Press release

From lecture hall to practice: Hertie School and PD launch Policy Lab

Under the guidance of faculty and partners from politics, business and civil society, students work on real-world policy solutions.

Good governance put to the test: At the start of the spring semester, the Hertie School launches its new Policy Lab. Its aim is to provide students with the skills to understand and solve practical challenges in politics, business and society. How can the German public administration be reformed? How can a climate organisation get companies to reduce emissions? And how can we ensure that social programmes reach the right people? These are just a few examples for which students will develop concrete proposals under the guidance of professors from the Hertie School and representatives from the field. The private-public consulting firm PD supports the Policy Lab financially and has joined as practice partner.

“We are delighted to be launching the Hertie School's Policy Lab,” says Hertie School President Cornelia Woll. “In addition to excellent research, practice-oriented teaching is part of our mission as a policy school. To achieve this, we need to learn from those who face very specific challenges in their day-to-day work early on. The Policy Lab brings together practice and research to enable our students to develop solutions to problems from everyday political life.”

“PD acts as a critical and trustworthy in-house adviser to public administration. We promote the transfer of knowledge between administration and academia through a variety of commitments and initiatives. As a founding partner of the Hertie School Policy Lab, we would now like to share our knowledge with faculty members, students, alumni and other interested parties at the Hertie School in an innovative setting,” says Claus Wechselmann, Managing Director of PD. 

“We have a long-standing, very fruitful cooperation with the Hertie School in research projects as well as in continuing education programmes for our PD employees. I am delighted that we have reached another milestone in our collaboration with the establishment of the Policy Lab,” says Stéphane Beemelmans, also Managing Director of PD.

Project courses have already been well-received

Starting this month, students have been able to test their knowledge in the Policy Lab's project courses. The most popular course of the spring semester has been “Modern government design: Preparing for the future of government”. The course focusses on how government institutions can work more effectively and become fit for the future, using digital processes or artificial intelligence, for example. Because of its popularity, the project course had to be split into two groups. Thurid Hustedt, Professor of Public Administration and Management, teaches one of the courses. Together with her colleagues, the Dean of Graduate Programmes also conceptualised the Policy Lab.

“We are thrilled that the programme is so popular,” says Hustedt. “The project courses help us ensure that our students can get off to a flying start in their later work life. Students receive insight into the day-to-day business of a consultancy firm, an association or an NGO, for example. By cooperating with representatives from the field, we also get a good sense of which topics should be included in our curriculum – and what drives our partners.”

In order to cover a broad spectrum of relevant topics in national and international politics, the Hertie School involves a large number of stakeholders in the Policy Lab.

Festival of Ideas presents the best policy solutions

The Hertie School plans to hold an annual Festival of Ideas at the end of each spring semester to present the course results and connect students with experts from business, politics and civil society. In an exhibition and several short presentations, students discuss their proposed solutions with fellow students and practice partners. While the former are given the opportunity to put out feelers for a career start after graduation, the latter receive solutions for their case scenarios. The first Festival of Ideas will take place in summer 2024.

The Policy Lab is initially only open to students from the Master in Public Policy programme. It will be extended to all other degree programmes in subsequent semesters.
Further information can be found on the Policy Lab website.

About the Hertie School
For 20 years, the Hertie School has been teaching, researching, and debating good governance and public affairs in the heart of Berlin and Europe. The social science university offers master's degrees, doctoral programmes, and executive education to train change-makers in government, business, and civil society. True to its motto "Understand today. Shape tomorrow." the university conducts interdisciplinary research, provides international and practice-oriented education, and serves as a forum for public debate. Six Centres of Competence strengthen its expertise in European affairs, international security, fundamental rights, sustainability, digital governance, and data science. The Hertie School was founded in 2004 by the non-profit Hertie Foundation and has been generously supported by it ever since. It is a member of the European university alliance CIVICA, publicly recognised, and accredited by the Accreditation Council as well as the German Council of Science and Humanities.

About PD
PD – Berater der öffentlichen Hand GmbH is an in-house consulting company for the public sector. PD offers comprehensive project-related consulting and management services for federal, state and local authorities and other public clients on all issues relating to modern public administration and investment projects. PD mainly advises on strategy, organisation and investment projects, and provides support in the management of major projects and of procurement procedures. PD is fully owned by public shareholders. For more information, visit

Press contact
Hertie School
Alina Zurmühlen, Press Officer
+49 (0)160 911 66 983

PD – Berater der öffentlichen Hand
Anja Tannhäuser, Head of Marketing and Communications, Member of the Managing Board
+49 (0)160 909 12 224