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£1,000 for a world-changing idea

last modified Feb 05, 2018 10:59 AM

UPDATE: Policy Pitch is no longer running in Lent term. The competition managers are exploring if it can run at the beginning of the upcoming academic year (2018/19). For more information visit

The Cambridge Institute for Public Policy (CIPP) has launched a new competition for Cambridge students to pitch their solutions to pressing public problems. Cambridge Policy Pitch will have a prize of £1,000 for the winning team and £500 for the second prize.

Students on the lawns of Emmanuel College
Students on the lawns of Emmanuel College

A panel of expert judges including leading policy professionals, including Adrian Brown, Executive Director of the Centre for Public Impact (CPI), will look for innovative approaches to any significant issue, such as health-care, the environment, risks from technology, or inequality. It is hoped the new competition will raise awareness of public policy at Cambridge and encourage more students to consider careers in policy-related roles, in either the public or private sectors.

Each team will have five minutes to present a policy challenge and their proposed solution which will need to be politically and economically feasible as well as innovative and attractive. To help structure their pitches, teams will be provided with the Public Impact Fundamentals, CPI's framework for understanding the elements that are required to maximise the impact of policy initiatives.

Developed and run by the new Cambridge Institute for Public Policy (CIPP) at the Department of Politics & International Studies at the University of Cambridge, the competition is open to undergraduate, graduate or postgraduate students from any part of the University.

The event has been organised by Dr Finbarr Livesey, Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Dr Dennis Grube, Lecturer in Public Policy. Dr Livesey said: “This competition is about finding new solutions for the many challenges facing us, at local, national and international levels of government. We are excited to see how many student teams will engage with providing high-class, innovative solutions to public policy challenges, at a time when the structures of politics are being challenged around the world. Now more than ever we need to have clear sight of how we are trying to solve our common problems using all of the resources of the public and the private sector – we hope to hear many different voices and perspectives within the student body.”

The lead partner in developing the Cambridge Policy Pitch is the Centre for Public Impact, a BCG Foundation, which has also provided significant support for the competition.

Adrian Brown, CPI's Executive Director commented: "The CPI is delighted to support this competition and to see the Public Impact Fundamentals being used to help students come up with ideas that can make a positive impact to people's lives. The times we are living in require innovation and a razor-sharp focus on better outcomes so we need students to be bold with their ideas and believe that they can make a difference in government and society. You don't have to be a public policy expert to have a great idea so we encourage anyone who cares about public impact to not be shy and have a go."

Students can register their Cambridge Policy Pitch team from December 2017 to the end of January 2018 at  Heats will be held in late February and early March 2018 with the finals in May 2018.

A minimum of two and maximum of four members are allowed per team, and at least two departments of the University must be represented in each team. All undergraduate, post-graduate students and post-doctoral researchers of the University of Cambridge are eligible to enter.

We are now looking at the idea of launching this scheme at the very start
of the coming academic year (2018-19). Please look out for further updates on this.