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LSE IDEAS is LSE's foreign policy think tank, currently ranked Europe's top university-affiliated think tank.

LSE IDEAS brings together young and old, theorists and practitioners, business and government, and people from every continent and background. IDEAS is where ideas grow.

Sir Robert Cooper, former UK & EU diplomat

Through sustained engagement with policymakers and opinion-formers, IDEAS provides a forum that informs policy debate and connects academic research with the practice of diplomacy and strategy.

IDEAS hosts interdisciplinary research projects, produces working papers and reports, holds public and off-the-record events, and delivers cutting-edge executive training programmes for government, business and third-sector organisations.

Our values

These are the principles that make us who we are and that everyone at LSE IDEAS aims to uphold in all our work. 

  • We exist to connect academic knowledge with the people who use it.
  • We foster a diversity of views and perspectives.
  • We judge the success of our work by its impact.
  • We create public engagement with empirically informed policy research.
  • We work with people from every academic and professional discipline.
  • We always try to work in new ways to create and share knowledge.
  • We work internationally, through partnerships with universities and organisations.
  • Our style is clear, concise, and compelling.
  • We value integrity and pride ourselves on teamwork.
  • Our credibility is built on our track record of achievement. 


The LSE IDEAS Centre is the foreign policy think tank of the London School of Economics and Political Science. To mark the ten-year anniversary in 2018, 'A Short History of IDEAS' aims to take stock and assess the work and activities of IDEAS since its founding in 2008.

Read 'A Short History of IDEAS'


The work of IDEAS is overseen by both an Academic Management Committee and an Advisory Board.

Academic Management Committee

The Academic Management Committee is comprised of academic staff from LSE who monitor our operations and research.

Academic Management Committee Members

Chair: Professor Michael Cox is Director of LSE IDEAS.

Professor Christopher Coker is Director of LSE IDEAS.

Professor Matthew Jones is Head of the Department of International History at LSE.

Dr Emilia Knight is Centre Manager of LSE IDEAS.

Dr George Lawson is an Associate Professor at the Department of International Relations at LSE.

Professor Piers Ludlow is a Reader at the Department of International History at LSE.

Professor Karen E. Smith is Head of the Department of International Relations at LSE.

Advisory Board 

The Advisory Board provides an external perspective. Members are senior practitioners from the diplomatic world who provide independent oversight and guidance on IDEAS’ strategy. 

Advisory Board Members

Chair: Sir Richard Mottram is an expert on national security issues, including defence policy, strategy and planning. From 1992-2007 he was one of Britain’s top civil servants: he headed several departments, including the Ministry of Defence, and was responsible for security and intelligence matters in the Cabinet Office, and Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee. He is also a Visiting Professor in LSE’s Department of Government.

Gordon Barrass is Visiting Professor at LSE IDEAS, where he specialises on strategy, assessments and perceptions. After more than 20 years in the British Diplomatic Service he served as Chief of the Assessments Staff in the Cabinet Office. He then spent nearly a decade helping PwC expand its business in China’s rapidly growing financial services sector.

Sir Colin Budd served in HM Diplomatic Service from 1967-2005. He was Assistant Private Secretary to the Minister Without Portfolio from 1968-69, and to the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary from 1984-87; Chef de Cabinet to the Vice President of the European Commission from 1993-95; Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee and Head of the Overseas and Defence Committee of the Cabinet Office from 1996-97; Deputy Under Secretary of State (Europe and Economic) of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office from 1997-2001; and HM Ambassador to the Netherlands from 2001-5.

Dr John Hughes is a graduate of LSE. He was a British career diplomat for 35 years serving mainly in the Americas, together with secondments to the Cabinet Office, BAE Systems, and Shell. His final postings were as Ambassador to Venezuela and then to Argentina. In retirement he has been Chair of the Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission, Chair of Canning House, a Robin Humphreys Research Fellow at the School of Advanced Study, London University, and a Visiting Senior Fellow at LSE. He now directs the policy makers on LSE IDEAS Executive Masters in International Strategy and Diplomacy.

Mr Michael Maclay is Executive Chairman, Montrose Associates. Mr Maclay is a former diplomat, journalist and television producer, later Foreign Office political adviser and special adviser/chief spokesman at Office of High Representative, Bosnia. Mr Maclay is Advisory Board Chairman on the British American Project and Steering Group Chairman, Franco-German-UK Club of Three. He is a former Chairman, Citizenship Foundation (2001-2014).

Guy Monson is Chief Investment Officer and a managing partner of Sarasin & Partners. He has played a major role in developing Bank Sarasin’s London based subsidiary, Sarasin Investment Management Ltd (SIML) since 1988. Monson founded and is a senior fund manager on the EquiSar Global Thematic funds and is also a senior fund manager on the GlobalSar family of balanced funds. He also manages a range of institutional global thematic equity and global balanced mandates in various regulatory jurisdictions.

