Policy Incubator

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Angelo Martelli, CBG.6.04


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

This course is only available to European Institute Students.

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 Autumn and Winter Terms. Some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of 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 Autumn and Winter Terms.

Formative coursework

During the WT, 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 WT.
Policy paper (70%) in the post-spring 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%).

Key facts

Department: European Institute

Total students 2022/23: 20

Average class size 2022/23: 20

Controlled access 2022/23: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

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.

Personal development skills

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