Policy Incubator

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Angelo Martelli, CBG.6.04


This course is compulsory on the MSc in The Global Political Economy of China and Europe (LSE and Fudan). This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

Students will undertake a group project (in teams usually of 3 to 5 people) relating to a policy problem faced by an external organisation. Such organisations might be public sector bodies, companies operating in the public management or public policy sector, international organisations, think tanks and NGOs.


This course is delivered through a combination of workshops and help sessions totalling a minimum of 5 hours across both the Michaelmas and Lent Terms.  Some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of online lectures and in-person and/or group virtual help sessions with an assigned Policy Incubator Supervisor, and student group presentations.  This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of the Michaelmas and Lent Terms.

Formative coursework

During the LT, students will present their project and policy proposals in a group presentation to a jury of policy incubator supervisors and institutions' representatives. Relevant alumni, members of faculty and/or visiting fellows will also be invited to attend for the purposes of providing feedback.  Each group presentation will last 20 minutes with 20 minutes for questions and comments from the jury.

Indicative reading

Useful preliminary reading:

  • Charles E. Lindblom and David K. Cohen, Social Science and Social Problem Solving (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979);
  • Martha S. Feldman, Order Without Design: Information Production and Policy-making (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1989);
  • Ray Pawson, Evidence-based Policy: A Realist Perspective (London: Sage, 2006);
  • Common Causes of Project Failure (London: OGC, 2004);
  • Howard White, Theory-based Impact Evaluation: Principles and Practice (3ie, 2011);
  • Curtis Cook, Just Enough Project Management (McGraw-Hill, 2004);
  • J. E. McGrath and F. Tschan, 'Dynamics in Groups and Teams: Groups as Complex Action Systems',
  • chapter three in M. S. Poole and A. H. Van de Ven (eds) Handbook of Organizational Change and Innovation (Oxford University Press, 2004).


Policy brief (30%) in the LT.
Policy paper (70%) post-summer term.

Students are asked to present a group report in the form of a policy advocacy brief (3000 words, 30%). They will then, individually, submit a full policy report in which they discuss alternative policy options and evaluate their suggested policy solutions (7000 words, 70%).

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: European Institute

Total students 2020/21: 25

Average class size 2020/21: 25

Controlled access 2020/21: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication