CSaP annual meeting & reception 2021

21 October 2021, 3pm


CSaP Annual Meeting & Reception 2021

21 October 2021, Royal Academy of Engineering

On 21 October 2021, CSaP hosted its first in-person networking event since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The annual meeting and reception, held at the Royal Academy of Engineering in London, provided an opportunity for 115 public policy professionals, industry leaders, and researchers to meet and share their experiences to improve decision-making.

“It was really uplifting to see colleagues who have been faces on screens for such a long time…the speakers were excellent, and the following conversations were interesting and thought-provoking.”

The event took the form of three panel sessions, the first being Levelling Up; focussing on how to provide equal opportunities and improve standards of living across all parts of the country. The second session was on Child development, learning and mental health; looking at how new knowledge of brain development and the COVID-19 pandemic is influencing the behaviour and wellbeing of children and young people. The final panel session was Net Zero; speakers discussed ambitions, decarbonisation and climate change ahead of COP26, the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.

“The Levelling Up session had a great range of people on the panel and was directly relevant to my work, so I found it particularly useful.”

The first panel session on Levelling Up was chaired by Nick King, Head of Business Policy, Centre for Policy Studies. The panellists were: Tom Walker, Director of the Levelling Up Taskforce at the Cabinet Office; Michael Kenny, Professor of Public Policy, University of Cambridge; and Vidhya Alakeson, Chief Executive at Power to Change. Walker began his speech by explaining that levelling up is now “a really serious recognition” which needs to be part of the long-term and union-wide agenda. He said it must address “deep-rooted and structure problems in the economy”, rather than just focussing on infrastructure. You can read more about the session here.

Click on the image below to listen to the first discussion:

“I really enjoyed the content and tag-team speaker interaction on teenage mental health, a fascinating mix of participants, and some very stimulating conversations.”

The second panel session on Child development, learning and mental health was chaired by Paul Kett, Former CSaP Fellow and Director-General of Higher Education and Further Education at the Department for Education. The panellists were: Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, Professor of Psychology, Cambridge; and Tamsin Ford, Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Cambridge. Profesor Ford explained there is evidence to suggest a deterioration in children’s mental health following the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions: the number of young people with a mental health condition rose from one in nine to one in six in 2020. You can read more about the session here.

Click on the image below to listen to the second discussion:

The third panel session on Net Zero was chaired by Rob Doubleday, Executive Director at CSaP with panellists Dr Matthew Agarwala, Economist at the Bennett Institute of Public Policy, Cambridge and Dr Cristina Peñasco, Lecturer in Public Policy, Cambridge. Dr Peñasco began the session by providing an insight into decarbonisation from a policy perspective. She explained the benefits for considering a bottom-up approach over top-down to help tackle climate change, and said, "inaction is going to be more expensive than acting now". Dr Agarwala warned that substantial investment is needed for decarbonisation, otherwise a county's credit-rating will be affected and the cost of borrowing will increase.You can read more about the session here.

Click on the image below to listen to the final discussion:

Dr Matthew Agarwala

Bennett Institute for Public Policy, University of Cambridge

Vidhya Alakeson

The Labour Party

Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore

Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge

Professor Tamsin Ford

Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge

Professor Michael Kenny

Bennett Institute for Public Policy, University of Cambridge

Nick King

Henham Strategy

Dr Cristina Penasco

Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS), University of Cambridge

Tom Walker

Cabinet Office Levelling Up Unit

  • In news articles

    What form should the government’s levelling up agenda take?

    Levelling up was an amorphous policy pledge in the Conservative Party’s 2019 manifesto. Since then, numerous academics and policy organisations have focused on what ‘levelling up’ means, and how it should be achieved. The upcoming Levelling Up White Paper is expected to specify a precise policy programme for this agenda.

  • In news articles

    Net zero

    The final panel session of the Centre for Science and Policy’s (CSaP) annual reception 2021 discussed net zero ambitions. It was chaired by Dr Rob Doubleday, the Centre’s Executive Director with panellists; Dr Christina Peñasco, Lecturer in Public Policy, Cambridge and Dr Matthew Agarwala, Economist at the Bennett Institute for Public Policy, Cambridge.