UCL: Researchers named as most influential academics in government

The list recognises researchers whose work has influenced the policymaking process by providing insights into issues, contributing innovative ideas and solutions or adding relevant and informative data.

This year’s list, nominated by public servants, focuses on five policy areas: recovery from Covid-19; employment and skills; social policy; climate and sustainability; and policymaking processes and approaches.

Dr Priti Parikh (UCL Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction) was recognised for her research on the benefits of providing water, sanitation and energy infrastructure in low-middle income countries. Her research has influenced policy and practice, particularly around evidencing links between infrastructure and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Professor Christina Pagel (UCL Mathematics) is a member of the Independent SAGE Committee, providing independent scientific advice to the UK government and public on how to minimise deaths and support Britain’s recovery from the pandemic. Professor Pagel is also Director of the Clinical Operational Research Unit and co-Director of the UCL Collaborative Healthcare Innovation through Mathematics, EngineeRing and AI (CHIMERA) hub.

Dr Ben Clifford (UCL Bartlett School of Planning). His research has led to improvements in permitted development rights in England. His recent work has focused on local authority housebuilding, deregulation and planning – particularly in permitted development in England – outsourcing and the public interest in planning and infrastructure planning.

Professor Mariana Mazzucato (UCL Institute for Innovation & Public Purpose – IIPP). Her research focuses on developing mission-oriented goals to reshape the economy and capitalism for a fairer and more equal society. She advises policymakers around the world on innovation-led inclusive and sustainable growth. Professor Mazzucato is Founding Director of the IIPP and has published three books on economics and mission-oriented thinking.

Dr Dan Honig (UCL Political Science). His current research focuses on ‘mission-driven bureaucrats’, exploring the relationship between motivation, management practice and performance in countries including Bangladesh, Ghana, Liberia, Thailand and the US. Dr Honig has also worked for several local and international NGOs, run a local non-profit focusing on helping young people in post-conflict East Timor through agricultural entrepreneurship and worked as an advisor to successive Ministers of Finance in Liberia.

Dr Hilary Cottam (UCL IIPP) is an Honorary Professor whose current work focuses on the need for a ‘fifth social revolution’ to enable widespread development in this century as work, society and our economies go through deep structural change. Professor Cottam is an internationally acclaimed social entrepreneur working with communities and governments around the world to help design collaborative and affordable solutions to big social challenges.

Professor David Price, UCL Vice-Provost (Research, Innovation & Global Engagement) said: “Leading academics are uniquely placed to inform policy through their research, which has the potential to improve the work of government. I’m delighted to see so many UCL academics represented on this list, particularly reflecting the broad mix of policy areas from pandemic recovery to climate change.

“Their achievements exemplify UCL’s commitment to seeing the new knowledge that we generate used to change the world for the better.”