About IPPO

About IPPO

Welcome to IPPO

The International Public Policy Observatory (IPPO) aims to mobilise and assess evidence from around the world to inform UK policymakers. Our intent is to contribute to better policymaking and thereby to the wellbeing of UK citizens.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for local and national policymakers and other decision-makers across the UK, who are being asked to make many varied and complex decisions in quick succession. The range and urgency of evidence they require is continuously growing – and if it’s not easily accessible, this creates yet another hurdle in developing the measures that are needed to help society through the severe and widespread impacts of COVID-19.

The research that we do is shaped and framed by numerous and diverse  conversations with decision-makers. Those interactions help us to identify important questions and issues that can benefit from rigorous knowledge synthesis, drawing on research and expertise from around the world.

An initiative like IPPO requires a team of people with diverse skills and experience. IPPO brings together people who have worked in policy development and implementing environments together with academic and policy researchers. We are all committed to trying to bridge gaps between research and policy to achieve positive social impact.

Professor Joanna Chataway (IPPO Principal Investigator)

Who is IPPO?

IPPO is a collaboration between UCL, Cardiff University, Queen’s University Belfast, the University of Auckland and the University of Oxford, together with think tanks including the International Network for Government Science (INGSA) and academic news publisher The Conversation. It is led by Professor Joanna Chataway from UCL’s Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (STEaPP).

IPPO will undertake policy research and work with engagement leaders in the devolved administrations, including the Scottish Policy and Research Exchange (SPRE), Wales’ Social Science Park (SPARK) and Queen’s University Belfast and Pivotal, Northern Ireland’s leading policy think tank.

Who are IPPO’s funders, and how long is it funded for?

IPPO is supported by a £2 million, two-year grant from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the UK’s largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. ESRC supports independent, high-quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and civil society – including (at any one time) supporting more than 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and independent research institutes.

What are the primary aims of IPPO?

IPPO has been established to enable national, devolved and local governments throughout the UK to:

  1. make better decisions in conditions of stress and avoid unnecessary mistakes;
  2. enable ongoing engagement with, and application of, evidence to inform rapidly evolving policy needs​; and
  3. achieve better outcomes for the British public – particularly at-risk groups including those in care, homeless people and Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

IPPO aims to give politicians the insights, evidence and analysis of global policy responses to COVID-19 to enable them to address the immediate social, economic and public health impacts and help communities get back on their feet. We will do this through a range of content products, from expert blogs and topic snapshots to evidence briefs and systematic reviews. We will also convene regular roundtable discussions for policymakers and other experts across our seven policy topic areas.

We also intend to create a best-practice approach to connecting the worlds of policy and social science, especially at times of crisis and rapid change.

What are IPPO’s key areas of focus?

IPPO’s work will focus on a broad spectrum of policy areas including education; mental health and well-being; living online; care homes and adult social care; housing; vulnerable communities; and addressing the disproportionate impacts on Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups. In each of these areas, IPPO will provide decision-makers in government at all levels with access to the best available global evidence on the social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the effectiveness of policy responses.

To ensure we can directly address the UK’s most urgent policy needs at both local and national levels, IPPO will crowdsource key questions and topics from policymakers, local leaders, frontline workers and many other people with experience and insights in all our policy areas. We will then produce quick-response, digestible summaries of what’s being done around the world to address these questions (including evidence on effectiveness). We will also host IPPO briefing and discussion sessions to build vital bridges between policymakers and researchers.

In the next few weeks, we’re starting our series of roundtable discussions on urgent topics — including Responding to the mental health impacts on schoolchildren on 11 February at 1pm, and What is working on street homelessness policy? on 22 February at 4pm. If you’re working in these areas and would like to join either roundtable, please email policyimpactunit@ucl.ac.uk.

How to get more involved with IPPO

If you are a decision-maker tackling the social impacts of COVID-19 and how to address them, we’re keen to learn from your experiences and insights, and shape our content accordingly. We want to know what questions you most need answers to, and what kind of research evidence would be most helpful for you to understand and address the full, long-term impacts of COVID-19. Click here to tell us more.

If you are an academic researching the social impacts of COVID-19 and responses to it, we’re keen to find out more about your work – and, if you like, to share relevant studies with you. We are also aiming to build a network of topic specialists who can contribute to IPPO’s content by writing blogs, rapid answers and topic snapshots. Click here to contact us.

​Finally, if you have any other questions about IPPO, please email us at ippo@ucl.ac.uk