Sean Grant

Behavioral and Social Scientist; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. in social intervention, University of Oxford; M.Sc. in evidence-based social intervention, University of Oxford; B.A. in psychology, Loyola Marymount University; B.A.. in philosophy, Loyola Marymount University

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Sean Grant is a behavioral and social scientist at the RAND Corporation and a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. Grant is interested in advancing the overall transparency, openness, and rigor of intervention research for supporting evidence-based policy and practice. He principally evaluates interventions for substance use, though he is passionate about applying intervention research methods to topics spanning the behavioral, social, and health sciences.

Grant currently works on several projects that aim to develop methodological tools for behavioral and social intervention research: CONSORT-SPI, a reporting guideline for randomized controlled trials of social and psychological interventions (UK ESRC; RAND PI), adapted reporting standards for protocols of social intervention trials (BITSS and LJAF; PI), and guidance for rating the quality of the body of evidence for complex social interventions (UK ESRC, RAND PI). Grant is also PI of a project funded by RWJF to explore if and how research transparency aligns with Institutional Review Board policies, and Co-I for a PCORI-funded project to create an online method for patient and caregiver engagement in clinical guideline development. Substantively, Grant is Co-PI of a project funded by the Wallace Foundation to review evidence on interventions that promote students' social-emotional learning outcomes, and Co-I for a NIDA-funded project to identify and evaluate decision rules for adolescent substance use treatment.

Grant completed his M.S. and Ph.D. at the Centre for Evidence-Based Intervention, University of Oxford. At RAND, Grant is an investigator with both the Southern California Evidence-based Practice Center and the ExpertLens research team.

Pardee RAND Graduate School Courses


Concurrent Non-RAND Positions

Associate Member, Centre for Evidence-Based Intervention, University of Oxford

Recent Projects

  • Increasing transparency through institutional review boards: how do their policies and procedures align with open science?
  • GRADE extension for complex social interventions
  • Developing adaptive interventions for adolescent substance use treatment settings
  • Review of evidence on social and emotional learning
  • Engaging patients and caregivers managing rare diseases to improve the methods of clinical guideline development

Selected Publications

Grant, S., Colaiaco, B., Motala, A., Shanman, R., Sorbero, M., & Hempel, S., "Acupuncture for the treatment of adults with posttraumatic stress disorder: A systematic review and meta-analysis," Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, :doi: 10.1080/15299732.2017.128, 2017

Grant, S., Colaiaco, B., Motala, A., Shanman, R., Booth, M., Sorbero, M., & Hempel, S., "Mindfulness-based relapse prevention for substance use disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis," Journal of Addiction Medicine, :doi: 10.1097/ADM.0000000000000, 2017

Grant, S., Kandrack, R., Motala, A., Shanman, R. M., Booth, M., Miles, J. N. V., Sorbero, M. E., & Hempel, S., "Acupuncture for substance use disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis," Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 163:1-15, 2016

Grant, S. , Mayo-Wilson, E., & Montgomery, P., "Implementing quality improvement for psychosocial interventions," JAMA, 315(9):943, 2016

Grant, S., Pedersen, E. R., Osilla, K. C., Kulesza, M., & D'Amico, E. J., "It is time to develop appropriate tools for assessing minimal clinically important differences, performance bias and quality of evidence in reviews of behavioral interventions," Addiction, 111(9):1533-1535, 2016

Grant, S., Pedersen, E. R., Osilla, K. C., Kulesza, M., & D'Amico, E. J., "Reviewing and interpreting the effects of brief alcohol interventions: Comment on a Cochrane review about motivational interviewing for young adults," Addiction, 111(9):1521-1527, 2016

Grant, S., Montgomery, P., Hopewell, S., Macdonald, G., Moher, D., & Mayo-Wilson, E., "Developing a reporting guideline for social and psychological intervention trials," Research on Social Work Practice, 23(6):595-602, 2013

Grant, S., Mayo-Wilson, E., Melendez-Torres, G.J., & Montgomery, P., "Reporting quality of social and psychological intervention trials: A systematic review of reporting guidelines and trial publications," PLoS One, 8(5):e65442, 2013

Honors & Awards

  • Leamer-Rosenthal Prize for Emerging Researchers in Open Social Science, Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences, with support from the John Templeton Foundation
  • Clarendon Fund - Green Templeton College Annual Fund Scholar, Oxford University Press and Green Templeton College, University of Oxford
  • Valedictorian, Loyola Marymount University