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A Night of Pitches and Prizes at Policy Idol 2017

The evening of Tuesday 28 March was the culmination of a lengthy audition process for the King’s students and staff who had entered the annual Policy Idol competition. Now in its third year, this event, during which participants pitch their policy ideas in just three minutes to a panel of judges, is generating considerable buzz and highlighting the importance of evidence in policymaking.

This year’s grand final took place in the Great Hall on the Strand campus and was enthusiastically hosted by Mark Easton, the Home Editor of BBC News, with an illustrious panel of leading figures from the worlds of politics, academia and industry.

 Meena and Gemma with the drawing created for their pitchMeena Nayar from the Cicely Saunders Institute reached the final stage of the competition, along with her teammate Gemma Scott (pictured). Meena is completing her Academic Clinical Fellowship in Rehabilitation Medicine and Gemma is a Radiology registrar at King’s College Hospital. Despite their day jobs, the duo strayed outside the boundaries of traditional medicine by choosing to talk about a ‘new emerging digital epidemic’. Their pitch, highlighting the growing problem of smart phone addiction and exploring how we can break the cycle, was awarded the prize for ‘most substance’ by the experts on the panel. 

The pitch with the most style went to Luca Brockmann and Antonio Manzi Gari, both Public Policy & Management MSc students, for their presentation on the shadow trash market in Uruguay and how conditions could be improved through transparent regulation. Louis Phelps, a student in the Department of Political Economy, was crowned the overall winner of Policy Idol 2017 for his impressive pitch on reducing meat consumption to protect the environment and promote healthier lifestyles.

Lara Klass, the Research & Dissemination Facilitator at the Cicely Saunders Institute, attended the event and offered her impressions of the night: ‘I thought that the wide variety of local and global issues addressed, and the elegant policy solutions pitched, reflected the contestants’ sound understanding of their subjects. Well done to Meena and Gemma – a well-deserved win!’

The competition was chaired by Professor Jennifer Rubin, Director of The Policy Institute at King’s, and included Dan Poulter, Conservative MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich and Visiting Professor at The Policy Institute; Polly Toynbee, columnist at The Guardian; and Professor Frans Berkhout, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Social Science and Public Policy at King’s. Former Home Secretary and Visiting Professor at the Policy Institute, the Rt Hon Charles Clarke presented the awards to the finalists and highlighted the important role of initiatives like Policy Idol in helping to embed key communication skills.

Professor Rubin said ‘I am delighted that once again Policy Idol has showcased the breadth of talent at King’s amongst both staff and students. Here’s to Policy Idol 2018!’

On behalf of the Cicely Saunders Institute, huge congratulations to all of the finalists. Let’s hope Policy Idol 2018 packs as much of a punch!

For further information about Policy Idol please contact Emma Kinloch, Impact and Engagement Manager at The Policy Institute at King’s, on