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About the Office of the Chief Economist

Strengthening public policies and institutions is fundamental to longer term growth and development.

As Chief Economist, Mark Henstridge is responsible for setting the strategic direction of our work in development economics. Before joining us, Mark was Acting Executive Director of the International Growth Centre (IGC), an initiative funded by DFID at LSE and the University of Oxford. He was Head of Macroeconomics at BP, and has previously worked …

Stevan Lee

Principal economist

OPM United Kingdom

Stevan Lee has extensive in-country advisory experience, including a nine-year residency in African countries and in the Middle East. He has spent a large part of his career working with academics – getting academic work into a useful form for policy advice with the UK Department for International Development and the World Bank.

Umar Salam

Senior economist

OPM United Kingdom

Umar's work explores ways of using new economic thinking to address development problems – a current research project is on economic complexity and a capability-based approach to industrial policy and structural transformation. 

Louise Jennings

Operations manager

OPM United Kingdom

Having spent 17 years working in higher education, Louise joined OPM in early 2019 bringing with her a wealth of experience in partnership working and relationship building, project management, change management, communications and event management, and cross-organisational working.

Alastair Bradstock

Programme director

OPM United Kingdom

Alastair has 30 years’ experience working in international development. He has lived and worked in low- and middle-income countries for six years, and has extensive experience of working in agriculture, forestry, land reform and tobacco control.

Aude Duquesne

RISE programme manager

OPM United Kingdom

Aude has over 10 years of experience in project delivery and operations management in various sectors of the sustainable development space. She is working on RISE, a large multi-country research programme that seeks to understand how school systems in the developing world can overcome the learning crisis and deliver better learning for all.
Benjamin Klooss is the Programme Manager of the Economic Development & Institutions (EDI) research programme as well as a consultant for natural resource and energy projects. He manages the overall delivery of EDI, leading on the contracting of high quality research that achieves academic and policy impact. 

Research programmes

As an organisation, we're uniquely capable of managing research programmes on the interface between world-class research and decision making on economic policy and reform. We pride ourselves on our ability to both translate policy and reform challenges into researchable questions, and to then translate research findings back into policy analysis and debates; this is a distinctive feature of our experience and expertise. We currently run three major research programmes:

The Oxford Policy Fellowship

A key part of delivering policy impact is the effectiveness with which we can develop and sustain relationships with policy stakeholders in the countries in which we work. For this the Fellowship programme is important; but in addition, developing relationships with policy stakeholders through policy engagement activities under the research projects also matter.

The Oxford Policy Fellowship supports governments in overcoming the unique issues they face, by providing them with demand-led technical assistance. We source high performing early-career advisors to work within current government systems and processes for two years so that their work contributes to ongoing policymaking, rather than creating parallel structures for getting things done.

Thought leadership

We help expand OPM as a thinking organisation, with original and relevant ideas that respond to development policy challenges and potential clients priorities. We engage in three main activities:

  • synthesising and co-ordinating research outputs across OPM in order to maximise synergies and develop the original thinking that takes place within the company;
  • building networks between OPM and academic researchers in order to promote debate and identify future collaborations; and
  • the conducting of original research within the team to directly address development issues that are relevant to OPM’s work and impact.

One of our major thought leadership activities has been centred on industrial policy, increasingly a key priority for many developing countries and currently the subject of intense debate in academic and policy circles. Building upon collaborations with academics in the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford, and London, we research different theoretical perspectives on industrial policy, and relate them to policy work and OPM projects. A highlight has been Umar Salam’s work on the ‘product space’, in which he provides an alternative characterisation of Hausmann’s concept of economic complexity and uses it to challenge perspectives on diversification and production. This paper was delivered in the Centre for Development Studies at Cambridge this term and will be delivered at Oxford next term. In addition, we were recently delighted to welcome visiting scholars from DIE (the German Development Institute) to speak on green industrial policy.

Innovation

Developing new innovations, which are unique to our organisation, is also one of our team's core functions. These include combining our experience to be able to establish systems for the use of mobile phones for accountability in public service delivery, or for cracking the challenge of setting up successful special economic zones. We innovate by harnessing the expertise across the organisation, to test and develop new ways of solving development challenges.