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UCL Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy

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MPA Final Project

Our MPA degrees offer students the opportunity to work on real-world policy challenges

We partner with a range of organisations to offer applied learning projects. The most significant of these is the MPA Group Project, the equivalent of an individual research thesis in an academic Masters programme. Each MPA Group will work with a partner organisation that has a genuine need to solve a particular policy challenge.

Previous partners include:

Previous MPA Group Projects

2018-19

The challenge of low savings and overconsumption in UAEUAE Prime Ministers Office
Decentralised diesel v. decentralised renewablesOverseas Development Institute (ODI)
Disruptive Digital Technologies for Development and InnovationWorld Food Programme 
Forecast-based Financing: Opportunities for Mobilising Climate FinanceRed Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre
The Present and Future of Data Portability in IoT Open Rights Group
Michael Veale (UCL STEaPP)

Understanding Innovation and the IoT Ecosystem: The Role of Standards in Meeting SMEs Strategic Priorities

BSI
Open IoT Mark 
ANEC

Transitions to Sustainable Urban Mobility: Policy Lessons

Department of CEGE (Clemence Cavoli) 
UN Habitat
World Bank.

What next for world cities culture data?London City Hall (Greater London Authority)
BOP Consulting

2017-18 

 

Urban Green Infrastructure 
Project title: Urban Green Infrastructure: Converting research into policy action
Client:Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO)
Brief:

Background

The Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO) is a research agency that exists as a collaboration between the University of the Witwatersrand, the University of Johannesburg and the Gauteng provincial government, South Africa. They produce research and analysis around many regional social, environmental and economic challenges. The GCRO is unusual in the context of urban observatories in its engagement with multiple governance levels, taking place across a heterogeneous city-region rather than a single, constrained urban core.

The GCRO has an ongoing programme of work on 'Green assets and infrastructure' in the city-region. Over the last few years the GCRO have conducted mapping and documenting exercises, resulting in the "State of Green Infrastructure" report. They have also run a series of stakeholder engagements known as 'CityLabs' to start to understand experiences and leverage expertise present in the development and management of green infrastructure projects. GCRO are now in the process of digesting the outcomes of this work in appropriate ways to benefit to a range of decision-making communities, in a variety of decision-making contexts, across a diverse city-region.

Objectives

  • Review current modes of communication in terms of how successful / unsuccessful they have been in engaging decision-makers around the topic of green infrastructure.
  • Look at what can research do to support the uptake of a green infrastructure approach into urban planning, and/or project development and implementation 
  • Use a relevant green infrastructure case study to explore how co-production can assist with bridging inter/intragovernmental challenges in these types of cases.
  • Co-produce guidance and action plan in response to points above in collaboration with stakeholder groups
Climate actions by city governments
Project title: Scaling up urban experiments
Client:C40 Cities Group
Brief:

Background

With more than half of the world's population living in cities, and 70 million new urban dwellers every year (the equivalent of 7 new "London"s per year), urban innovation is now critical to the future of sustainable development and the agendas shaping the future of our planet. The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, now in its 10th year, connects more than 80 of the world's greatest cities, representing over 600 million people and one quarter of the global economy. 

Created and led by cities, C40 is focused on tackling climate change and driving urban action that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks, while increasing the health, wellbeing and economic opportunities of urban citizens. C40 has been partnering with ARUP and UCL STEaPP's City Leadership Laboratory since 2015, producing a series of three landmark reports that paved the way to the participation of cities in the new Paris climate agenda and Paris Agreement.

Research by C40, ARUP and the Lab has demonstrated that cities that collaborate are far more effective than individualist, top-down, cities -not only in the number of actions they take but also in the capacity to scale up pilot projects to transformative city-wide actions. 

Objectives

  • The project will explore the drivers, mechanisms, and challenges of scaling up experiments and how C40 can best leverage these dynamics.
  • The team will collaborate with C40's London secretariat and the Lab team at STEaPP, producing a C40 report (as with the previous three), with analysis and a series of informative case studies, written and video blogs, a briefing for C40 staff and transferrable lessons for C40 cities.
  • The project will involve direct access to a pool of selected C40 cities (e.g. C40's steering committee chaired by Paris, and including Mexico City, London, Seoul, Milan, Rio and Jakarta), as well as to C40 staff in the London secretariat, and will require both analysis of C40 data as well as interviews with practitioners (including experts from the broader pool of Lab partners like the OECD, World Bank and Uk Government) and possible workshopping activities with C40 experts and cities. 
Using energy to enhance wellbeing
Project title:Productive use of energy for enhancing wellbeing
Client:International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)
Brief:

Background

STEaPP is collaborating on a research project with the IIED is to identify what interventions are needed to help poor people in rural areas access decentralized energy services that strengthen their capacity to earn a living. 

Decentralized energy encompasses mini-grids and standalone energy devices, such as solar water pumps or efficient ovens. Many people agree that energy services need to go beyond the household, providing power for irrigation, energy for food processing and building local businesses, particularly in rural areas. This project focuses on energy services targeted at people working in small-scale agriculture, fishing, forestry and local services (retail, hospitality, trades). 

IIED is aware of interest in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Nepal, India and Bangladesh in this area of work.

Objectives

The group project will focus on a number of challenges such as: 

  • identifying the specific evidence and practice gaps of different stakeholder groups; 
  • designing the key research questions and prototyping methods
  • working out who will participate and partner with IIED, and the incentives/barriers to this
  • clarifying the results and pathways to take-up.