UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Commission on Policy Engagement by Area Experts at UCL

UCL Public Policy is funding a Policy Commission to help improve the policy engagement capacity of area experts at UCL.

Portico building

Many academics with area expertise – that is, deep knowledge of the political, social, economic, and cultural features of particular countries and regions – are already engaged with members of the policy community, providing insights that help shape the responses of politicians and policymakers to developments around the world.

The Commission – which is running from March to September 2023 – will involve broad consultations (including workshops on 31 May 20238 June and 4 July 2023) within UCL, as well as with external stakeholders, to see what already works with this policy engagement and what could be enhanced. A range of pilot activities will also test innovative modes of policy engagement.

The results of these consultations and other activities will feed into a final report with recommendations that will be presented to the Vice Provost (Research, Innovation and Global Engagement) and the Vice President (External Engagement) in autumn 2023.

The Commission is co-led by Dr Ben Noble (Associate Professor of Russian Politics and Public Policy Lead, SSEES) and Lucy Shackleton (Head of Public Policy and Partnerships, European Institute).

Ways to get involved

Help shape the future of policy engagement by area experts at UCL.

As part of the Policy Commission, we are running an internal consultation process, including three consultative workshops, an online survey, and a series of interviews with policy-engaged area experts about their experiences.


We are organising three workshops (two in-person and one online) for colleagues from across UCL who are engaged in, or have an interest in, policy engagement by area experts. The events are open to academic and professional services staff.

The in-person workshops will be held at the following times – please follow the relevant link to register:

31 May 2023: Workshop: 11.00am to 12.30pm. Networking lunch: 12.30pm to 1.00pm, IAS Common Ground [Registration link

8 June 2023: Networking lunch: 1.00pm to 1.30pm. Workshop: 1.30pm to 3.00pm, IAS Common Ground [Registration link]

4 July 2023: Workshop: 11.00am to 12.30pm. Location TBC [Registration link]

The aim of the workshops is to generate a wide set of ideas that represent diverse perspectives from across the institution regarding how policy engagement by area experts might be facilitated in the future. A summary of the discussions will be circulated to colleagues after the event – and key findings and learning will feed into the final Commission Report. The workshops will provide participants with an opportunity to:

  • Meet other colleagues with area expertise and interests
  • Share views on current approaches to policy engagement by area experts at UCL, including perceived challenges and opportunities
  • Suggest how UCL could help strengthen the capacity of colleagues to inform policymakers nationally, regionally, globally
  • Network with colleagues from across UCL over lunch


In addition to the workshops, we invite those interested – including those planning to attend one of the three workshops – to complete a short survey. This survey addresses a series of questions relating to colleagues' current involvement in policy engagement, as well as their ideas for enhancing existing work and support. 


We would be delighted to arrange a time to speak to colleagues individually. If this is of interest to you, please then please reach out by email: benjamin.noble@ucl.ac.uk and l.shackleton@ucl.ac.uk.

Funding and governance

The UCL Public Policy Commissions Award is funded by Research England’s Quality-Related (QR) Policy Support Fund (PSF), which is held by UCL.

The Commission’s activities are guided and overseen by two co-chairs, Professor Li Wei (Director and Dean of the IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society) and Ciaran Moynihan (Director of Global Engagement), as well as a Steering Group, which brings together key people at UCL involved with policy engagement, area studies, and related activities.

Membership of the Policy Commission Steering Group:

Dr Seth Anziska, Mohamed S. Farsi-Lindenbaum Associate Professor of Jewish-Muslim Relations, Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies & Director of the Middle East Research Centre

Karen Brodie, Head of Programmes and Projects, Research Culture Team, Office of the Vice Provost (Research, Innovation & Global Engagement)

Katharine Carruthers, Global Strategic Academic Adviser China & Director of the IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society Confucius Institute for Schools

G. Björn Christianson, Head of Business Development, UCL Consultants

Professor David Coen, Professor of Public Policy & Pro Vice Provost Global Engagement

Helen Hopkins, Strategic Research Coordinator (Global Health), SLMS

Henry Killworth, Head of UCL Media Relations, External Engagement

Professor Diane Koenker, Professor of Russian and Soviet History & Director of the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)

Elinor Kruse, Senior Partnerships Manger, Global Engagement

Dr Jagjeet Lally, Associate Professor in the History of Early Modern and Modern India & founding Co-Director of UCL's Centre for the Study of South Asia and the Indian Ocean World

Professor Nicola Miller, Professor of Latin American History & Director, Institute for Advanced Studies

Siobhan Morris, Head of Programmes for the Grand Challenges of Cultural Understanding and Justice & Equality

Professor Florian Mussgnug, Professor of Comparative Literature and Italian Studies & Vice Dean International, Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Dr Julie Norman, Associate Professor (Teaching) in Politics and International Relations & Co-Director of the UCL Centre on US Politics (CUSP)

Steve O’Neil, Head of Public Affairs, External Engagement

Professor Christian Schuster, Professor in Public Management, Department of Political Science & Academic Co-Director, UCL Policy Lab

Professor Jolene Skordis, Professor of Health and Development Economics & Vice Dean International, Faculty of Population Health Sciences

Dr Uta Staiger, Associate Professor of European Studies, Global Strategic Academic Adviser Europe & Executive Director, European Institute

Dr Olivia Stevenson, Deputy Director, UCL Public Policy, VPRIGE

Professor Claire Thomson, Professor of Cinema History & Head of Department, School of European Languages and Cultures (SELCS)

Professor James Wilsdon, Professor of Research Policy, UCL STEaPP

Emma Wisby, Head of Policy and Public Affairs, IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society

Dr Nick Witham, Associate Professor of US History & Head of Department, Institute of the Americas

Image credit: UCL