The Bennett Prospect Public Policy Prize

2018 question: “What kinds of policies will enable left behind places to catch-up?”

Open until 31 December 2018

The Bennett Prospect Public Policy Prize is awarded by the Bennett Institute for Public Policy at the University of Cambridge. The goal is to encourage early career researchers and policy professionals to explore creative and generative solutions to a pressing public policy question of our age.

The winning entrant will receive:

  • £10,000
  • Their research presented at the annual Bennett conference at the University of Cambridge
  • An introduction to a leading policy practitioner to discuss how the winning idea might be brought into practice
  • Publication in the Bennett Institute Public Policy series
  • Publication online in Prospect

Runners up will receive:

  • Publication in the Bennett Institute Public Policy series
  • Listing at the Bennett Conference
  • A year’s subscription to Prospect

2018 Question:

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. 


To be eligible an applicant should be within five years either of having submitted their PhD or of starting work as a public policy professional. Applicants should not be in possession of a tenured academic position.

How to apply:

Applicants should submit an initial presentation with the following criteria:

  • The presentation should directly address the question, which has been asked for that year’s Bennett Prize competition
  • Applicants must communicate their proposal in a clear and arresting manner
  • Essay submissions should be no longer than 2,500 words
  • Video presentation submissions should last no longer than ten minutes (accompanied by no more than two pages of explanatory notes)

Please submit your entry with a coversheet containing:
The title of the entry, type of submission, your name, contact details and email, current profession or area of study, and brief biography.  Please download the application form here.

Please include the title of the work on each page of the submission, but do not include your name as entries will be judged anonymously.

Closing date:

Applicants must submit their entries by the 31st of December 2018.
Email applications to .

The process:

All shortlisted applicants will be contacted and asked to present an in-depth version of their initial submission to the judging panel – they will need to give a 20 minute presentation on their chosen policy idea.


Co-authoring – in addition to applications from individuals we will also accept co-authored papers. All authors must meet the application criteria for early career policy researchers or professionals. Please be aware if you co-author the prize funds will be split between the authors.

Deadline – The deadline for entering your essay or film is 31 December.

Overseas applications – We welcome applications from any early career public policy researcher or professional wherever they are based and of any nationality. But please be aware there are no funds for travel should you be shortlisted.