Cause Research Institute (CRI)

Research that reaches the real world.

Are you ready to make a difference in the world?

National University’s Cause Research Institute (CRI) will give you the support and structure you need to generate tangible, real-world solutions from idea to impact. Here, students and faculty have the unique opportunity to put research to work so that it becomes a positive force in our local communities and beyond.

Interested in the Cause Research Institute?

What’s your X?

So where do you want to take your educational research? Is it improving the understanding of Parkinson’s Disease? Uncovering the mental health links to religion? Metaverse communication through SEL education? So, what’s your “X?” Whatever your research passion, within CRI’s modern research hub, students learn to navigate the uncharted territory of academic research in their areas of study — regardless of discipline.

Through CRI, you’ll gain access to best practices and support for research methodologies, administrative resources, student-faculty relationships, and grant submissions. All with the goal of making a meaningful difference in people’s lives.

CRI’s multidisciplinary approach encompasses 4 key areas:

Scholarship output and capacity building

  • Doctoral residencies, boot camps
  • Scholarship, publishing, authorship, original works
  • Faculty workshops for research

Technical assistance

  • Assistance requests
  • Curriculum integration with research components

Student research programs

  • Student-faculty matching for research
  • Student research dissemination
  • Student authorship of works
  • Alumni assistance with research

Faculty research management

  • Accreditation reporting
  • Programmatic accreditation needs

External publications

  • Publications and original works including institutional journal
  • Communication activities to stakeholders


  • Research conferences and luminary events for research
  • Community and University partner events

Documentation Administration

  • Processing and record keeping of all research-related activities


  • Subject matter expert quarterly training
  • Management of conflicts of interest

Research policy, SOP generation

  • IRB functions
  • Conflict of interest committee work


  • Activities associated with report and report management


  • Ongoing professional development for pre- and post-award sponsored projects management
  • Ongoing professional development for human research protection program
  • Research training

Advancement of non-traditional and underrepresented students

  • Supporting expanding opportunities to underrepresented populations

Addressing the needs of lifelong learners

  • Partnering with community stakeholders to reimagine solutions to complex challenges

Sharing promising and emerging education best practices

  • Offering insights and knowledge to the higher education community

Grant writing

  • Building out a roster of grant writers
  • Creating processes and templates as system resources
  • Providing student grant writing opportunities

Program evaluation

  • Managing a roster of evaluators
  • Training and capacity building on program evaluation
  • Measuring effectiveness

Subject matter expert consulting

  • Managing a roster of consultants in associated areas
  • Engaging with partner networks
  • Jointly sponsored professional associations
  • Communications and marketing of services

Research Examples

Harmony Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Third Edition

  • National University refreshed Harmony SEL with the Harmony Third Edition, a CASEL SELect program for Pre-K-6 grade students. 
  • Harmony Third Edition research included 17 schools and over 60 educators to provide expanded content that reflects the latest research on SEL practices along with improvements to the user experience in support of students across all 50 states.

U.S. Department of Education (SEL) Research Grant

  • Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Education and Innovation Research (EIR) Program, Harmony SEL at National University to partner with three education districts across 5 years (2023–27) to test and refine an integration approach for SEL and academics. 
  • The awarded Harmony EIR grant is to develop content-building tools and resources to support a Harmony Integration model that includes professional learning, an implementation toolkit, and a coaching guide.