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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)


Every year, the MPhil in Public Policy issues two awards to outstanding students for performance across the entire programme, and on the Independent Research Paper. Below are some testimonials from the 2023 winners:


I was delighted to be awarded the Highest Independent Research Paper Prize this year, especially in light of the extraordinary work I know my classmates to be capable of. It has been a joy and privilege to study public policy at Cambridge. My experience was supported by the Kanders Churchill Scholarship, which seeks to bridge the divide between science and policymaking.

In this spirit, my independent research project investigated the use of race in lung function equations. For more than a century, medical laboratories have interpreted lung function measures differently by race. Race correction is controversial, but policymakers have limited data on its clinical, occupational, and financial implications. My project harmonized data from 367,242 participants across four datasets to systematically compare race-based and race-free equations. We found that race adjustment does not improve prediction of respiratory outcomes, but affects disease classification, transplant access, occupational eligibility, and disability compensation for millions. It is my hope that these data can help move the field toward more precise and outcome-focused measures of lung function, rather than those anchored on crude heuristics like race.

I was very fortunate to have been supervised by the inimitable Professor Dame Diane Coyle, who encouraged me to provide non-technical context for a broad readership and to target my writing toward the most relevant decision-makers. All things considered, Cambridge MPP was the perfect place to broaden my learning in a global context. I know its lessons will continue to guide my work and thinking as I continue with my medical and scientific training.