The UCL Public Policy team help to strengthen links between UCL researchers and policy professionals, and provide and create opportunities for UCL research to engage with policy.
UCL Public Policy is an initiative of the UCL Vice-Provost (Research) that seeks to bring UCL’s academic expertise to bear on pressing public policy challenges by integrating knowledge and evidence from across disciplines to inform policy. It provides an interface for researchers and policymakers, facilitates routes for engagement between research and public policy, supports the translation of research into policy-focused outputs, and promotes dialogue and debate on key public policy questions.
As well as organising public events and roundtable discussions on policy issues, we also manage a policy fellowship scheme for up-and-coming researchers, and supporting specific policy-oriented research activity and briefings. Our aim is to help both parties understand each other so the world's best research informs world-leading policy.
We are currently working to build and grow the UCL Policy Champions Network, a grass-roots group of UCL researchers, academics, and professional services staff who act as ambassadors for academic-policy engagement within their own research community and across UCL. We also work with the OVPR Public Policy Board, which includes a senior representative from each faculty, to improve our picture of UCL’s strengths, augment our activity and identify opportunities to enhance UCL’s policy impact even further.
What can we do for policymakers?
UCL Public Policy seeks to engage on topics that are of relevance to policy professionals where UCL research can illuminate policy problems.
- Acts as a point of contact for external policymakers who wish to consult UCL expertise
- Convenes roundtable meetings which bring together researchers and policymakers to discuss topical issues, facilitating dialogue and networking
- Provides accessible high-level research summaries for policymakers, based on key UCL research activities
- Explains UCL research on platforms specifically for policymakers, such as our series of podcasts
- Runs world-leading training and learning opportunities in the field of Public Policy, from professional development courses up to PhD level.
UCL supports a rare breadth and depth of knowledge and expertise, drawn from world-leading research, to address complex policy challenges. UCL Public Policy works with UCL Grand Challenges to support cross-disciplinary work at UCL to deliver greater impact and enhanced benefit for society.
Throughout all of this we remain non-partisan and independent, and seek to inform policy development rather than necessarily advocate specific policies. You can see examples of UCL research that has influenced high-level policymaking here.
What can we do for researchers?
UCL Public Policy can help researchers from across UCL to engage with policymakers. We work with academics of all disciplines and at all levels, from PhD students to professors.
The support we can offer includes:
- Funding – a small grants scheme and funded policy placements
- Opportunities to participate in policy-focused activities – policy roundtables, public policy events and the development of research summaries for policymakers
- Advice, guidance, and training – online resources and advice sessions to help you enhance the policy impact of your research
- Support for researcher-led policy engagement – including funding applications and Select Committee inquiries.
Other UCL researchers have found their research at the forefront of real public policy developments.
The UCL Public Policy team
Sarah Chaytor is Director of Research Strategy & Policy, and Joint Chief of Staff in the Office of the Vice-Provost (Research), with responsibility for overseeing the UCL Public Policy programme, as well as advising the Vice-Provost on research policy.
Her role includes leading on UCL’s external policy engagement, managing the UCL Public Policy portfolio of activities, building UCL’s capacity to engage with public policy, and managing strategic projects. She joined UCL in 2009 from the Russell Group where she was a research fellow specialising in research policy. Previously she worked in policy roles at the Wellcome Trust, Universities UK, and as a parliamentary researcher.
Sarah is currently on maternity leave.
Dr Olivia Stevenson is Head of UCL Public Policy and a cofounder of the Universities Policy Engagement Network (UPEN) - a network of UK universities who are working together to increase the public policy impact from their research.
Olivia works with academics and policy professionals to build networks and joint activities. Leading the UCL Public Policy initiative, Olivia generates collaboration opportunities to improve the quality of engagement between academic research and public policy and manages strategic initiatives. Olivia is formerly a board Member for the Campaign for Social Science and has over 10 years' research experience, delivered a range of internationally recognised high impact research projects and related Knowledge Exchange/Knowledge Transfer activities. Further details and publications can be found by visiting her UCL research profile
Katherine Welch is Head of External Engagement and Partnerships.
Prior to joining OVPR, Katherine spent five years as Deputy Director/Institute Manager for the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources, managing the key services, areas of work and institutional partnerships with academia, industry and public sector partners.
Carina Schneider is Public Policy Engagement Facilitator with UCL Public Policy and responsible for knowledge exchange activities and grant funding to support engagement between researchers across the BEAMS EPSRC portfolios and the external policy landscape, working with Deans of Faculty, Heads of Department, and relevant members of the UCL Public Policy Board, to help develop and inform knowledge exchange strategy and dissemination for such research.
Carina was previously Centre and Policy Manager for the UCL Urban Dynamics Lab, a five-year EPSRC Digital Economy Network project, and over the past 10 years has worked in public programmes, communications and policy positions for The Bartlett, the Royal Institute of British Architects, Groundwork UK and Association of MBAs.
Dr George Dibb is Head of Industrial Strategy & Policy Engagement, a joint position between UCL Public Policy in the Office of the Vice-Provost (Research) and the UCL Institute for Innovation & Public Purpose (IIPP).
George’s role involves co-ordinating the academic policy engagement from across UCL into the government’s Industrial Strategy, from AI in healthcare to the future of mobility. George acts as the secretariat of the UCL Commission on Mission Oriented Innovation and Industrial Strategy (MOISS) and the UCL Commission on Green Innovation Policy. George’s joint position also involves overseeing the policy engagement of the new UCL Institute for Innovation & Public Purpose (IIPP), with the founder and director, Prof Mariana Mazzucato.
George joined UCL in 2018 from the cross-party think-tank Policy Connect having previously worked in industrial, technology, manufacturing & innovation policy. George holds a PhD in Physics from Imperial College London in novel photovoltaic technologies, and previously worked as a research scientist at the National Physical Laboratory.
Audrey Tan is the Public Policy Engagement Facilitator (PPF). The (PPEF) role is funded through a Wellcome Institutional Strategic Sponsorship Fund with the purpose of accelerating the impact of research in the biomedical, life and population health sciences. Audrey works with and supports the Head of UCL Public Policy and the Director of Research Coordination and Planning (SLMS) to identify research in SLMS with policy relevance and develops dissemination and knowledge exchange strategies for such research.
Audrey joined UCL in 2019 as the Network Support Fellow for Cochrane's Circulation and Breathing Network, based in the Institute of Health Informatics. Previously, Audrey worked as Systematic Reviewer with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists where she developed clinical practice guidelines for the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
Prof Graeme Reid is Chair of Science & Research Policy at UCL.
He teaches on several postgraduate courses at UCL and has a research interest in the relationship between taxpayers and the science community. Graeme was specialist advisor to the House of Lords inquiry on EU Membership and UK Science ahead of the 2016 referendum. Graeme has spent many years atthe interface between science and government, including a civil service career that spanned the Treasury, the Cabinet Office and BIS. He was head of research funding at BIS and made the case for the science budget in the coalition government’s 2010 spending review. He is a physicist and chartered engineer.
Want to learn more about us, our aims and how we work? Read the UCL Public Policy Strategy here.