Published on 14 February 2023
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Annual Conference programme announced

Conference line-up includes renowned speakers from across academia, research organisations, the media, and government.

Is the time ripe for a rethink about how the public and private sectors manage the economy? How is and could data be used to help policy? What role does culture play in periods of economic crisis and social recession? How can political leaders address long-term problems when short-term quick-win thinking is needed to stay in power?

These are some of the major questions to be debated at this year’s Bennett Institute for Public Policy Annual Conference on Friday 14 April 2023. The day will include panel discussions on the Institute’s four key research themes – place, progress, productivity, and decision-making in government – and a keynote on the vital role of research and development (R&D) for achieving many of the UK’s policy goals.

The full programme has just launched – with a stellar line-up of renowned guests from academia, research organisations, the media, and government – and booking is open to attend online or in Cambridge.

In her keynote, Anna Vignoles, Director of the Leverhulme Trust, will state that a thriving Research and Development (R&D) sector is vital to some of the UK’s main policy goals, including improving productivity to tackling climate change. She will explore how R&D capability is inextricably linked to the health of our education and skills system and how recognising this is key to the UK’s success.

In the first panel session on ‘productivity’, Diane Coyle, Bennett Professor of Public Policy and Co-Director of the Bennett Institute, will discuss with guests – Richard Davies, Professor of Economics at Bristol University, Vicky Pryce, Economist and Business Consultant, and Helen Thompson, Professor of Political Economy, University of Cambridge – if the succession of shocks to the economy in recent years has started a shift in the consensus about the respective roles of private and public sectors in its management, and if it’s time to rethink how the state intervenes.

The second panel session on ‘progress’ chaired by Matthew Agarwala, Economist at the Bennett Institute, will see guests – Ian Diamond, UK’s National Statistician, Sarah O’Connor, Associate Editor at the Financial Times, and Jo Swinson, Director at Partners for a New Economy – debate whether the explosion of data availability and analytical tools has precipitated a marked improvement in policymaking – and if not, how could it be done differently?

Michael Kenny, Professor of Public Policy and Inaugural Director of the Bennett Institute, will chair the third session on ‘place’ with panellists – Tony Butler, Executive Director of Derby Museums, and Rebecca Madgin, Professor of Urban Studies at the University of Glasgow – discussing the role that culture should play in some of the policy interventions and economic renewal strategies which governments, committed to tackling geographically rooted inequalities, are starting to develop.

The final session on ‘Decision-making in government’ chaired by Dennis Grube, Professor of Politics and Public Policy at the University of Cambridge and research lead on decision-making in government at the Bennett Institute, will discuss with guests – Halima Khan, former Executive Director for Communities and Skills at the Greater London Authority, Catherine Haddon, Senior Fellow at the Institute for Government, and Philip Rycroft, former civil servant – how big a problem short-termism is in modern government. They’ll look at whether our leaders are locked into a cycle of short-term thinking that too readily kicks difficult decisions down the road to allow for the exigencies of the political moment.

“The Bennett Institute for Public Policy Annual Conference is a flagship opportunity for academics, policymakers, and leaders from the public and private sectors to come together to discuss important public policy issues facing governments and citizens alike. It fosters interdisciplinary thinking, knowledge sharing, and will consider real-world solutions to some of today’s biggest challenges,” says Michael Kenny, University of Cambridge.

For the full programme and bookings, visit the Annual Conference webpage.

Keep up to date with the Bennett Institute for Public Policy Annual Conference on social media:  Twitter: @bennettinst | LinkedIn: Bennett Institute for Public Policy

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy.

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