Photo: Jan Isaksen
2 Sep 2019

The Development Learning Lab: Improving the understanding of development policies

Finding out what kind of development assistance works or not can be challenging. A new initiative from CMI, the Norwegian School of Economics and the University of Bergen aims to make the job easier for donors and policy makers. 

The Development Learning Lab is an initiative in the making, aimed at helping donors navigate the aid landscape and providing reliable information about what works and why. It aims to be a learning platform convening knowledge and experience; an arena where researchers, practitioners and policy makers come together and can inspire and learn from each other. 

The Development Learning Lab initiative originates in research milieus with an impressive track record in development research and evaluations. CMI has scored high in evaluations of its research and impact, and Fair (the Norwegian School of Economics) and CISMAC (the University of Bergen) have both been awarded Centre of Excellence status. The team of researchers behind the initiative have extensive research and evaluation experience, and have diverse backgrounds from working within and on aid and development.

The main activities of the new Development Learning Lab are to initiate studies in areas where there is still a lack of knowledge, to do reviews of the available literature and studies on topics that are of relevance to Norwegian development policy, and to establish an arena for learning where development assistance actors from different sides of the table can come together. Addressing knowledge gaps and conveying lessons learnt in an efficient manner is crucial to the lab's activities.

The Development Learning Lab is primarily aimed at Norwegian actors, but a broader orientation may develop as the lab gets going.