UCL: UCL launches new Policy Lab

A joint initiative from the UCL Departments of Political Science and Economics, the Lab aims to act as a space for new ideas, methods and ways of doing. It brings together world-leading researchers from across UCL with campaigners, politicians, philanthropists, businesspeople and more, acknowledging that none of today’s problems respect the traditional boundaries of research or policy.

Officially launched at an event last night involving hundreds of guests, the Lab comes at a time when the UK and the wider world face a growing number of challenges. With intense financial difficulties at home and abroad, war in Europe, deepening inequalities, unprecedented social upheaval and democratic tension, it is a recognition of the need for bold new ideas.

Professor Jennifer Hudson, Deputy Dean of UCL Social & Historical Sciences and Chair of the Policy Lab Steering Committee, said: “The launch of the UCL Policy Lab marks the beginning of a new collaborative space for addressing today’s global challenges.

“Drawing on world-leading research from the Departments of Political Science and Economics, the Lab brings together expertise from UCL academics, policymakers, and the wider community to transform economic, political and social policy, both here in the UK and globally.”

Professor Marc Stears (UCL Political Science), the Lab’s inaugural Director, said: “UCL is brimming with the kinds of exciting ideas that have the potential to transform our political debates.

“At the Lab we hope to put these ideas into conversation with the communities and campaigners who are on the ground, making change.

“Today’s launch is an invitation to collaborate. We’ve had some amazing conversations already tonight and I can’t wait to expand on them in the coming months.”

The event featured remarks from Chrisann Jarrett, CEO of We Belong and Lab Advisory Council Member, as well as the Lab’s inaugural Visiting Professors – playwright James Graham and Paul Johnson, Director at the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

The event also featured an exhibition of photographs from Jorn Tomter. The Lab’s ”Citizen Portraits” project highlights the voices of individuals and communities too often unheard yet vital to our understanding of the complex challenges we face. The portraits also appeared in a special launch magazine for the Lab, now available to view online.