Students Staff

12 May 2016

Council collaboration sees Essex students contributing to public policy

Reinvigorating Essex front cover

Reinvigorating Essex - the full report.

A ground-breaking project that asked Essex undergraduates to apply academic theory to the current socio-economic challenges facing the county has culminated in a number of recommendations for Essex County Council to consider.

Reinvigorating Essex is a report (.pdf) by six students from the University’s Department of Government who were offered the chance to collaborate with Essex County Council on the Challenge Project.

The first of its kind for the University, the project required the students to use their political and economic expertise to develop innovative and cost effective recommendations for the Council on economic growth and improving civic engagement and community resilience.

Key recommendations made in the report include:

  • making greater use of local libraries by turning them into ‘connectivity hubs’ for the local community
  • improving the skills base in Essex by hosting a series of ‘Apprenticeship Seminars&rsquo
  • applying the theory of behavioural economics to encourage people to recycle.

The students also looked at the possibility of a trial traffic congestion pricing scheme and expanding existing neighbourhood watch programmes.

Hear the students talk about the project

Professor Han Dorussen, Employability Director in the University’s Department of Government said, “The Challenge Project has provided our students with a great opportunity to learn about and contribute to public policy in Essex. The project has been a great example of the importance given by the Department of Government and the University of Essex to research-led teaching and the employability of our students.

“This collaboration with Essex County Council has given our students experience with real world policy making. It has also broadened their understanding and appreciation of the important work that is being done at local and regional level. As the Employability Director of the Department of Government, I greatly appreciate the opportunities offered by the County Council and look forward to future collaboration.”

Richard Puleston, Director of Strategy and Communications at Essex County Council said, “It has been an example of the value of collaboration between the County Council and the University and is a sign of things to come in terms of our shared commitment to work more closely together to focus on the real world challenges faced by our communities.

“The success of this first module means it will be rolled out to other departments at the University in the future, providing the opportunity for a number of our other functions to develop ‘challenge projects’ of their own.”

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