Photo by Chema Photo on Unsplash


We are committed to rethinking public policy in the age of disruption, focusing upon the various kinds of inequality which sustainable and imaginative policy-making needs to address.

The Bennett Institute for Public Policy is interdisciplinary - connecting political thinking, economics, humanities, health, technology, engineering and science. Our initial research themes fall into three categories designed around some of the major policy challenges of the 21st century:

• Place and public policy
• Prosperity and productivity
• Science and policy

Place and public policy

This programme is headed by Professor Michael Kenny.

A focus upon place has become integral to public policy. Are cities the only sites of economic growth for the foreseeable future? Are profound spatial inequalities unavoidable given the agglomeration effects associated with technological innovation? What difference would a more place-based focus make to the promotion of productivity and innovation? Is devolution the answer to some of our most pressing challenges? And, what sort of constitutional arrangements are most appropriate to allow policy-makers to respond to place-based concerns?

This programme includes a new project, led by Dr Davide Luca, on ‘The ‘Left-behind’ across Europe’, which offers a data-driven analysis of some of the major political consequences and underlying causes of the deep spatial inequalities that are opening up in different European countries. It also includes the ESRC funded Between Two Unions, examining the implications of Brexit for the territorial governance of the UK, and the Digital State project led by Dr Tanya Filer.

Prosperity and productivity

This programme is headed by Professor Diane Coyle.

Public policy is intended to lead to better outcomes, but what does ‘better’ mean? One important dimension is economic growth and productivity, but prosperity is a broader concept. How can policies deliver in addition these other dimensions of progress and well-being, from public health to fair access to goods and services? What measures are needed to reflect today’s economy and society, from tracking the digital economy and impact of other new technologies, to understanding the distribution of opportunities? 

The programme includes the project Practical Wisdom in a Complex World led by Dr Penny Mealy.

Man overlooking the water

Science and policy

This programme is organised in partnership with the Centre for Science and Policy and Churchill College.

Which are the coming challenges that natural and social scientists should together be addressing? And, has the public really had enough of experts, or does it want them to approach and present their knowledge and understanding on different terms?

This programme explores the role of expertise in policy-making today, and innovative ways of promoting an understanding of policy questions among scientists.