Stefan Dercon, Håvard Mokleiv Nygård, Nora Ingdal, Titus Tenga, and Jan Thomas Odegard raised important questions during the debate moderated by Andrew Kroglund.

“I am very pleased that three leading research institutions are joining forces in the fight against poverty. This is a job we cannot do unless we know what works”, said Dag-Inge Ulstein, Minister of International Development, at the grand opening of the new Development Learning Lab (DLL) initiative.

Ulstein was one of several distinguished guests who emphasized the importance of basing development policies and programmes on research and evidence. ““I am so happy that the Development Learning Lab is finally born”.


Dag-Inge Ulstein, Minister of International Development, said that there is a strong willingness to learn among development practitioners.

The opening was streamed for participants watching from other parts of the world. See the recording here:

Ottar Mæstad, director at CMI, who originally initiated the DLL, used the opportunity to thank everyone supporting the process this far - the rectorates at the UiB and NHH, the ministry and the minister himself, and the Norwegian Church Aid and Redd Barna, who are involved in pilot projects currently ongoing in Ethiopia.

The director of DLL and research director at CMI, Espen Villanger, explained the three pillars of DLL – research, knowledge reviews and physical and digital learning arenas - all set up to contribute to the main priorities of Norwegian aid.

“DLL is really going to make a difference by helping policy makers judge the body of evidence and by creating trustful relationships with organisations who are willing to learn”, said Stefan Dercon, Policy advisor to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) in the UK government and professor of Economic Policy Oxford, who held the keynote speech.


The DLL is a joint effort between CMI, NHH, UiB and the Centre for applied research at NHH, here represented by CMI director Ottar Mæstad and rector at NHH, Øystein Thøgersen signing the cooperation agreement.

Four researchers involved in the DLL shared snapshots from their projects: NHH-professor Kjetil Bjorvatn  talked about childcare for business development, CMI researcher Charlotte Ringdal presented a project about pathways to change female genital mutilation, postdoctoral researcher at UiB and CMI Peter Hangoma asked if there is a role for traditional leaders connected to poverty and financial services, and professor Ingvild Sandøy from UiB talked about effects on childbearing and education in empowering girls.

The Development Learning Lab (DLL) is a joint effort by CMI, the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH), the University of Bergen (UiB) and the Centre for applied research at NHH (SNF). It aims to fill the knowledge gaps and increase the success of development programmes. The main idea is to improve learning about how to achieve the development objectives. This ambitious goal is achieved through close collaboration with research partners in the global South, development practitioners and policy makers.

 The opening also contained a panel discussion about what ‘Fakta har makta’ means for practice, with Håvard Mokleiv Nygård, Director of Knowledge and Evaluations at Norad, Nora Ingdal, International Programs Director, Save the Children, Titus Tenga, Program Director at Strømme Foundation, Jan Thomas Ødegård, Executive Director, Development Fund and Stefan Dercon.

The Rector at UiB, Margareth Hagen, Øystein Thøgersen, Rector at NHH and CMI Director Ottar Mæstad had the honor of concluding the day in conversation with the chair of the day, Andrew Kroglund.