UCL Public Policy


Engaging with the United Nations and Intergovernmental Organisations

Access resources, support and advice to support your engagement with multilateral institutions.

From the COVID-19 pandemic to climate change and the war in Ukraine, societies face interconnected and evolving challenges. Multilateral institutions such as United Nations agencies foster the coordination of prevention and response to these challenges, and science plays a vital role in this process. 

In line with UCL’s position as London’s Global University, UCL research and expertise informs international public policy through evidence, methods, expertise, logic, and innovations, helping to guide international negotiations, develop solid programs, evaluate their impact, and shape collective decision-making. 

However, academic-policy engagement is often challenging. Most researchers do not receive training on engaging with policy actors, forcing them to learn on their own on an ad hoc basis. Research directions and outputs are not necessarily in line with policy needs. Policy actors’ usual lack of research skills hinder the use of science in their decisions. 

Useful resources

Guidence notes

This guidance note provides an introduction to policymaking on UN-level and the formal structures for science advice within UN Agencies and Organisations. It also includes information, advice and guidance on the different forms of engagement (e.g. expert advisory groups or consultancy opportunities), resources for staying up to date on opportunities on UN level, and case studies of impactful UN-level policy engagement at UCL. 

Engaging with Intergovernmental Organisations/UN Agencies

UN guidence

Capacity-building workshop

Access slides from a recent capacity-building workshop (June 2022) delivered by the Geneva Science Policy Interface covering the structures and covering: 

  • Actors, processes and opportunities in international policy, specifically related to the international Geneva ecosystem of actors (U.N., global NGOs, platforms, etc.); 
  • Successes, failures and practices in engaging with international policy actors and processes; and 
  • Applying the above to your own realities to reflect on how you can make progress and cross-pollinate your learnings. 

> View slides (pdf)

Nicolas Seidler, Executive Director of the GSPI

Learn more about the realities of engaging with the United Nations and the wider Geneva eco-system of international organisations from Executive Director of the GSPI, Nicolas Seidler

What is the role of science in UN policymaking?

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What are the challenges researchers encounter when trying to inform policy at international level? 

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What three tips would you give researchers interested in engaging in this space?

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