Jonathan Powell was Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Tony Blair from 1997 to 2007. As a British diplomat Jonathan Powell was closely involved in negotiations with the Chinese over Hong Kong and German unification. As Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Blair he played a key role in reaching an agreement with the IRA on a political settlement in Northern Ireland. He now runs the charity Inter Mediate which works on armed conflicts around the world. He is the author of Great Hatred, Little Room: Making Peace in Northern Ireland and Talking to Terrorists: Why Negotiating is the only way to Peace.

Danny Quah was a Professor in the Department of Economics at LSE for several years. In his later years at the School, he was also Director of the LSE Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre, before being appointed as the Li Ka Shing Professor of Economics at the National University of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. He was appointed Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School in 2018.

Gideon Rachman is the chief foreign affairs commentator for the Financial Times, where he authors a weekly column on foreign affairs and feature articles. Before joining the Financial Times in 2006, he was a senior editor and correspondent for The Economist and BBC World Service presenter. He has worked as a foreign correspondent in Washington, Brussels, and Bangkok, and is the author of Zero-Sum World, and Easternization which was launched at LSE in 2017. 

Hugh Sandeman was an international banker for 30 years based in New York, Tokyo, London, and Frankfurt, and for the past decade has focused on India. He was previously Tokyo correspondent, international business editor and New York correspondent of The Economist.

Susan Scholefield held a distinguished career in the Civil Service. Roles in the Balkans Secretariat, Northern Ireland Office and in the Cabinet Office as head of the Civil Contingencies Secretariat were followed by a series of top level positions in the MOD culminating in her most recent role as Director General, Human Resources and Corporate Services. In 1999 she was awarded a CMG in the New Year’s Honours for her work on Bosnia.

Cato Stonex graduated from LSE, of which he is now a governor. In 1986, he joined the European government bond trading department at Morgan Grenfell and in 1989 J. Rothschild Investment Management. With Nils Taube and John Hodson he formed THS Partners in 1997. He is now a partner and Fund manager at Partners Investment Company LLP.

Dr Leslie Vinjamuri is Head of the US and the Americas Programme, and Dean of the Academy for Leadership in International Affairs, Chatham House. She was Director of the Centre on Conflict, Rights and Justice and a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in International Relations at SOAS, University of London. Leslie was also Chair of the International Relations Speaker Series at SOAS. Her research areas include transatlantic relations, US foreign policy, the politics of international intervention, human rights and justice, and UN Security Council Diplomacy.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire is Emeritus Professor in the Department of International Relations at The London School of Economics and has a long and distinguished record in British politics. He was made a peer in 1995 and later became the Liberal Democrat spokesman on Foreign Affairs and Defence. An expert on Europe and European affairs, and former Director of Studies of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Lord Wallace was the Chair of the Advisory Board of the LSE IDEAS between 2008 and 2010 before being appointed a Government Whip acting as government spokesperson in the House of Lords on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Education.

Professor Linda Yueh is Visiting Professor at LSE IDEAS and Chair of the LSE Economic Diplomacy Commission. She also serves on the Policy Committee of the Centre for Economic Performance at LSE. She is Fellow in Economics, St Edmund Hall, University of Oxford and Adjunct Professor of Economics, London Business School. She was Visiting Professor of Economics at Peking University. Professor Yueh is the Editor of the Routledge Series on Economic Growth and Development and the author of numerous books, including China’s Growth: The Making of an Economic Superpower and The Great Economists: How Their Ideas Can Help Us Today.

Contact us

9th floor, Pankhurst House (PAN) (formerly Tower 1)
Clement's Inn
London, WC2A 2AZ

Tel: (+44) 020 7849 4918
Email :



LSE IDEAS is located in Pankhurst House (formerly Tower 1) on the LSE campus.

By Underground: The nearest tube stations to IDEAS are Temple (Circle and District lines) or Holborn (Central and Piccadilly lines).

From Temple: Walk north up Arundel Street and cross the road in front of St Clement Danes church. Enter through the gate at the bottom of Clement’s Inn, to the left of the Royal Courts of Justice, and proceed to Pankhurst House reception.

From Holborn: Walk south on Kingsway to Aldwych and turn right. Enter through the gate at the bottom of Clement’s Inn on your left, to the left of the Royal Courts of Justice, and proceed to Pankhurst House reception.

By Bus: The nearest bus stop to IDEAS is The Royal Courts of Justice serving routes 1, 58, 68, 91, 168, 171, 188, 243, 341, 521, & X68. Walk up Clement’s Inn to find Pankhurst House.



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LSE IDEAS, Floor 9, Pankhurst House, 1 Clement's Inn, London, WC2A 2AZ