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UCL Economics has won a flagship contract with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office

29 November 2017

The Department of Economics at UCL has won a flagship contract to train the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s staff and diplomats around the world in economics, ranging from how different markets and exchange rates operate to the economics of climate change and macro-economic crises. 

The bespoke courses, aimed at degree level learners, will be largely delivered online and are geared towards giving FCO staff practical insights on the markets and economies where they are posted.

" “We are giving FCO staff ways to operationalise knowledge in a way that is useful in their posts,” said Parama Chaudhury, academic director of the programme which is being delivered by UCL’s Centre for Teaching and Learning Economics (CTaLE) and Department of Economics.

Tony Osude, a director at UCL Consultants Ltd (UCLC), said: “This contract is a wonderful opportunity for UCL, the top-ranked Economics research department in the UK, to share its knowledge at the heart of government. It also provides a great platform for UCL’s innovative teaching methods.”

Shamik Dhar, FCO Chief Economist and Head of the Diplomatic Academy Economics and Prosperity Faculty, said: “UCL won the contract by really thinking through what our diplomats need in their day jobs and are designing a course that is accessible to the whole of the FCO’s global network”.

Economists from the department will train up to 300 FCO staff a year over four years. The FCO has held economics courses for its staff for many years; however, UCL Economics will modernise the way economics is taught in the FCO.

CTaLE Team

The programme was designed to suit staff out in the field who might have to take the courses after a busy day. It includes video on demand, with teaching broken into 15 to 20 minute sections, and live interactive webinar sessions.

Staff are able to go at their own pace and are empowered to develop their own learning and economic skills by being pointed to publicly-available databases and resources where they can build on what they are taught.

A series of masterclasses are also planned, with potentially one four days long in the UK and at least two abroad over three days based in hubs such as Washington for the Americas or Singapore for South East Asia.

" “We will be introducing learners to cutting edge research,” said Dr Parama Chaudhury, a principal teaching fellow at UCL. "Learners in this programme will be equipped with the knowledge of the most reliable and current research on pressing issues, and what the experts in the field are presently recommending in terms of policy."

The contract was won through an open competition where UCL scored particularly highly on content and focus on learner needs.