Vanderbilt Announces Creation of The Vanderbilt Policy Accelerator for Political Economy and Regulation

Vanderbilt University announced today the creation of the Vanderbilt Policy Accelerator for Political Economy and Regulation, a six million dollar effort to advance research, education and ideas.

The Vanderbilt Policy Accelerator is part of Discovery Vanderbilt, a groundbreaking initiative to bolster innovative research and education at Vanderbilt. The policy accelerator will be based in the Law School and led by New York Alumni Chancellor’s Chair and Professor of Law Ganesh Sitaraman. Sitaraman brings extensive experience in politics and public policy, and will collaborate with multiple peers within Vanderbilt Law School and the university at large.

“Discovery Vanderbilt provides the resources and support to empower cutting-edge research that can make significant impact locally and globally,” Provost C. Cybele Raver said. “Ganesh is a dynamic, highly accomplished scholar in law, government and political thought; he’ll bring tremendous expertise in leading this innovative new effort to solve some of the most important policy challenges of our time.”

In 2022, a committee of faculty from across the institution considered options for enhancing public policy at Vanderbilt. VPA leverages Discovery Vanderbilt funding to extend Vanderbilt’s strengths in public policy—which includes Peabody College’s work on education policy, the College of Arts and Science’s leadership on civic and social science policy and Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s work on public health—to issues on political economy and regulation.

“I am honored to lead the Vanderbilt Policy Accelerator,” Sitaraman said. “We plan to cultivate, grow and spread innovative research and policy ideas—and at a rapid pace that aligns with the urgency of the challenges we face.”

The Vanderbilt Policy Accelerator’s first initiative is its Project on Networks, Platforms and Utilities, an effort to revive and reimagine regulation in the transportation, communications, energy, banking and technology sectors. This work, already underway, has been led by Sitaraman and Professor Morgan Ricks, Herman O. Loewenstein Chair in Law. Together, Sitaraman and Ricks recently published Networks, Platforms & Utilities, the first casebook in the field in a quarter century, co-authored with Shelley Welton (University of Pennsylvania) and Lev Menand (Columbia).

“From supply chain disruptions and airline flight cancellations to issues with big tech platforms, new research into the law governing networks, platforms and utilities couldn’t be more timely,” said Chris Guthrie, dean of the Vanderbilt University Law School. “The Vanderbilt Policy Accelerator’s work helps advance productive and cross-partisan solutions to these pressing problems.”

“We live in a time of great transformations in our economy,” Chancellor Daniel Diermeier said. “These changes create an opportunity to advance new paradigms, research and policy ideas through bold scholarship and collaboration. The Vanderbilt Policy Accelerator will put us at the forefront of these efforts.”

Scholars, students, policymakers and the public are encouraged to visit vu.edu/vpa to learn more about the Vanderbilt Policy Accelerator’s work and sign up to receive updates.

About Ganesh Sitaraman: Ganesh Sitaraman is the New York Alumni Chancellor’s Chair at Vanderbilt Law School. He is the author or co-author of five books, including The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution, a 2017 New York Times Notable Book, and most recently, Networks, Platforms & Utilities. Sitaraman currently serves on the Administrative Conference of the United States, the FAA’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee, and the boards of The American Prospect and the American Constitution Society. He was a senior adviser to Sen. Elizabeth Warren during her presidential campaign and her senior counsel in the U.S. Senate. Sitaraman’s work at the nexus of ideas, politics and public policy has led to profiles in The New York Times and Politico.  Sitaraman is a graduate of Harvard College, the University of Cambridge and Harvard Law School. He joined Vanderbilt in 2011.

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