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Policy Idol 2016

Elle Wadsworth and Lindsey Hines from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) were the big winners at last week’s King’s College London Policy Idol final.

At the event, compered by BBC News Home Editor, Mark Easton, the finalists had just three minutes to pitch their ideas to the judges and a live audience having been selected from heats run across King's earlier this year.

The evening saw ideas pitched across a broad range of policy areas from the funding of higher education to introducing gender neutral pronouns and from using social media to help prevent rape as a weapon of war to the role of women in disaster recovery.

The final judging panel included Professor Dame Sally Davies – the Chief Medical Officer for England, Dame Margaret Hodge – MP for Barking and former chair of the Public Accounts Committee, Sue Cameron – journalist and broadcaster, Professor Frans Berkout – Executive Dean of the Faculty of Social Science and Public Policy at King’s, and Professor Jonathan Grant – Director of the Policy Institute at King’s.

Elle Wadsworth and Lindsey Hines, both from the National Addictions Centre at the IoPPN, presented ‘A greener UK: the roadmap to cannabis regulation'. They outlined that prohibition has not discouraged use and that stronger strains are becoming common and leading to a potential public health crisis. The team argued for the introduction of a three-step evidence-based policy, starting with decriminalisation, moving to personal cultivation, and ending in regulation, that would be reviewed at every stage to monitor success. 

Three further prizes were also awarded on the evening by Professor Edward Byrne, Principal and President of King’s College London. Closing the event, Professor Byrne said: ‘It has been an absolute pleasure to be here this evening and to hear such a broad range of stimulating ideas. It is more important than ever before that universities like King’s are able to connect with the wider world. Policy Idol, with its focus on advocacy and communication, is a showcase of how we seek to embed these skills.’

For more information on Policy Idol, Please contact Matthew Lam at