UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose


IIPP work in city innovation being scaled up with the support of Max and Jida Bittner

22 February 2021

UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP) will scale its mission oriented city innovation research, policy and education impact thanks to the support of UCL donors, Max and Jida Bittner.

rudy issa unsplash

Image by Rudy Issa via Unsplash.

IIPP is delighted to announce a new partnership with Max and Jida Bittner to meet our shared ambitions and address the pressing challenge of climate change, taking a mission oriented approach to support green city innovation on a global scale. 

A post-COVID ‘Healthy Green Deal’ at international, national and local level must start with understanding and exploring how to do capitalism differently. Cities around the world are at the heart of this. They are eager to work with their citizens and business community to undertake the work of rethinking what governments are for; rather than simply fixing market failures when they arise, governments should move towards actively shaping and creating markets to take on society’s most pressing challenges. The recovery must harness the full range of tools at the disposal of government – from investment, to procurement, to challenge prizes – to tilt the playing field in the direction of equitable, climate-resilient and sustainable economic growth.

Thanks to the generous support of Max and Jida Bittner, IIPP will extend its pioneering work with cities all over the world to research and design new policies that enable city level innovation that is grounded in public purpose for a just and sustainable transition to curb the climate crisis. This will build on IIPP’s work with cities including:

  • Working with Greater Manchester to become the first city-region with a mission-oriented approach to carbon neutrality by 2038 through the PELICAN project.
  • Joining with the London Borough of Camden, to lead The Camden Renewal Commission, which will help spark ambitious policy and practical solutions to level up long-standing inequalities in Camden that have been exposed by Coronavirus.
  • A strategic partnership with the European Institute of Technology’s Climate-KIC project on the iParadigm project, working on Deep Demonstration of Healthy, Clean Cities and Resilient Regions to map innovation patterns and frame innovation paradigms, co-creating strategic innovations for systems change.
  • Advising the region of Biscay, Northern Spain, in a world-first project to create a regional tax system aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
  • Exploring the extraction of value, or ‘rents’, from the public space by private interests. We were involved with the Greater London Authority’s Mayoral team examining the Public Value of the High Streets and have since considered how high streets can be a hub for public value during the Covid-19 crisis.
  • Developing a partnership with C40 – a network of international mayors working to tackle the climate crisis – to support cities within the network pursue green economic renewal after Covid-19 
  • Developing a high-level partnership and Cities Council with UN Habitat.

The Mission Oriented City Innovation: Tackling The Climate Crisis workstream will enable IIPP to build upon the work we have already begun in cities and allow this to be scaled up, making a bigger impact in both research and practice. This support will also establish new funding streams to enable outstanding PhD and MPA candidates to join IIPP, training purpose-driven leaders driven to create a sustainable future. More details on the Bittner Sustainability Scholarships can be found here and here.

IIPP Director Mariana Mazzucato:

The climate crisis and the green transition are the grand challenges of our generation. The generous support of Max and Jida Bittner will enable IIPP’s amazing green team to continue punching far above our weight in having an impact on greening economic systems around the world. It will also enable climate-focused PhD and MPA students to join our department. We are looking forward to working closely with the Bittner family in the future!

Max Bittner is a UCL alumnus, CEO of Vestiaire Collective, and a key figure in the growing international market for sustainable high fashion. Jida Bittner is a sustainable investor, contributing to worldwide initiatives that enable ecological and social impact to encourage innovative and climate-conscious business models. Together, Max and Jida are committed to exploring solutions-focussed responses to create a more sustainable future for all.

Max and Jida Bittner said of the award:

“We are proud to be joining forces with the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose to realise its ambitions and provide the urgent and innovative solutions necessary to tackle the climate crisis. We hope this support can contribute to a much-need global response to the challenges of climate change and see real-world impact now and in the future.”

About the Bittner Sustainability Scholarships

The Bittner PhD Sustainability Scholarship enables one UK-domiciled student with a commitment to topics related to green economics, climate change and/or sustainably to pursue a full-time PhD for a period of three years.

The funds cover the full cost of research fees and living stipend in each academic year. For further details see our PhD scholarship page.

The Bittner MPA Sustainability scholarship provides £22,500 to support a UK or Overseas student with a commitment to topics related to green economics, climate change and/or sustainably to pursue a full-time PhD for a period of three years. Funds can be used at the recipient’s discretion to support their fees and/or living costs for the duration of their degree. For further details see our MPA scholarship page.