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Greater Manchester policy network

We are supporting the development of a policy network with working level policy, strategy or research officials based in Greater Manchester. This network is led by local authority colleagues with seed funding provided by CAPE at the University of Manchester.

Policy Boot Camp

Update: we are planning a 2023 Policy Boot Camp. If you are interested in participating in the please contact Jay.

In 2019, over 250 students took part in UCL’s Global Citizen Programme and the Policy Boot Camp with over 30 students gaining a paid internship. In 2020, over 350 students took part in the joint UCL/UoM Policy Boot Camp.

The 2020 Policy Boot Camp, brought to you by the University of Manchester and University College London, supported students in making sense of the policy making process. With an introduction to policy making led by Prof Andy Westwood, and workshops devised by professionals from across the sector, this course included:

  • 17 policy actors discussing their experiences and motivations;
  • 13 different ‘methodology toolkit’ workshops facilitated by policy practitioners; and
  • 7 policy ‘sandpit’ challenges set by 29 wonks.

Thanks to our many facilitators who kindly gave up their time, participants from the 2019 boot camp who helped to mentor the 2020 cohort and the core teams at UCL and UoM who supported the programme development.

Reuben Williamson and Dr Olivia Stevenson have published a paper reviewing the Policy Boot Camp – Bringing adult learning principles to university–policy engagement training involving students and policy professionals. To find out more, you can read the paper or the abstract below:

Within the knowledge exchange literature, there is growing recognition of the role that students have in contributing to knowledge exchange through university-based programmes. To add to this growing, but embryonic, knowledge base, this paper brings together reflections of policy engagement facilitators delivering an optional, online policy training course at UCL (University College London) and the University of Manchester, UK. Known as the Policy Boot Camp, it involved fifty policy professionals, from the civil service, think tanks, local government and the third sector, and three hundred students from undergraduate and master’s degree courses. We reflect on how we drew on the principles of andragogy to create our knowledge exchange programme, so that it was problem-focused, student-led, and interactive and collaborative in nature. We discuss if an intervention such as this can be a route to support more collaborative and fluid policymaking processes. Although our conclusions from this small-scale programme are tentative, we sketch out directions for future research that could contribute to evidencing the potential benefits of courses such as this.

Reuben Williamson, Olivia Stevenson (2022)

What We Do


At cfgm.uk we are working towards fostering a Greater Manchester policy focused community. Our aim is to facilitate solutions to some of the city’s most pressing problems. We want to share new research and thinking, and work with policy actors from across the city. Working with policy-makers, academics, campaigners and students, our goal is to kick-start policy conversations at a local level, and to insert a new perspective into national debates.

2019 Policy Boot Camp at the University of Manchester

In 2019 cfgm.uk ran a policy making training course for University of Manchester students, including a series of workshops, events and interactive sandpit sessions on some of Manchester’s trickiest policy problems. Over the course of the programme, students worked with staff from organisations including Greater Manchester Combined Authority, CLES, GMCVO, and Public First. They heard from policy-actors working in academia, in parliament, and in local government and put together proposals to crack some of the Manchester’s toughest policy conundrums, from generating inclusive growth to knife crime to climate change. We hope to offer a similar boot camp this summer. Find out more.

It was multifaceted, complex and fast-paced, and provided the perfect precursor  for understanding the policy-making process

Hannah Vallance
Boot camp participant and intern at Policy@Manchester

Policy Internships

Following the boot camp, many participants gained internships in policy organisations around the country including Greater Manchester Combined Authority, GMCVO, cfgm.uk, Metrodynamics, Resolve Consultants, Economic Change Unit, Social Market Foundation, Foundations, the Coop College, Centre for Towns, Politics Project, Policy@Manchester and Tyndall Centre for Climate Change. Some of these internships have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and we are still looking for organisations to host interns. Find out more.