The Social Science Research Laboratory (SSRL), founded in 1995 by the Department of Political Science and the Office of Research, merged with the Public Policy Research Center (PPRC) in 1997, and now acts as a research or "implementation" unit of the PPRC. The principal mission of the SSRL is to conduct rigorous social science research on issues of state, national, and international importance that affect the citizens of Mississippi. The SSRL operates on a contract basis in the areas of economic development, needs assessments, program evaluations, and public policy research as well as for interdisciplinary research in the social sciences. The SSRL conducts studies for state and local government agencies, private business and industry, University offices, and faculty members working on grants. In the past, the SSRL has also published the Legislative Handbook for the Mississippi State Legislature. SSRL is a subsidiary organization of the Public Policy Research Center of the University of Mississippi.