The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. Its work focuses on important issues of the day, including health, education, national security, international affairs, law and business, and the environment. As a nonpartisan organization, RAND does its work independent of political and commercial pressures. With its emphasis on high-quality and objective research and analysis and with sophisticated analytical tools developed over many years, RAND engages clients to create knowledge, insight, information, options, and solutions that will be both effective and enduring.
It was on May 14, 1948, that Project RAND — which began in the waning days of World War II as part of the Douglas Aircraft Company of Santa Monica, California — separated from Douglas and became an independent, nonprofit organization. Adopting its name from a contraction of the term research and development, the newly formed entity was dedicated to furthering and promoting scientific, educational, and charitable purposes for the public welfare and security of the United States. RAND assembled a unique corps of researchers, notable not only for individual skills but also for interdisciplinary cooperation. By the 1960s, RAND was bringing its trademark mode of empirical, nonpartisan, independent analysis to the study of many urgent domestic social and economic problems.
Most of RAND’s work is funded by public and private grantors and clients, but in addition to sponsored studies, philanthropic dollars help support RAND's Investment in People and Ideas program. The program supports both research inquiries into critical but often underappreciated policy areas and the continuing effort to attract the world's top talent to focus on these challenges.
Well over 20,000 reports, articles, books and papers have been published with the RAND byline over the years. Just within the past several months, its publications have addressed a broad range of significant issues, such as strategies for rebuilding Haiti, understanding higher diabetes rates among Americans, evaluating No Child Left Behind, pros and cons of legalizing marijuana in California, the alarming incidence of obesity in America, understanding the conflict in Yemen, trends and consequences of delaying retirement, how the Middle East strategic landscape has been reshaped, why many Americans avoid flu vaccine, mental health challenges for returning veterans, and addressing the nation’s transportation infrastructure needs.
RAND’s research is aimed primarily at improving the quality of information available to decisionmakers addressing national and global issues. But the communities in which its offices are located benefit in special ways. RAND staff can be found serving local community-based nonprofit agencies as leaders and volunteers. RAND frequently lends its analytical skills to assist local decisionmakers, particularly those facing tough choices in public education, infrastructure and economic development, health care, environment, public safety and emergency preparedness, and local governance.
Although the topics that RAND addresses change over time, and whether they are matters global, national or local importance, certain things remain constant: RAND’s core values of quality and objectivity, its focus on facts and evidence, and its mission to help improve policy by providing the most relevant information available to the appropriate decisionmakers.