Policy Lab

KU SOM Policy Lab

The KU SOM Policy Lab (in short, Policy Lab) is the public policy think tank and a platform within Kathmandu University School of Management that aims to deal with public policy problems in Nepal in which specialist team, university students and experts work in a creative space to analyze complex policies, evaluate them and recommend policy reformation that is needed to serve the interest of general public. At Policy Lab programs are designed to ensure that policy scholars and practitioners have the opportunity to tackle socially relevant and topical policy issues, understand the interests of stakeholders, and develop concrete solutions with a method of policy design based on an approach grounded in the field. During the process, the lab keeps the marginalized and underprivileged section of the community at the center of public debate, dialogue  and discourse.

The Policy Lab experiments with, and proposes innovative ways to tackle burning issues of the community through policy reformation, and at the same time the lab tries to reform and change the ways government perform. The Policy Lab will stimulate people-centered design approaches to policy-making, and facilitate an advanced exchange of ideas, build trust and become a catalyst for change on a regional and national arena.   

Policy Lab will engage a large policy ecosystem of actors, from the public and private sectors and the civil society, and encourages them to collaborate in order to address a practical policy issue relevant to the common good. The Policy Lab will enhance connections between KU SOM and various public policy institutions, in order to best serve the mainstream public institutions (ministries) and policy institutions (national planning commission, law commission, think tank) for evidence-based and informed policy decision making, policy reform, and public service delivery.

The team of researchers/scholars at Policy Lab will work in coordination with various agencies such as ministries, member of parliaments, bi-lateral and multilateral organizations, diplomatic institutions, the Kathmandu University, and research institutions to enrich and broaden the horizon of the essence of "public policy" in the modern world and to spearhead the agenda of public policy and governance as a major tool for an economic development of Nepal. These all actors will play an important role in the growth of Policy Lab. Its data-driven policy research, policy debates, policy development round-table workshops, and outreach events will build bridges and channels to engage all the key voices and major players in public policy at the same table in creating tangible and measurable solutions to some of Nepal's most challenging issues.

Furthermore, Policy Lab will provide policy teams with practical support to better understand the people they are trying to reach and work with them to co-design new solutions. Bringing together teams of researchers from multiple schools and departments at the Kathmandu University, as well as from other institutions in countries across the globe, the Policy Lab focuses on core questions in a number of areas including innovation and growth, innovation and inequality, globalization and innovation, social innovation, new technologies and their impact on society, innovation in traditional industries, and arts and innovation. Since our aim is not only to design and test policies, we pay attention to the role of public policy in nurturing innovation, while at the same time enhancing its positive impacts on society and limiting its negative consequences.


The main objective of the policy lab is to promote evidence based policy formulation and implementation to tackle the burning issues of diverse range so as to create prosperous and just society. For the same, the lab aims at fostering partnership between government agencies, ministries, diplomatic agencies, journalists, civil society organizations, academics and the business houses. The lab uses user-centric methods and competencies to test, experiment and learn to develop new policy solutions.

To be particular, KU SOM Policy Lab aims to achieve the following objectives:

- Idnetify pertinent issues of the country and find solution with interaction with different stakeholders to create             menaingful impact for citizens

- Enable and promote policy innovation culture within public sector and offer a platform for policy incubation and          experimentattion of human centric ideas

- deliver new policy solutions through inspiring practical projects

- Build the skills and knowledge of the policy profession and wider civil service

- provide research environment and encourage young scholars for policy research

- Move beyond prototyping and testingit, design implementation strategies

- Encourage researchers to exchange their insights and findings on different aspects of public policy and governance

- Build Nepal's next generation of policy leaders, through wihic the program aims to become the national voice of        Nepal's future policy

- Improve standards of public pllicy initiatives by conducting research and publishing publications, analysis and            reports to different stakeholders

- Develop and implement outreach strategies to engage relevant policymakers and other stakeholders in dialogue

- Solicit feedback from and engage policymakers to better guide studies that have policy implications

- Provide coaching and communication training to make policy engagement effective

Along with these objectives, the KUSOM Policy Lab attempts to bridge the gap between academic and mainstream public policy. It seeks to create a platform to learn, teach, support, and engage the community in policy formulation and its effective implementation. Its dedicated partnership with the Government of Nepal (via the Ministry of Federal Administration and General Administration) enables the Policy Lab to also engage directly with policymakers and implementers both at the federal and sub-national levels of government. Design thinking and human centric innovation are the key methodological approaches of the Lab. 

