Meghan Franco is an assistant policy researcher at RAND and a doctoral candidate at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. Franco's research interests include bottom-up economic development, strengths-based approaches to community and individual resilience, civic and social innovation, public-private partnerships, and performance measurement. Her dissertation explores how economic ecosystems can revitalize small cities in the U.S. Heartland, where she is applying cross-disciplinary, complex-system informed ecosystem models to improve current evaluation metrics for entrepreneurship/business ecosystems.
Her relentless curiosity has led her to far-flung projects and coursework, but always returns to the interplay between science and policy: both the application of scientific research for evidence-based policymaking (science for policy) and restructuring metascience for better research outcomes (policy for science).
Prior to joining Pardee RAND, she managed data collection and analysis at three physiology laboratories at Midwestern University. She also spent several years at a neurotechnology startup, splitting her time as a lead data analyst and education coordinator. She graduated from Arizona State University with honors and a B.S. in biological sciences; her concentration was in biology and society. While bench-side research was intellectually rewarding, the disciplinary rigidity and lack of community impact was ultimately unsatisfying so, in pursuit of greater impact, Franco transitioned to a career in policy analysis and the implementation of high-quality, interdisciplinary research.