Nudge4 Solutions Lab

We spearheaded the launch of the Nudge4 Solutions Lab by Dr. Ben Castleman of the University of Virginia to pilot low-cost and high-impact behavioral solutions to address pressing social problems, and we have supported it since its creation. The Lab, which has since gained support from leading national funders, develops scalable solutions in education and public policy by leveraging behavioral insights, data science, interactive technologies and deep practitioner partnerships. The solutions target four priority areas: reducing educational inequality; improving educational outcomes for veterans and their dependents; reducing chronic unemployment; and improving reentry outcomes for incarcerated youth and adults.

Our funding of the Lab included the development and dissemination of Nudges, Norms, and New Solutions, a free online guide and print booklet that provides a comprehensive synthesis of the most important evidence-based behavioral science interventions in postsecondary education, with analyses of specific strategies that appear most successful overall and within certain populations. We distributed Nudges, Norms, and New Solutions at the National College Access Network (NCAN) National Conference, which 20,000 professionals attended.

In 2022 we expanded our support to Nudge4 in a multi-year project with ideas42 to focus on the college enrollment crises and to seek to highlight any approaches that have been found to be effective at engaging students, as well as those approaches that have not been found to be effective. The goal is to identify the most promising innovations that could be implemented and rigorously tested in as rapid-cycle fashion as possible, and to promote broad awareness of these design concepts among college access and success practitioners.

Heckscher’s catalytic support has positioned us to move nimbly when opportunities for innovation arise, and has led to novel approaches to improve educational and economic opportunity for low-income youth.
Ben Castleman
Director, Nudge4 Solutions Lab