KUSOM Policy Lab-Methods and Methodological


At Policy Lab, team of people from diverse disciplines and background with knowledge of different areas of policy innovation such as project management, software design, data visualization, communication and other relevant areas work together for common purpose. The core team in interaction with different ministries, experts, students, and public agencies find out the problems that needs attention. Experts from the ministries, universities, stakeholders from the community and other social organizations and student will sit together and interact with an aim to stimulate innovative ideas to tackle the issue. Further, primary data can be collected for authenticity. Based on the information and knowledge derived from the data, different prototypes can be designed, test, develop and ultimately recommend to the concerned party for policy reformation. Hence, Policy Lab would adopt problem recognition, agenda-setting, prototype building, policy formulation, testing the prototype, and ultimately creating discourse and dialogue with different stakeholders for policy transformation.

Moreover, the Policy Lab employs multi-prolonged strategies such as design thinking and human-centric innovation, institutional and capacity building, policy advocacy and strategies, networking and collaborating for synergy. The Policy Lab will accomplish its objective by using three-stage process i.e. i) Discover, ii) Design, iii) Evaluate, and iv) Scale up.

It is briefly described below:

Phase 1: Discover

At Policy Lab projects begin by conducting research in order to understand and analyze the current state of public service delivery. Service providers and their users are engaged to visualize people's experiences and activities and identify shared needs.

Phase 2: Design

In collaboration with public service offices, nonprofit organizations, private sector, policy think tank etc– we collaboratively design new policies or service offerings. We turn our research insights into design objectives which will be tested for its effectiveness.

Phase 3: Evaluate

At this stage, we will define a theory of change to guide the evaluation. The effectiveness of the designed policies and service offering will be evaluated in real-world. To ensure the effectiveness this stage will allow us to test the efficacy before we scale up.

Phase 4: Scale Up

Based on the evaluation of the designed policies and services, we then disseminate and scale it up that suits best for the better service delivery.

Expected Outcomes

At the end, the Policy Lab would contribute to achieve the following aspects:

A. Policy Research

Policy Lab will conduct research and publish commentary on the public policy through Policy Lab Journal, in partnership with Kathmandu University, government agencies, ministries, diplomatic agencies, journalists, civil society organizations, academics and the businesses. In addition, it would develop the public policy model and methods (powerful tools and techniques) with clear-cut roadmap at federal, provincial and local levels.

B. Policy Advocacy

Policy Lab will advocate for policies that reflect viewpoint and best interests of the public with a truly representative mix of policy leaders through direct engagement with government agencies, bilateral and multilateral agencies, ministries, journalists, academics and the businesses. In addition, this will provide an avenue for university students and experts to engage and reach out to a larger number of young people who desire to learn and know more about Public Policy and Governance.

C. Result Demonstration and Showcase

After diagnosing and rigorous analysis, it would demonstrate and showcase the public policy analysis and making process, thereby prescribing for informed decision making. It would develop confidence and satisfaction of all possible stakeholders engaged in public policy making processes while addressing the contentious public policy and management issues, thereby improving people well-being and prosperity.

D. Policy Innovation

By using human-centered design thinking principles, programs in the Policy Lab will drive policy innovations to serve the needs of the changing environmental and technological landscape.

Thematic Policy Engagement and Contributions


·      Policy Studies: Critical Review and Reflection on KMC Policies and Laws (Review/ Analysis, Identifying the policy gap and policy prescription/ recommendations based on constitutional provisions and political manifesto)

·  Institutional Planning and Development of KMC including various departments and City Planning Commissionbased on approved organizational structure and scope of works

·         Updating KMC Bylaws (Parking Building, Green Building, Party Venue)

·         Study of vacant lands in KV using Artificial Intelligence

·    Engaging youth in urban agriculture (Research, Policy and Action) in collaboration with University of California, Davis (UC Davis)

·         Design Thinking Training  in context to Policy Lab and Policy Making/Analysis

·         Drafting Guidelines for Policy Outreach Center for Policy Innovation (linking with KUSOM Policy Lab)

·         Policy Landscape of Social Enterprise in Nepal

·         Migration Research- Pathway of Migration Policy in Nepal

·         Scoping the policy domain of reforms in local governance in Nepal (a research for policy audit study)

·         University-CSOs Partnership for critical public policy.

·         South Asian Food Security Vision 2030

·         Landex 2030/SDGs

·         Policy and Legal Landscape of Green Hydrogen Initiative and Food-Energy Nexus (Food Security)

·         Land Rights and Non-Violent Movement Building

·    Policy Analysis and Advocacy for Planned Elections at three levels of New Federal Governance: Post CapstoneEngagement of Policy Scholars

·         Policy Engagement in Cooperatives


Resources and Policy Communication

The lab conducts the capacity building training and workshop on the following aspects to generate the policy related knowledge and products for evidence based policy decision making.

·         Policy Communication

·         Policy Elevator Pitch

·         Policy Memo

·         Policy Presentation

·         Letter of Support

·         Op-Ed

·         Public Comment on Pending Legislation

·         Policy Paper