The Policy Lab brings together experts from government, universities, and community organizations to collaborate on applied research tailored to inform decisions about how to improve policies and programs across the state.
It’s common to agree that policy should be driven by evidence. But how do you make that happen in real life? That’s where The Policy Lab steps in.
Our dynamic approach integrates policy decision-makers from step one, conducting our research and iterating on our goals with frequent feedback from agency partners rather than independently producing research and attempting to get buy-in after the fact. This collaborative approach has resulted in successful partnerships with government agencies and nonprofit organizations across the country that have led to implementation of evidence-based policy for topics such as COVID-19 outreach and state budgeting.
The Policy Lab was founded in 2019 in collaboration with Brown University and a generous grant from Arnold Ventures, a national philanthropy.
Evidence-based policymaking in practice requires not only the highest quality scientific methods, but also a pragmatic mindset geared toward designing learning agendas that can concretely inform decision-making within the bureaucratic and political trenches.
We look to improve policy outcomes through three interconnected areas:
While many approaches to this work focus on one or two areas at a time, building a culture of evidence-based policymaking requires us to pursue all three simultaneously. We need a substantial amount of stakeholder engagement throughout the entire research process — from carefully listening to and observing what questions most need answering, to helping partners troubleshoot any unanticipated implementation issues based on the generated answers.
The partnership is also a vehicle for increasing staff training and capacity by way of onsite trainings and courses, fellowships, speaker and event series, and other activities to foster a community of practice around the work.