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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:

HIGHEST INDEPENDENT RESEARCH PAPER SCORE - James Diao

I was delighted to be awarded the Highest Independent Research Paper Prize this year. 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. My dissertation surveyed the evidentiary basis for this practice and was written for clinicians, scientists, and policymakers involved in determining guidelines, research priorities, and reparative interventions. Beyond this project, I hope to continue working to move the field toward more precise and outcome-focused measures of lung function.

I was very fortunate to have been supervised by the inimitable Dame Professor 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.