EU Science Hub

Policy labs: innovative take of public administrations for better policies

37 policy labs from across Europe participate in the JRC-organised first ever encounter between European policy labs, EU policymakers and national authorities in charge of public sector innovation.
Oct 17 2016

On 17-18 October 2016, the JRC is organising the first ever encounter between European policy labs, EU policymakers and national authorities in charge of public sector innovation. 37 policy labs from 14 countries and other public sector innovation teams will showcase their projects, highlight benefits, and share experiences from their innovative and citizen-centred ways of supporting public administrations in designing better policies.

Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for education, culture, youth and sport, responsible for the JRC said: “One way the European Commission delivers on its promise of better regulation is through innovation in public administration. Experimenting with new ways of tackling complex problems while involving citizens more closely allows us to offer policies that are more effective and efficient. This is what the Joint Research Centre's EU Policy Lab is doing today: starting a genuine dialogue between policy labs across Member States and at the EU level, with the objective of improving policy making at all levels."

Over 200 participants representing policy labs from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK, national authorities supporting public sector innovation and modernisation, as well as Commission policy makers are taking part in today's LAB CONNECTIONS, along Kristalina Georgieva, European Commission's Vice-President responsible for budget and human resources, Siegfried Mureșan, Member of the European Parliament and Vladimir Šucha, JRC Director-General. 

The event mirrors policy labs' philosophy of being do-tanks rather than think-tanks. The participants will identify shared areas of interest and practice between EU policy makers and lab practitioners, to create joint actions that can contribute to addressing specific EU policy challenges, such as connecting digital, physical, natural and social solutions for cities; culture and creative sector in youth employment; improving practice and policy for youth employment; acting against segregation in mainstream education; addressing public perception on migration; mobilising employers for the integration of refugees or assisting European start-ups.

Policy labs across Europe

There is a growing movement of policy labs and other public sector innovation teams in Europe. Their experimental, creative and citizen-centred approach is changing the way policies are made, putting forward alternative solutions more in tune with citizens' needs and better adapted to public budget constraints. Experimenting is at the heart of the process: policy ideas are tested and tried in pilot groups. Observations and conclusions feed into the policy design process. For example Experio Lab in cooperation with the County Council of Värmland (Sweden) designed "Deload" a mobile app to help young people with mental illnesses to seek help and contact professionals. Lab 60+ in cooperation with Faculty of Architecture at the Silesian University of Technology (Poland), created ageing lenses to better understand how to design city taking into account elderly people's needs.

EU Policy Lab

The EU Policy Lab, located at the JRC, is a collaborative and experimental space for innovative policy-making. It is both a physical space and a way of working that combines foresight, behavioural insights and design thinking to explore, connect and find solutions for better policies.