Improving science-policy interface: Lessons from the policy lab methodology in Nepal's community forest governance

Hemant Ojha, Udeep Regmi, Krishna K. Shrestha, Naya Sharma Paudel, Swoyambhu Man Amatya, Anthony B. Zwi, Ian Nuberg, Edwin Cedamon, Mani R. Banjade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Whether and how science can improve public policy is a highly contested topic in both the scholarly domains and the world of policy and practice. The research community often finds itself frustrated over the continued neglect of research evidence by policy makers. At the same time, policy makers see researchers as addressing their own questions of curiosity, and not those of concern to policy makers. In the context of this ongoing research-policy divide, this paper presents experimental work on the research-policy linkage conducted in Nepal's forest sector. The insights presented here emerged from applying what is increasingly known as the “Policy Lab” methodology. We designed and operationalised this method to facilitate policy uptake of research on forestry and food security within the context of community forestry governance in the country. The method comprised facilitating the two-way interaction between the research team and policy actors. Underpinning this method were six Policy Lab events organized during 2014–2019 as part of an action research project aiming to enhance livelihoods and food security of local communities in the Nepalese hills. We found that Policy Lab methodology, if organized using the suggested principles, can help improve the much-needed link between research and policy. The study has also exposed new issues of concern that merit attention at the science-policy interface.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101997
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalForest Policy and Economics
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


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