Roundtable: Designed for Impact: How the Policy Lab Model Ensures Research That Matters
(Politics, Media, and the Policy Process)

Thursday, November 7, 2019: 1:45 PM-3:15 PM
I.M Pei Tower: Terrace Level, Beverly (Sheraton Denver Downtown)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Organizer:  Maggie Reeves, Georgia State University
Moderator:  Melissa Wavelet, MDRC
Speakers:  Kristin Klopfenstein, University of Denver, Ekim Muyan, Rice University, Andrea Plevek, University of Michigan and Julia Quinn, University of Chicago

Policymakers, practitioners, and many academics are focused on improving outcomes for the public. Yet, differences in contexts, politics, time horizons, and training mean that these groups are not often aligned to produce policy research that has an impact on real lives. This roundtable will feature five policy labs from across the country that use a partnerships-first model—addressing real policy questions with rigor, timeliness, and a commitment to long-term partnerships with state and local government agencies.


In a roundtable moderated by a former state government official, the policy lab leaders will share how they have strategically designed their organizations to be most effective in partnering with government and producing research that has immediate impact. Representatives from Georgia State University, Rice University, University of Chicago, University of Denver, and University of Michigan will discuss the policy lab model in this roundtable. Commonalities and differences will showcase how researchers can form co-learning environments with policymakers and practitioners in their local and state communities. Participants of this roundtable will hear examples of impact, an understanding of how to work through challenges, a model for how to involve students in the work, and tools to enhance quality research. Projects highlighting the unique data these labs utilize will also be discussed.