UCL News


UCL professor awarded for outstanding contribution to UK-Italian relations

17 September 2021

Professor Mariana Mazzucato (Director, UCL Institute for Innovation & Public Purpose – IIPP) has been given the 2021 Pontignano Award by the British Embassy in Rome and British Council Italy.

Professor Mariana Mazzucato

The Pontignano Award is conferred annually to an individual who has made a significant contribution to UK-Italy relations at the Pontignano Conference, an annual event considered one of the most important to the UK-Italy relationship.

The conference aims to bring together a select group of influential delegates from the worlds of education and academia; technology and innovation; culture and society; business and finance; politics; foreign and security policy and the government and media.

The Pontignano Award recognises Professor Mazzucato’s contributions to innovative economic thinking in the UK, Italy and globally, and in particular her role in shaping European industrial and innovation strategy.

Commenting on her award, Professor Mazzucato said: “I am deeply honoured to receive this year’s Pontignano Award. Italy and the UK face many of the same problems and opportunities – around climate change, inequality and lagging productivity. Working closely with the UK government since 2017 on its challenge-based industrial strategy, with Prime Minister Conte on the Italian recovery programme and in 2021 with the G7 Panel on Economic Resilience under the leadership of Lord Mark Sedwill – has been truly inspirational.”

The Pontignano Conference was founded by the British Council and St Antony’s College Oxford in 1993. It brings together current and future leaders from the UK and Italy to address common challenges and develop networks and close relationships. Since its founding, the conference has built a network that includes ministers, prime ministers, presidents and leaders from the business and academic worlds.

Professor Mazzucato continued: “If we are to achieve our goals on inclusive and sustainable growth it is crucial that economic theory and practice be rethought to be more goal oriented with new metrics around the common good and public purpose at the centre of how we think about budgets, procurement and public-private collaborations.

“Only in this way will we be able to improve equity in the global health response, accelerate investment in climate mitigation and adaptation and promote fair labour standards. The work of the G7 Panel offers timely recommendations for both countries as they seek to build economies in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that are more resilient.”



  • Credit: Professor Mariana Mazzucato


  • UCL Institute for Innovation & Public Purpose

Media contact

Kate Corry

Tel: +44 (0)20 3108 6995

Email: k.corry [at] ucl.ac.uk