Dr Finbarr Livesey

Deputy Director of the MPhil in Public Policy at Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS), University of Cambridge

Deputy Director, MPhil Public Policy

Obituary for Dr Finbarr Livesey 1972-2019

Until his untimely death in September 2019, Dr Livesey was a Lecturer in Public Policy and Deputy Director of the MPhil in Public Policy. Prior to this he was Acting Director of the MPhil in Technology Policy at the Judge Business School, University of Cambridge.

Dr Livesey’s research and teaching focused on the changing economics of technology-based industries and the role that government can and should play in supporting their growth. These issues are critically important for countries such as the UK, as future growth depends on being able to understand how new industrial systems and industries emerge and how the national economy can capture sufficient value as they grow and internationalise. This area has been understudied over the past twenty years as industrial policy and the complementary analysis of the structure of the economy went out of fashion.

Future research on these topics will take forward the critical issue of public leadership for growth. This will focus on two areas. First, the lack of frameworks for modern industrial policy, along with the dominance to this point of neoclassical economics in policy making, means having robust foundations for a new understanding of industrial economics is vital. Second, the processes by which policy is developed, especially on economic and industrial issues, requires further study as calls for evidence-based policy making and open models of policy development are radically changing the policy development process.

Dr Livesey originally trained in physics (University College Cork, Ireland) and Computer Science (University of Cambridge) and spent five years as a technology developer and consultant with Olivetti Research Labs and Cambridge Consultants Ltd. After leaving industry, he completed a Masters in Public Policy at the Kennedy School (Harvard University) and then took a PhD in industrial economics and policy (University of Cambridge). He also ran the Centre for Industry and Government at the Institute for Manufacturing, University of Cambridge from 2004 to 2011.

To read Finbarr's views on Open Government see here: http://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2013/oct/04/open-government-better-service-delivery