Policymaking attempts to solve problems or challenges at the international, national, and community levels. It involves several stages - policy identification, agenda-setting stage, policy formulation, policy legitimation, policy implementation, and evaluation - and several different interest groups or actors (both public and private) with different roles and values. These actors include the government, bureaucrats, political parties, labour unions, civil society organizations, citizens, international organizations, and academia. At any level, policymaking can be affected by several challenges including unrealistic goals, political interference, political patronage, lack of resources, corruption, inadequate skilled personnel, and lack of/inadequate implementation and evaluation. Understanding the impact of these challenges and developing innovative approaches to addressing them is important to the policymaking process and its effectiveness. Moreover, the extent of inclusiveness of the policymaking process may be essential to ensuring that policies deliver shared outcomes. These issues in policymaking are even more crucial in developing country contexts where there are significant resource constraints and weak institutions.

Under this theme, ISSER is interested in the social, economic, political, and environmental dimensions of policymaking. The research includes, but is not limited to, the following areas: (i) understanding the ties among the different actors and how this influences the entire network of decision-making and interactions among actors (ii) implementation gaps (iii) sustainability of policies and (iv) how policymaking affects diverse populations. At ISSER, we view policymaking to be multi-faceted, having elements that relate to many social, economic, political, and environmental imperatives, and believe that policies should reflect the confluence of these elements and interests instead of coming out of an uncoordinated policy ecosystem.