UCL Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy


Policy Impact Unit Quarterly Update

4 August 2022

Read the latest updates, outputs and activities from the Policy Impact Unit in UCL STEaPP.

Image with text that says Policy Impact Unit Quarterly Update

In April, we were delighted to welcome Dr Luis Lacerda to the team, who joins us from the Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health. Luis is working with the WEISS research team to deliver policy engagement on AI, surgery and inequality. 

As one door opens, another closes; Dr Penny Carmichael left the PIU in July to take up a policy role at Ofgem. Penny has played a central role in establishing the PIU and has delivered fantastic policy engagement for the Future Targeted Healthcare Manufacturing Hub and the Vax-Hub. We were very sorry to see her leave, but wish her the best of luck in her exciting new role. We will be recruiting a new Policy Adviser to continue our collaborations with the Vax-Hub and FTHMH teams. 

Congratulations to Flo Greatrix, who recently started a CAPE Fellowship with GO-Science, where she will be working on developing new knowledge exchange mechanisms with the emerging technology sector.  


Tech abuse 

The PIU's collaboration with Dr Leonie Tanczer (UCL Computer Science) has sought to put the issue of ‘tech abuse’ on the policy agenda. After 4 years of ongoing engagement, the idea is now very much on policy makers’ radars: 

Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill 

The team were pleased to support UCL researchers to engage with legislators as the Bill makes its way through Parliament. 

  • Our briefing on the security of consumer IoT, produced with Prof Shane Johnson (UCL Security and Crime Science) was cited in the explanatory notes to the Bill. 
  • Professor Madeline Carr (UCL Computer Science) was invited to provide oral evidence to the Commons Bill Committee and was quoted by the Shadow Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Minister Chris Elmore on the floor of the House in the subsequent debate on the Bill. 
  • We worked with Lord Clement-Jones to table an amendment based on Professor Carr’s evidence to the Bill in the Lords Committee stage with the intention of raising the issue of the need for increased security measures in products that are used by children. In response, the Minister gave an assurance that security requirements would be designed with full consideration for the security of children.  


  • Hub researchers participated in a working group of UNCTAD/WHO on building vaccines production capacity.  
  • The team was invited to discuss leading a viral vector initiative for WHO Vaccine Technology Transfer Hubs.  
  • We hosted a lab tour for CEPI Executive Director of Manufacturing and Supply Chain and meeting with CEPI representatives to discuss future engagements.  

Circular economy of construction materials 

Following an initial collaboration, ONS provided additional funding to the Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Centre on Mineral-Based Construction Materials (ICEC-MCM) to inform their Integrated Data Service Project. 

National Security Strategy 

In June Professor Neil Morisetti (Vice Dean Public Policy, UCL Engineering) gave oral evidence to the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy on the topic of global supply chains, focusing on the impact of the Ukraine conflict (particularly on food supply chains), and climate change (on supply chains more broadly, as an aspect of CNI). He also gave evidence on the recently published UK government Food Strategy. 

Engagement activity 


Collaborative workshops and sandpits 

  • Sandpit ‘International Dimensions of Cybersecurity’ (RISCS, UCL Computer Science). Included participants from DCMS, NCSC and FCDO. 
  • Sandpit ‘Sustainable practices for manufacturing personalised medicines’ (FTHMH, UCL Biochemical Engineering). Included participants from Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, NHS, AstraZeneca and KTN. 
  • Sandpit ‘The skills agenda for vaccine manufacturing’ (Vax-Hub, UCL Biochemical Engineering). Participants included CEPI, Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, CHAI, PATH and WHO 
  • Sandpit ‘Opportunities in needle-free vaccine formulation’(Vax-Hub, UCL Biochemical Engineering). Participants included CEPI, CHAI, BEIS, PATH, UNICEF and Wellcome. 
  • Event ‘The pandemic two years on: what have we learned, and are we better placed to deal with future crises?’ (IPPO and UCL STEaPP)
  • Roundtable on Social Capital (IPPO and UCL STEaPP) 
  • Launch of NHS Staff Wellbeing and Mental Health report (IPPO and UCL STEaPP) 


  • ECR away day provided for RISCS, including a training session on policy engagement. 

Consultation responses