UCL Mathematical & Physical Sciences


Interview with Professor Lucie Green

Interview with Professor Lucie Green, Professor of Physics and UCL Public Policy Board Member

Professor Lucie Green is a UCL Professor of Physics based at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory. Lucie joined the MAPS Faculty in 2005 and in 2016 she was nominated as the Faculty’s representative to the UCL Public Policy Board. The Board works with us (the Public Policy Initiative) to improve the picture of UCL’s strengths, augmenting activity and identifying opportunities to enhance UCL’s policy impact even further.

Lucie Green
Lucie joins us to give her reflections on the public policy work taking place within MAPS and the visions she has for the future.

“The right project with the right audience can help deliver real impact from our research and is extremely rewarding”

Q. What motivated you to become a member of the UCL Public Policy Board?
For me, a university is a place for not only knowledge generation but also knowledge dissemination. Including engaging with audiences outside of academia. I think we have a duty to be proactive in this and, if our engagement activities are well thought through, there will be clear benefits for all involved. So, as soon as I joined UCL I became active in public engagement and started working with schools. Later, my work in the area of space weather meant my engagement broadened and I started to meet people in the civil service who were involved with setting science policy. This, combined with the fact that MAPS has such a broad range of policy-relevant research motivated me to join the UCL Public Policy Board to help support our work in this area.

 Q. What are the challenges to public policy engagement for MAPS researchers?
I think there are two main challenges. One is that public policy is a broad area, referring to the whole gamut of research and evidence that informs public policy across all dimensions. The challenge then is to be able to understand and identify what public policy can mean at the level of an individual project. The second challenge is that people are already extremely busy, and pulled in many directions through the various demands of the higher education system. Adding public policy to an already varied portfolio of activities may seem like a significant amount of work that doesn’t offer much in return. Whereas in fact, just like with public engagement, the right project with the right audience can help deliver real impact from our research and is extremely rewarding. There is the added aspect that impact is also taken into account when it comes to career progression at UCL.

 Q. What are the opportunities for public policy engagement for MAPS researchers?
Opportunities for public policy engagement are varied. From giving evidence to Parliamentary enquiries, to contributions to a relevant committee or taking a public policy placement. It may be that your work would benefit from gathering opinion from community stakeholders that in turn could help shape your research project whilst also being used to inform policy. In order to raise awareness of the opportunities and stimulate interest, we will be sending out bite-sized pieces of information in the faculty newsletter over the coming months. We will also be holding discussion events and setting up a network of Policy Champions. The latter will be provided with training and support and the Champions will be able to help shape the public policy work of their departments. It is also envisioned that our REF Impact case studies will include some examples of our public policy work.

 Q. Any tips you would give a MAPS researcher looking to connect with the policy world?
For those totally new to public policy and who want to get involved, I would suggest having a look at examples of the work being done so far. There is lots of information on the UCL Public Policy website, for example. Start to think about ways that your research might be of use in the policy sphere and which areas interest you the most. It might be that your next grant application could have a policy dimension and that this would contribute to the increasingly required “impact” aspect. Whether you are new or already engaged in public policy, if you want more detailed support, then I would suggest getting in touch with either myself or the new Public Policy Engagement Facilitator for BEAMS, Emma Baxter. There is support available, there is UCL funding available and, outside academia, we certainly need decisions that impact society to be based on research and evidence. So let’s work together to make that happen.