Check out the online version and subscribe here to get the next digest. The interactive version of the Difficult Conversations guide is now available for beta-testing.

Dear MIT GOV/LAB Community,

These days, there is a lot on our minds. When will we meet with partners again face-to-face? What will happen in the upcoming US elections? What will “long-haul” Covid-19 responses look like around the world, as 2021 approaches?

The rapidly unfolding news and ongoing uncertainty reinforce how important it is to design government policies with citizen input and scientific data at the forefront. Our engaged scholarship model seeks to co-create rigorous evidence with partners that is grounded in local needs and tailored to be useful for decision-makers. To support engaged scholarship, we’re excited to share some new and updated tools:

  • NEW CASE STUDY from MIT GOV/LAB in our updated How to Have Difficult Conversations guide, featuring Grassroot in South Africa.
  • HOW-TO GUIDE & TEMPLATE for our Risk and Equity Matrix to help teams plan and assess their research collaborations in an equitable way, with new examples from research projects on Covid-19 and distance learning.
  • INTERACTIVE ONLINE TOOLS (coming soon!) and a workbook developed from our engaged scholarship series to facilitate conversations between practitioners and academics that are essential when planning collaborative research with equitable exchange.

Our design team, led by new team member Susy Tort, has been hard at work making sure the tools are accessible, engaging, and maybe even a bit inspiring. Give them a look-see and let us know what you think!

Lastly, we put out a draft action plan to support anti-racism and Black lives, with input from the entire lab team, as a follow-up on our commitment. This is very much a work in progress and we also have an online suggestion box for comments and feedback.

There’s a lot going on, but we’d love to hear from you. Please reach out to let us know how everything is going (Zoom coffee date, anyone? Working remotely is hard on us all). Send us a message at


Below are some other highlights from the last few months.

  • Trust in pandemic tech. Building confidence in digital solutions for the pandemic, like contact tracing apps and other tools, won’t be easy. Check out insights from Prof. Lily Tsai’s lightning talk on trust in pandemic technology.
  • Behavioral science in the field. “Humans by nature are not perfect. We can be indecisive and irrational.” Read our feature in WZB Magazine on our Behavioral Science in the Field course in Kenya.
  • Evidence on community policing in Liberia. Can community policing build public confidence? Research brief with lessons learned and impact from our EGAP Metaketa project in Liberia.
  • Feature in Psychology Today. Psychology Today featured our Ebola research with lessons for the current pandemic on how building trust can save lives.
  • Join our team! We are looking for some writing support and a research scientist to be part of the MIT GOV/LAB team. Check out the job descriptions.

Artwork by Susy Tort and Gabriela Reygada