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Research Notes

Bill Lane Center awarded a California 100 grant to evaluate federalism and foreign policy in California’s future

The Bill Lane Center for the American West announced today that they are the recipient of a research award from California 100, an ambitious statewide initiative to envision and shape the long-term success of the state. The California 100 research award, along with technical assistance from the Institute For The Future, will enable the Bill Lane Center to evaluate current facts, origins and future trends related to how federalism and foreign policy will play in California’s next century. The research will be led by the Lane Center's director, Prof. Bruce Cain (principal investigator, left) and senior researcher, Iris Hui (co-investigator, right), and will begin this summer. 

“California’s future will be shaped by governance dynamics that are internal to the state as well as outside,” Cain noted. “Changes in the relationship between the U.S. federal government and state government, management of conflict and cooperation across states, and management of relationships with governments and private entities in other countries — these will all be critical to shaping what is possible for California in the coming century.”

The team will focus on natural resource management across borders as an important case study. "California is a land of opportunities and abundance," said Hui. "We have a lot of natural resources that run across jurisdictional boundaries, such as water, rivers, wind energy. Governing and managing these resources often require cooperation and collaboration across multiple political and legal jurisdictions, or even across national borders. In this project, we will investigate the complexity of the geological and political landscape in California. We will identify strategies and policies that help to efficiently govern natural resources through federalism and international cooperation. We are excited to be part of the California 100 Initiative to begin to chart a path forward for California’s next century.”

The research will be complete by December 2021, and will lead to a set of policy alternatives for the future of California. The policy alternatives will be developed in conjunction with research teams from 12 other issue areas, and will be coordinated by Henry Brady, director of research of the California 100 Initiative and former dean of the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California Berkeley. “We are excited to work with our research partners that are international experts in their issue areas,” Brady noted. “We will not only develop a comprehensive knowledge base on various policy issues, but we will also offer actionable recommendations for the California 100 Commission and the larger public to consider.”

The California 100 Commission is a multi-generational advisory body that will develop recommendations for the state’s future and test those recommendations across a broad set of policy areas by directly engaging Californians. Karthick Ramakrishnan, executive director of the California 100 Initiative, is tasked with assembling and engaging the Commission, and ensuring that the research stream intersects with the initiative’s other activities including advanced technology, policy innovation, and stakeholder engagement.

“From climate change, to aging populations and rapid changes in industry, California will face enormous challenges in the years ahead,” Ramakrishnan noted. “We are fortunate to be able to draw on the deep talent of researchers in California to produce evidence and recommendations that will inform robust public engagement and set the state on a strong, long-term trajectory for success.”

About the California 100 Research Grants

California 100 is a new statewide initiative being incubated at the University of California and Stanford University focused on inspiring a vision and strategy for California’s next century that is innovative, sustainable, and equitable. The initiative will harness the talent of a diverse array of leaders through research, policy innovation, advanced technology, and stakeholder engagement. As part of its research stream of work, California 100 is sponsoring 13 research projects focused on the following issue areas: 

  • Advanced technology and basic research
  • Arts, culture, and entertainment
  • Education
  • Economic mobility, inequality and workforce
  • Energy, environment and natural resources 
  • Federalism and foreign policy
  • Fiscal reform
  • Governance, media, and civil society
  • Health and wellness
  • Housing and community development
  • Immigrant integration
  • Public safety and criminal justice reform
  • Transportation and urban planning

About the Bill Lane Center for the American West

The Bill Lane Center for  the American West at Stanford University is dedicated to advancing scholarly and public understanding of the past, present, and future of Western North America. The Center supports research, teaching, and reporting about Western land and life in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. 

For more information about California 100, please visit

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