In an increasingly complex and interdependent world, no one institution can solve global problems on its own. Whether in specific places or across national or geographical boundaries, the challenges of our times require myriad resources and expertise that span the public, private and non-profit sectors. Consequently, the Earth Institute and Dr. David Maurrasse of Columbia University and Marga Incorporated created the Program on Strategic Partnerships and Innovation to better understand the complexities of advancing social development and innovation through strategic partnerships.


The Program on Strategic Partnerships and Innovation researches the role and manifestations of public, private and non-profit partnerships in problem-solving and innovation during our complex present times and into the future. The nexus between these three sectors is the space in which the kinds of strategic partnerships that can adequately meet today’s challenges can emerge. While the concept of public/private partnerships has gained significant momentum in recent years, more comprehensive efforts are beginning to take form, which include explicitly civil society organizations. The program’s mission is to advance the understanding around the preconditions, development, strengthening, stability, effectiveness, and relevance of these partnerships. Ultimately, the program seeks to identify promising practices for creating and sustaining strategic, cross-sector partnerships.