Research Ops / Kathmandu Retreat

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  • Regular price $3,350.00

The Research Operations retreat is for practitioners looking to build a qualitative research practice that is ethical, efficient, impactful and scalable. 

We recognise the needs and opportunities that come from being on the front-line of user and consumer behaviour—the diverse contexts that research teams find themselves in and the unique assets that qualitative research generates.

During this retreat, you’ll immerse yourself in what it takes to deliver research operations at scale. You’ll share war stories with other practitioners, learn how to remain calm in the face of chaos, and emerge with a renewed sense of confidence and focus. Your hosts, Jan Chipchase and Kate Towsey, will curate the sessions to draw out your experience and share best practices. 

We’ve booked a beautiful, sprawling estate with stunning views of Kathmandu Valley. Situated at 1,800m, it’s surrounded by rolling hills with villages and temples in walking distance. Sleeping is in the main lodge or the three cottages and includes a yoga and meditation deck overlooking the valley, perfect for early mornings before the working sessions start.

Given that October is trekking season, post-retreat a few of us will take off on the 17th October for the 9-day Langtang Trek out towards the border with Tibet. The trek is moderate difficulty, up to 5,000m, which you are welcome to join. Costs, estimated about $500, will be split based on the number of people going.


Sessions are highly interactive and draw on the hosts and attendees’ experience of delivering research operations for corporate, start-up, nonprofit and government clients. Mornings are focused sessions; afternoons include immersive activities. 

You’ll learn:

  • How to develop a strategy to frame, understand and plan research operations
  • The pros and cons of building a research organisation versus a research practice
  • What to pay attention to at the various stages of team growth
  • Hiring for research operations and researcher roles
  • Identifying the optimal research mix (immersive, remote etc.)
  • Planning research ops
  • Research ethics
  • Data governance and how to avoid data contamination
  • Research recruiting best practices 
  • Demystifying finances, from projects to cost centres
  • Designing efficient research technology stacks
  • Tooling for qualitative and quantitative data
  • Team wellbeing
  • How to work effectively with managers from other corporate functions
  • Strategies to ensure research longevity (and why organisational knowledge bases mostly fail and what we’ve learned so far)
  • Lessons from research ops, DesignOps and analogous communities
  • From data to folklore, how to shape the organisational DNA


14 - 17 October 2020 (three nights)


A unique hillside lodge, close to KathmanduNepal.

For those of you that want to extend their trip, our venue is a great jumping-off point for exploring the region. We'll provide a comprehensive Welcome & Logistics document to make the most of your trip.


Limited to sixteen attendees.

Studio D Retreats attract people from diverse backgrounds and life stages. Past attendees have included designers, researchers, filmmakers, strategists, founders, VCs, and NGOs, from independents to those working for some of the world's most interesting organisations. All have an international mindset and many are looking to broaden their network of likeminds, skillset and world view.

We also offer a scholarship for two attendees from Nepal, India or China. Suitable candidates can apply here.


Fly to Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM). The lodge is about an hour from the airport. 

You can arrive in Kathmandu on the 14th October—it takes less than an hour from the airport to the lodge with numerous taxi options. The event formally starts at 5pm on the 14th, and attendees are welcome to arrive from midday if they wish to explore the area. Transport to Kathmandu or Kathmandu Airport is available on the morning of the 17th of October. 

Many nationalities can obtain a Visa on Arrival (VoA) at the airport. Alternatively, obtain a visa through your local Nepali consulate. You are responsible for your visa application. 

Detailed instructions on how to get there will be shared with attendees after booking.


The retreat price includes:

  • Informing and inspiring training

  • Lodge accommodation in shared bedrooms, plus run of the estate

  • Breakfast + lunch + dinner + banquet on the second night

Excludes: travel to/from Kathmandu and the lodge, visa, alcohol, insurance, optional trek.


Weather and visibility-wise, this part of Nepal is perfect in October—expect crisp mornings and warm 20 degrees celsius / 68 fahrenheit during the day. 

If you're planning a trek post-retreat should bring all-weather gear.

Our hosts will provide home-cooked meals. In keeping with the spirit of popup studios, we can help out in the kitchen. There will be a good supply of quality caffeine. 

Sessions will be in English. 

Please read our cancellation policy before booking. All attendees are required to sign a risk waiver. 

Reach out if you have any questions.


Jan Chipchase is the Founder of Studio D, that provides discreet research, design and strategy projects for commercial clients with a global remit. He previously founded and built the global research operations practice at frog design, across eight global studios. He started his career in Nokia, where he became Principal Scientist in the Tokyo Research Laboratory.

Kate Towsey has specialised in Research Operations for nine years and has been instrumental in growing and shaping the emerging practice globally. In 2018, she founded the ResearchOps Community Slack channel (now 4000 people) and currently curates a members-only community of operations practitioners. Kate regularly consults for large organisations on topics including research labs, participant recruitment, data governance strategies and research communications. She currently lives in Sydney where she manages a global team delivering Research Operations for Atlassian.

We look forward to seeing you at Research Ops / Kathmandu.

—Jan & Kate


Terms & Conditions | Cancellation Policy