Monthly Archives: June 2015

The practical side of things – MPP work placements

A key element of the Cambridge MPP is the work placement that students undertake within governments, NGOs, or multilaterals, in fact in any organisation with a policy responsibility or influence. This year our placements have been incredibly strong and we are so very grateful to all of the organisations involved who are willing to take our students on and make them part of their teams for the 14 weeks of the placement.

The placements are stuctured in 2 parts – 4 weeks onsite with the organisation and 10 weeks back in Cambridge to complete the research and writing of a 5,000 policy paper. This serves as the students final paper for the MPP and as a product for the organisation to use.

This post has been prompted by the the MPP Work Placement conference, where each student has the opportunity to present their work in progress and to get feedback on their policy recommendations. This is an all day affair followed by a dinner and we were very happy to be at Jesus College for this year’s event. The audience is made up of MPP students, faculty, and supervisors from the host institutions. Obviously not every supervisor can make the conference, as one said the Minister does get priority, but it really increases the quality of the presentations and the feedback to have as many external voices in the room as possible.

I am again struck by the breadth and depth of the work that the students have been involved in through the work placement programme. Below is a subset of the projects, to give you a sense of the organisations the students have been working with and the the focus for their papers.

  • What should government policy be towards clusters, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)
  • Social impact bond feasibility studies, Cabinet Office
  • Addressing the Global Burden of Dementia: Lessons from National Dementia Strategies, World Health Organisation
  • Rethinking Skills & Productivity, HM Treasury
  • Behavioural insights and social enterprise, Acumen
  • The changing landscape of humanitarian assistance, UN World Food Programme
  • The Future of Hydropower on the Mekong River, International Energy Authority

The intention is that the work the students complete is immediately useful to the host organisations and in the main we are finding that this is the case. And we believe that this is an incredibly important part of the MPP and its impact on our students – to provide them with a real policy analysis experience that helps integrate their learning and make strong decisions about where they want to go next in their careers.

Finbarr Livesey
Deputy Director MPP
Lecturer in Public Policy