Dr Rehema Msulwa

Research Associate at Bennett Institute for Public Policy, University of Cambridge


Rehema Msulwa is a Research Associate with the Bennett Institute. Her interests lie at the nexus of where policy meets the design and delivery of capital-intensive infrastructure projects. Rehema’s research is concerned with two primary questions: 1. How are decisions to proceed with infrastructure projects made? And 2. Given that such projects require input from a range of stakeholders, including local government authorities, businesses and impacted communities, how is the process of developing infrastructure projects governed? These questions are essential because infrastructure investment (or its lack) affects where businesses locate, and people live for the long term so it can embed economic success (or failure) in specific places.

Before joining the Bennett Institute, Rehema was a Research Associate at the University of Bath. There she became a part of Project X, an ESRC funded research collaboration between the UK government, academia and industry representatives; and the Hinkley Point C (HPC) Supply Chain Innovation Lab, a partnership between the University of Bath and the HPC nuclear power station project. In Bath, Rehema examined a range of topics including the governance of megaproject initiation, the nature and limitations of competitive tendering in public procurement, and the capabilities that firms require to create (economic and social) value in public-private relationships. Before this, Rehema was a Research Associate with Infrastructure@Manchester, a forum developed by Alliance Manchester Business School in partnership with Barclays Bank. In this role, she researched innovative appraisal, financing and funding methods that the Northern Powerhouse can adopt to meet its infrastructure needs and priorities.

Rehema’s research on infrastructure policy, design and delivery draws on extensive primary engagement with various organisations. Most recently, this includes Highways England, EDF Energy, Tideway and Heathrow in the UK. It has also included HS2 Ltd, Transport for the North and a range of central, regional and local government bodies. Beyond the UK, Rehema has engaged with transport authorities and practitioners in India and Nigeria, and with the African Development Bank in Côte d’Ivoire. Plus, as a junior researcher at the Human Sciences Research Council – South Africa’s statutory research institution – Rehema examined the spatial dynamics and growth implications of agglomeration in the country.

In line with her interdisciplinary training, Rehema’s research draws on insights from various streams of Management, Economics and Public Policy. She has a PhD in Business and Management and an MSc in the Management and Implementation of Development Projects from the University of Manchester. She also has an MCom in Applied Economics, a BCom (Honours) in Economics, and a BCom in Economics and Finance from the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

  • In news articles

    Levelling up: Capital Infrastructure

    The case for capital infrastructure investment is that it will provide jobs in the short term and improve livelihoods and business operations in the long term, although the long term benefits are not guaranteed. Should capital infrastructure investment be a space blind approach which allows people to move to more prosperous areas or a place based approach which seeks to correct existing spatial inequalities and improve prosperity of regions?