In the past few months, we have tried to create a map of policy labs across Europe. We wanted to have an idea of the number of labs and also understand what their main fields of expertise are.

This has not been an easy exercise. Firstly, policy labs are very heterogeneous in terms the areas they are active in, their size, their institutional belonging, the governance level they are active on and the constituencies they work for. So our first question was how to define a policy lab: what are the main features defining a policy lab? We ended up with the following three basic criteria:

1. A policy lab has strong institutional ties with a public administration, whether at local, regional or national level.
2. A policy lab approaches policy issues using creative, design and user-oriented methods.
3. A policy lab is experimental and uses early prototypes.

Secondly, we have learnt that the lifespan of policy labs is often very short: many initiatives are created as pilot projects or programmes and run for a one to three-year period. In the short span of time since the actual mapping work and the publication of the map, many of the labs have ceased to exist and new ones have been created.

Therefore our mapping is not something definitive, but a snapshot of the situation at a given point in time. However, our ambition is to regularly update the map. Please have a look at it and do not hesitate to contact us if you find errors, know about new labs or have information about defunct labs still on the map.

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Image credits: flickr.com/photos/gtozer

Lab Connections –  European policy labs meet EU policy makers

Currently we are also preparing the very first meeting between European policy labs and EU policymakers. Lab Connections will take place in Brussels on 17th and 18th October. In this event labs will be able to:

• Showcase their projects and tools to peers and EU policy-shapers in an open exhibition at the core of the European Commission;
• Share experiences with fellow labs and lab owners on how to set up and run labs, how to ensure and demonstrate an impact on public policies and public service delivery;
• Explore with peers the relevance of their work to other local, regional and national situations and how they can benefit from each other’s approaches;
• Co-design concrete joint actions relevant to particular EU policy challenges that could receive support from the EU.

If you want to help us bridging the gap between policy labs, EU policy makers, and public authorities from the Member States, we invite you to participate in this event.

Registrations are open but places are limited…Check our website to learn more!

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