SPP students awarded GPPN prize

Congratulations to our School of Public Policy (SPP) student team who have been recognised with a best presentation prize at the Global Public Policy Network (GPPN) competition and as winners of the SPP Santander challenge 2022. The competition, part of GPPN’s annual conference, gave twenty-eight selected teams from seven of the world’s top public policy schools the opportunity to put their policy skills into action and compete to impress a judging panel comprised of senior faculty and peers from across the GPPN network. 


Master of Public Policy (MPP) students Jonathan Odumeru, Rachel Pilc, Nikita Singh and Sidhartha Tibrewal (pictured above with Dean Andrés Velasco), joined forces to identify, research and try to solve a pressing policy challenge focused on improving the air quality and living conditions of rural communities in Northern India while reducing harmful carbon emissions.

In preparation for the competition, the team came together regularly to research and workshop their chosen policy problem; a topic which was motivated by personal experience of one of their members who had experienced the devastating effects of stubble burning related pollution in Delhi.

On day one of the competition the team impressed the judges with their initial three minute ‘elevator pitch’ presentation and then embraced the challenge of the tight one-day timeframe to incorporate feedback into their project before presenting again in round two.The time pressure helped to motivate the team who likened the process to working on a live policy problem in a real-world scenario, with a hope to compel the panel to transform policy into action “Key to the presentation was ensuring that we were able to communicate the gravity of the stubble burning challenge to the judges in such a way that they felt compelled to act.” 

The School of Public Policy succeeded in getting three teams through to the final round, celebrating the highest representation of all of the policy schools.    

A key strength of the team was their ability to draw upon the diverse backgrounds and professional experiences of each member, an economist, a management consultant and defense lawyer, a banking lawyer, and a litigation lawyer, and combine their individual strengths into a powerful and determined team throughout their GPPN journey. “This combination of backgrounds allowed us to draw upon our expertise to put forward an evidence-based policy proposal with an emphasis on clear communication. In particular, we leveraged our advocacy experience to deliver a sharp presentation that would appeal to everyone: from a first-year policy student to the most sophisticated of policy professionals."

The team also welcomed the support from the SPP faculty, students and alumni throughout the process “Celebrating making it through to the final round with GPPN faculty and a few of our MPP colleagues. Everyone was incredibly supportive, rolling up their sleeves to help us get ready for the final.”. Their best presentation prize was celebrated with a presentation and congratulations from Schoool of Public Policy Dean Andrés Velasco.

Congratulations to all of the successful GPPN teams and to team SPP on this achievement!

The annual GPPN conference was hosted online this year by Hertie School in Berlin and welcomed 150+ participants from top policy schools around the world. Past conferences have taken place in London, Singapore, New York, Paris, Tokyo (online) and London. Find out more about the SPP team experience and their top tips for future participants.

Read the full interview here.