Research Residency with OECD Provides Hands-on Experience with Regulatory Policymaking

Mercy DeMenno

As a Ph.D. student in Public Policy exploring regulatory governance, Mercy DeMenno engaged interdisciplinary communities to further her understanding of the regulatory policymaking process.

She took part in a Bass Connections project team, Reviewing Retrospective Regulatory Review, and was a Graduate Scholar with the Kenan Institute for Ethics’ Rethinking Regulation Program, where she also founded and led a graduate student working group with a Duke Support for Interdisciplinary Graduate Networks (D-SIGN) grant.

As she neared the end of her doctoral education, DeMenno sought to gain hands-on experience working with policymakers and civil society organizations on strategies to promote effective regulatory governance. She was among 18 Duke students who received Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grants (GSTEG) in 2017-2018 from the Office of the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies for training beyond their core disciplines. Her faculty mentor was Frederick Mayer.

A summary of her GSTEG experience is excerpted below.

I undertook a wonderful experiential learning and collaborative research experience in 2017, which enabled me to contribute to the theory and practice of effective regulatory governance. With the support of the Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grant, I completed a 3-month research residency at the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) headquarters in Paris, France.

The OECD is an intergovernmental organization that seeks to promote policies that improve economic and social wellbeing. The OECD realizes this mission by providing policy research and analysis as well as a forum for intergovernmental collaboration on a range of policy issues. Within the OECD, I worked with the Directorate for Public Governance in the Regulatory Policy Division. The Regulatory Policy Division provides research and analysis to policymakers and regulators from the 39 OECD member and accession countries (and beyond) as well as representatives from over 50 international organizations.

The Regulatory Policy Division’s portfolio covers a range of regulatory governance issues, and the Division has developed key competencies in several areas germane to my dissertation research—including stakeholder participation in rulemaking, regulatory impact assessment, and international regulatory co-operation—making it an ideal place to work at the intersection of the theory and practice of effective regulatory governance as a doctoral student.

During my research residency at the OECD, I extended my dissertation research through collaborative research projects and conversations with policymakers about the translational implications of my dissertation research for both domestic and international rulemaking. I also conducted novel empirical research on international regulatory co-operation and presented results to policymakers and country delegates of the OECD Regulatory Policy Committee. Finally, I helped design and orchestrate an advisory panel of academics to work with leaders of international organizations on developing and implementing best practices for international rulemaking.

The Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grant experience contributed to my envisaged academic and professional trajectory by improving my research, leadership, and communication skills; enhancing the quality and impact of my dissertation; and embedding me in a network of critical importance to my post-degree job search.

The experience will also result in several publications. For example, my research on international regulatory co-operation will be featured in the OECD’s 2018 Regulatory Policy Outlook and in a forthcoming OECD working paper.


This internal funding mechanism from the Office of the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies encourages doctoral and master’s students to step away from their core research and training to acquire skills, knowledge, or co-curricular experiences that will give them new perspectives on their research agendas. Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grants are intended to deepen preparation for academic positions and other career trajectories.

  • Read other GSTEG updates from 2017-18 grantees.
  • See who received GSTEG grants for 2018-19.


Photo: Mercy DeMenno in front of OECD member countries’ flags, December 2017