Published on 8 October 2018
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The Bennett Prospect Public Policy Prize

Entries are open for the Bennett Prospect Public Policy Prize until 31 December 2018. The £10,000 prize is open to early career policy analysts or professionals.

In April 2018 we launched the Bennett Institute for Public Policy at the University of Cambridge, with the aim of establishing a world-class policy centre that is committed both to deepening understanding of some of the most pressing challenges of our turbulent times, and to identifying and exploring sustainable solutions to them.

Our work focuses on the importance of place in relation to public policy, what is required to make more prosperous and productive societies, and the role of scientific knowledge and insight in the public policy of tomorrow.

The Institute is dedicated to educating and nurturing the next generation of policy leaders, allowing them to develop the intellectual independence and analytical skills that will be needed to develop innovative answers to the most demanding questions of our times, and to do the kinds of deeper, longer-term thinking which these issues require.

With these goals in mind, we are delighted to announce a brand-new prize for an early career policy analyst or professional: the Bennett Prospect Public Policy Prize.

An award of £10,000 will go to what a panel of distinguished judges determines to be the most imaginative and impactful piece of policy analysis supplied by an early-career public policy researcher or policy professional.

The winner’s work will be presented at the annual Bennett Conference held at Cambridge University in April 2019, and their entry will be published in Prospect online.

How to enter

The question we are posing this year is: 

“What kinds of policies will enable left behind places to catch-up?”

We invite essays of no more than 2,500 words on this topic, or films of no more than 10 minutes, and encourage applicants to justify and discuss the kinds of policies—old and new—which might in practice get to grips with the major disadvantages experienced by rural areas, towns and the margins of our cities, and with the underlying causes of the geographically rooted inequalities that are apparent across the western world.

Events like Brexit, the election of Donald Trump, and the electoral success of populist parties right across Europe have brought these issues of geographic inequality to the forefront of our politics, but as yet there are few signs of the kind of intellectual ferment and sustained focus which they merit.

A prize for fresh thinking

We want therefore to invite fresh thinking about the kinds of tools, institutions, policies and ideas which a genuinely place-focused response to the left-behind requires. There are many different ways of addressing these fundamental issues, and different kinds of evidence and data relevant to them.

You might want to develop an analysis of an approach or a policy tried in one area that might be repeated or scaled up elsewhere, or to discuss entirely new kinds of policy solution, or argue for the recovery of older insights into tackling geographically based inequalities.

You may want to approach this issue focusing on the major systemic processes and institutions which contribute to the ‘left behind’ phenomenon, or focus on the nitty-gritty of life in particular communities, highlighting small changes that could have big consequences.

The prize is designed to prompt and reward imagination, critical thinking and analytical rigour, and our panel will assess entries against these criteria.

We are especially delighted to be working in partnership on this project with Prospect magazine, which makes a huge contribution to our public discourse and offers insightful, rigorous and multi-angled reflections on the major challenges of our times.

Diane Coyle and Michael Kenny  

Applications for the Bennett Prospect Public Policy Prize will be open until 31 December 2018, click here for more details.

Applicants must be within five years of beginning their career as a public policy professional or of completing their PhD.

This article first appeared in Prospect. 

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author(s).


Professor Michael Kenny

Inaugural Director of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy

Professor Kenny is the Inaugural  Director of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy. Biography Before he arrived in Cambridge, Michael held positions at: Queen’s University, Belfast; the University of Sheffield,...

Diane Coyle 2018

Professor Diane Coyle

Bennett Professor of Public Policy and Co-Director of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy

Professor Coyle co-directs the Institute with Professor Kenny. She is heading research under the progress and productivity themes. Biography Professor Dame Diane Coyle is the Bennett Professor of Public Policy...

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