The University of Iowa's Public Policy Center (PPC) was started in 1987 by Professor David Forkenbrock. The PPC was established as a freestanding unit under the Office of the Vice President for Research to facilitate interdisciplinary academic research across campus. It became a place where scholars could collaboratively study the most pressing public policy issues of the day.

The Public Policy Center’s mission is to provide policymakers with information that can make our lives and communities thrive in sustainable ways through academic research. The PPC's original focus was transportation policy research. Over the years, the Center has expanded into new areas of study: Health Policy Research (1990), Human Factors and Vehicle Safety Research (1996), Crime and Justice Policy Research (2008), Housing Policy Research (2009), and Environmental Policy Research (2010).   

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