skip to primary navigationskip to content


Public Policy in an Age of Disruption

The unpredictable forces of political turmoil, economic dislocation and technological transformation present a unique series of challenges for policy-makers and citizens. Understanding the nature and development of these powerful trends, and working with practitioners to devise answers to them, are the primary goals of the Cambridge Institute for Public Policy.

The aim is to develop a significant body of research devoted to public policy questions, and to link it to a major programme of teaching and training in public policy. These activities will underpin the development of transformative thinking about the fundamental questions which policy-makers should be asking, as well as research focused upon the kinds of knowledge, expertise and insight required to address them. The Institute will work closely with policy-makers from across the UK, and in the wider world, offering solutions as well as evidence, and helping practitioners rethink the problems they face, drawing upon research which is innovative, academically rigorous and rooted in the world-class research associated with the natural and social sciences at Cambridge.

To achieve these goals, the Institute will oversee a variety of activities, including:

  • A new dedicated series of talks, workshops, and professionally run policy seminars and public events.
  • A new blog showcasing cutting-edge research on key policy issues, hosted and edited at the Institute.
  • Expanding the portfolio of education and training associated with public policy at Cambridge, building on the successful and growing M.Phil in Public Policy.
  • Conducting high-level academic and policy research in several areas of particular interest, including Place and public policy, Re-making government in the 21st century, and Science and the Crisis of Democracy. 


Professor Michael Kenny

Inaugural Director of the CIPP

Professor Michael Kenny

Professor Kenny joined the Department of Politics and International Studies in June 2017. He is the course director for the MPhil in Public Policy. 

Read more




Credit Nico HoggThe role of place and public policy 

Given that places matter a lot to the people who live in them, should they become more important to policy-makers? 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 achieve in health and education? And, how should policy-makers seek to shape different kinds of place?


Re-making government

We live in an age characterised by a growing appetite for self-government, and diminished faith in the capacity of established forms of government to deliver key societal goals, such as security and economic growth. How might governance be rethought and redesigned in response to these pressures? What kinds of training, knowledge and understanding does policy-making now require? Which kinds of state are best equipped to face the challenges associated with the early twenty-first century? What kinds of trans-national governance and international co-operation can be crafted in the age of populism and nationalism? 



Science and Democracy

In partnership with the Centre for Science and Policy and Churchill College, CIPP will bring together some of the leading figures in the Cambridge scientific and technology communities, with policy-makers from across the UK, to explore the role of expertise in policy-making today, and to ask whether traditional models of scientific advice are still applicable. Which are the coming challenges that natural and social scientists should together be addressing? How might today’s emergent technologies, such as data sciences, predictive analytics and AI, be harnessed by policy-makers? 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?