Head of Emerging Policy, Innovation and Capability (EPIC), Department for International Development
Policy Fellow Alum, Centre for Science and Policy
As Head of Emerging Policy, Innovation and Capability (EPIC), Ellen Wratten oversees the UK Department for International Development's Innovation Hub, collaborating with social innovators from the private, public and non-profit sectors to create better solutions to global poverty and bring these to life in the real world, benefitting millions of people.
EPIC works through open policy making, human centred design and digital partnerships. Current partners include IDEO.org and the OpenIDEO.com platform for open innovation; and the World Wide Web Foundation. Ellen is responsible for setting up a £100m+ Global Innovation Fund together with Omidyar Network, Marshall Foundation, USAID and others. Ellen also leads frontier policy thinking on cross-cutting global issues including urban development and migration. She coordinates the Policy Profession within DFID.
From 2010-13, Ellen was the founding Deputy Managing Director of GirlHub, a strategic public/private collaboration between DFID and the Nike Foundation. GirlHub’s mission is to unleash the girl effect at scale, empowering adolescent girls to stop poverty for themselves, their families, communities and nations. Ellen set up Girl Hub’s global programmes and country operations in Ethiopia, Nigeria and Rwanda, giving girls a platform to define and create a shared identity, and elevating their voices and priorities within national policy making.
Prior to this, Ellen served in different leadership roles in DFID – Acting Director Policy, Head of Profession for Social Development, Head of Aid Effectiveness, and Senior Social Development Adviser in the Caribbean. Ellen also worked in HM Treasury, where she headed the Child Poverty and Millennium Development Goals Branch of the International Poverty Reduction Team; and as a Senior Adviser on Poverty at the European Commission (DGDev) in Brussels.
Earlier in her career, Ellen was a Lecturer in Social Policy and Planning in Developing Countries at the London School of Economics and Assistant Professor in Planning in Developing Areas at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA. She gained professional experience as a town planner in the Caribbean and Middle East, following postgraduate studies in land economy, housing and planning at the University of Cambridge (Wolfson College), University of Nairobi and University of Nottingham and a first degree in Economic History at the University of Durham. She is a Chartered Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute and a former Trustee of the Town and Country Planning Association.