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is the Strengthening Democracy Challenge?

The Strengthening Democracy Challenge brings academics, practitioners, and industry experts together in a collective effort to identify effective interventions to improve Americans' commitment to democratic principles of political engagement. With your help, we will identify promising, short interventions and scientifically evaluate them in one of the largest randomized experiments in the social sciences. While some existing interventions are in-person, time-intensive, and involve repeated exposure, we are focused on short, scalable interventions that can reach millions of people.


is an intervention?

Social scientists often call an idea that has the potential to change how people think or behave an "intervention." In the case of the Strengthening Demcoracy Challenge, an intervention is any idea that may reduce anti-democratic attitudes, support for partisan violence, and/or partisan animosity.


kinds of interventions can be submitted?

We are looking for interventions that people can experience online, in less than 8 minutes, that will reduce Americans' anti-democratic attitudes, support for partisan violence, and/or partisan animosity. You might ask people to do one or some combination of the following (for examples of each, please see here):


Several Open Books


Notebook and Pen


TV Screens


Image by Malte Wingen


Working from Home

Interventions must meet the following criteria:

  • Ethical: Our Institutional Review Board will need to approve that your intervention is ethical. 

  • Online: Your intervention should be deployable online.

  • Scalable: Many people should be able to engage with your intervention at the same time. For instance, your intervention cannot be that every participant has an online chat with you.

  • Short: The intervention must be no longer than 8 minutes.

  • Comprehensible in English: Interventions should be easily understood by an English-speaking audience.

  • Costless: Your intervention cannot pay participants anything extra. For example, economic games that require additional payment are not allowed.

  • Aligned: No extra measures can be added to evaluate your intervention. We have already determined how to measure outcomes.

For more details, check out our handbook.


is the structure of the challenge?

Image by Element5 Digital

1. Submit

Submit a short, online intervention with potential to reduce anti-democratic attitudes, support for partisan violence, and/or partisan animosity.

Image by Markus Winkler

2. Expert Review

Our advisory board reviews submissions and selects up to 25 of the most promising interventions.

*Note: PIs will recuse themselves from reviewing submissions (co-)authored by current collaborators, current or former students or post-docs, former advisors, or others presenting a conflict of interest

paper plane on white background, Busines

3. Experimental Test

Approximately 1000 participants (~500 Democrats and ~500 Republicans) will be randomly assigned to experience each of the (up to) 25 interventions and approximately 5000 participants will be randomly assigned to a neutral control condition (~30,000 participants total).

Champion golden trophy for winner backgr

4. Identify Effective Interventions

Interventions that reduce anti-democratic attitudes, support for partisan violence, and/or partisan animosity will receive a cash prize and be publicized.

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