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27 February 2019

A night of inspiring pitches at the Policy Idol 2019 final

Student finalists impressed the judges with their inspiring ideas for changing the world


Students from across King’s impressed the judges at last night’s Policy Idol 2019 final with their inspiring ideas for changing the world. Cristina Zheng Ji was crowned overall winner of the competition with her pitch to make the fashion industry more sustainable. 

From tackling antimicrobial resistance to implementing equal parental leave, the policy ideas from students presented workable solutions to some of society’s most pressing challenges. Competition was extremely tough with every finalist giving an impressive three-minute pitch, backed up with sound evidence and keeping cool when grilled by the judges. However, Cristina’s ingenious idea to label clothing according to its environmental impact, gave her the edge in the eyes of the judges. 

Now in its fifth year,  Policy Idol is an annual competition open to all current students and staff at King’s. Participants get the opportunity to present world-changing policy ideas to a panel of leading figures from the worlds of politics, academia and industry. This year’s final took place on Tuesday 26th February in the Great Hall at Kings.  

Hosted by Mark Easton, Home Editor of BBC News, the expert panel of judges included Dame Louise Casey, Chair of the Institute of Global Homelessness, Bobby Duffy, Director of the Policy Institute, Bronwen Maddox, Director of the Institute for Government, Trevor Phillips, former Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission and Lord David Willetts, Chair of the Resolution Foundation, and former Minister for Universities and Science.  

Alongside the overall winner, standout performances picked up runner up prizes, including Ratidzo Chinyuku who won pitch with the most substance for her proposal to scrap Home Office fees for child dependents. Robert Adderley presenting a policy to install telematics in cars won pitch with the most style. The audience also got to select their favourite, choosing a renewable community energy project pitched by Florian Eblenkamp, Aura Rivera and Matias Vergara-Herrera. 

Tonight’s finalists really were the pick of the crop from some of the best entries we’ve had in the competition yet. Throughout every stage of Policy Idol 2019, the quality of ideas and enthusiasm of pitchers have been a delight to see. Every single policy pitch our students came up with has been uplifting and inspiring, as they take on some of the world’s biggest challenges with fresh thinking and determination.

Professor Bobby Duffy, Director of the Policy Institute

Mark Easton said: 

"Tonight we’ve had policy ideas that are imaginative, practical and inspiring. It’s really exciting that the students going forward tonight can lend their ideas and their enthusiasm to become part of public thinking and policymaking.” 

Former Home Secretary and Visiting Professor at the Policy Institute, Charles Clarke, presented the awards to the finalists. Mr Clarke highlighted the important role of initiatives like Policy Idol in helping to embed key communication skills and emphasising the importance of evidence in policymaking.   

This isn't the end of Policy Idol 2019, the Policy Institute will be working with all the student finalists to help them develop their ideas and take them further. You can find out what previous finalists went on to do in this video

Watch the video 'Behind the Scenes at Policy Idol 2019':

Policy Idol is supported by the King’s ESRC Impact Acceleration Account. 

For further information on Policy Idol, please contact Emma Kinloch, Impact and Engagement Manager at the Policy Institute, on