Sunil Iyengar

Research & Analysis Director

Sunil Iyengar directs the Office of Research & Analysis at the National Endowment for the Arts. Under his leadership, the office has produced dozens of research reports, hosted periodic research events and webinars, led strategic plan development for the agency, and established research and data partnerships with the U.S Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. His office also conducts program evaluations and performance measurement for the Arts Endowment. Working with his team, Iyengar has created and pursued a long-term research agenda (based partly on an arts “system map” his office helped to design), founded a national data repository for the arts, and launched two awards programs for arts researchers, including the NEA Research Labs initiative. He chairs a federal Interagency Task Force on the Arts and Human Development. For nearly a decade, he has contributed a monthly research post (titled “Taking Note”) to the agency’s official blog.

Iyengar and his team have collaborated with organizations such as the Brookings Institution, the National Academy of Sciences, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Association of American Medical Colleges, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to explore the arts in relation to such topics as health and well-being, economic development, and STEM and medicine. His office provides research consultative support to Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network. Most recently, he has led a research funding partnership with NIH as part of Sound Health, an initiative of the Kennedy Center and NIH in association with the Arts Endowment.

Prior to joining the agency as research director, Iyengar worked as a reporter, managing editor, and senior editor for a host of news publications covering the biomedical research, medical device, and pharmaceutical industries. He writes poems, book reviews, and literary essays. Iyengar has a BA in English from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.