Based at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) in Fredericton, CRISP grew out of the Atlantic Centre for Policy Research, which was established in 1996. The name change, which took effect in January 2000, reflects the Institute's broader focus on the study of public policy on a national scale. The Institute has recently been designated a Statistics Canada Research Data Centre (RDC) which will give CRISP researchers primary access to a number of Statistics Canada microdata files, to be housed at UNB.
CRISP is comprised of a core staff of seven academics who conduct original research and write reports on behalf of a wide range of provincial and federal government departments, non-governmental organizations and other research groups. The research seeks to identify positive outcomes and determine factors that promote or restrict their achievement, with a particular view to finding policy instruments that can mitigate undesirable and facilitate positive outcomes.
CRISP conducts broad-based policy review focusing on national and international problems, extending the theoretical base of social policy. In addition the Institute evaluates specific programs and interventions, taking an action-orientated approach to tackle more immediate policy issues.
The Institute is unique in that it brings together social scientists from several fields, with particular strengths in economics, education, sociology, psychology, health and fitness, and epidemiology. CRISP scholars have expertise in statistics, research methods, and program evaluation within their respective disciplines. While the research in the Institute tends to be quantitative in nature, it integrates different research perspectives as a means to achieve a deeper understanding of social policy issues.