader policy lessons to be gleaned, we will make every effort to publish those general applied policy lessons without compromising the confidentiality of the client. 


APRI was first established in 1986 as the Center for Urban and Public Affairs (or CUPA) and has become a trusted resource for governments, non-profits, and other community-based organizations in the Miami Valley. Since its inception, APRI has provided thoughtful research, data analysis, and technical expertise to a host of decision-makers. APRI's staff members are experts in a variety of policy topics and research methods including economic analyses, survey research, data collection methods, geospatial analysis, and policy and program evaluation. 

As CUPA, the institute was originally established as part of the state of Ohio’s Urban University Program, and received dedicated state funding up until 2009. Today, APRI is growing, diversifying its research portfolio, and has a vision to offer its data-driven research and analysis to decision-makers at the state and national level in addition to those at the local and regional level.  In 2016, APRI officially announced its new name, and an updated logo and website to mark that growth.