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Rutgers receives $1 million from NJ for creation of State Policy Lab

The Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy will house the new State Policy Lab that is being funded with $1 million from the New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education. – Photo by

The University announced on Monday that it received $1 million from the New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education to create The State Policy Lab, which will be a space where scholars, community members and policy experts can work to solve issues facing New Jersey, according to an article from Rutgers Today.

The lab will be housed in the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and will be managed alongside the Rutgers—Newark School of Public Affairs and Administration. It is being funded through Gov. Phil Murphy’s (D-N.J.) 2021 state budget.

“Rutgers—New Brunswick and its Bloustein School have always focused on serving the people of New Jersey,” said Rutgers—New Brunswick Chancellor Christopher J. Molloy. “We are proud to collaborate with the state on this partnership, which provides another important venue by which our world-class research will help enhance the quality of life in the Garden State.”

Some of the lab’s main purposes involve giving policymakers enhanced access to research on state and local governance and creating data modeling for policy recommendations that will allow them to test various budgeting and legislative situations, according to the article. Additionally, the lab will help build coalitions across various groups in support of evidence-based policy initiatives.

“We look forward to providing our expertise with policy research, big data analytics and community engagement (toward) evidence-based decision-making in critical areas of policy and operations within the state of New Jersey,” said Piyushimita (Vonu) Thakuriah, dean of the Bloustein School. “I am particularly excited to be working with the School of Public Affairs and Administration in Rutgers—Newark and a wider network of academic and policy collaborators throughout the University (as well as) statewide, nationally and even internationally to solve grand policy challenges.”

Charles Menifield, dean of the School of Public Affairs and Administration, said that he is excited for this collaboration and hopes it will lead to more with the Bloustein School in the future. He also said this lab will be a great opportunity for the University to supply both Murphy and the state legislature with its expertise in public policy.

The lab will use an equity framework when examining policies and programs with the aim of determining improvements that will benefit all residents, specifically those who are from low-income backgrounds or have been historically disadvantaged, according to the article.

Other partners of The State Policy Lab will include the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers—New Brunswick and the Cornwall Center at Rutgers—Newark as well as the Walter Rand Institute and the Center for Urban Research & Education, both at Rutgers—Camden.

The Rutgers Law School Center on Law, Inequality and Metropolitan Equity, Kean University and New Jersey Institute of Technology will also be involved.

“High-quality research and analysis is crucial to ensure New Jersey remains at the center of innovation,” said Brian Bridges, the state’s Secretary of Higher Education. “This will be even more critical as our economy recovers from the pandemic, as the State Policy Lab will examine how to address long-term issues facing the state and improve the lives of New Jerseyans. I look forward to Rutgers’ leadership in this high-quality research endeavor.”

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