UCL Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy


Policy Impact Unit celebrates two years of public policy engagement

19 April 2021

To mark the first two years of the Policy Impact Unit (PIU) the team has published a report looking back on the PIU’s key activities and achievements, along with the team’s strategic priorities for the future.

PIU report cover

The review covers the first two years of the Policy Impact Unit’s operations, from 2019 to 2020, and outlines their progress and achievements in delivering high quality policy engagement across the UCL Faculty of Engineering Sciences. Highlights include:

  • A collaboration with Dr Leonie Tanczer on the Gender and Internet of Things project leading to citations in both government and parliament, and Parliamentary Questions raised by Paul Sweeney MP and Chi Onwurah MP.
  • Contributions from Professor Martina Micheletti to a POSTnote on vaccinations and submission of written evidence to House of Commons Select Committee inquiries as part of the team’s work with the Future Vaccine Manufacturing Research Hub.
  • Coverage in the Telegraph, Daily Mail, The Independent, Daily Star, Daily Mirror and Daily Record following a policy briefing on AI and Crime with the Dawes Centre for Future Crime.
  • 11 policy professionals taking part in the pilot Global Policy Fellows programme in 2019 – a week-long knowledge exchange programme that brought together international policy professionals with UK-based academics and policymakers to explore solutions to ‘live’ policy challenges.

In the foreword, Professor Nigel Titchener-Hooker, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering Sciences, writes: “Building relationships with decision makers and wider policy community is key to ensuring that our research has an impact in the real world. At the same time, we need to know how to speak their language and to identify the elements of our research that will have the greatest utility.

“The Policy Impact Unit has been instrumental not only in opening doors that had previously been closed to us, but the team also brings the ability to construct the conversations in a way that give us real longevity of exposure and, ultimately, impact.”

The Policy Impact Unit, which is based in UCL STEaPP, aims to increase the use of the world-class research produced by UCL Engineering researchers in the policymaking process. The team, which currently includes Dr Chris Tyler, Director of Research and Policy; Jenny Bird, Public Policy Manager; and PIU Policy Analysts Dr Penny Carmichael, Florence Greatrix and Ana Rita Pinho, use their expertise in both academia and policy to broker the gap between research and policy and make policy engagement accessible to a wider range of academics.

To find out more about the PIU’s work and the team, download the Policy Impact Unit: Our First Two Years report here.