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About the Office of the Chief Economist

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

Mark is our Chief Executive Officer. He joined OPM as Chief Economist in 2012, with responsibility 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 …

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. 

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.
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

We are uniquely capable of managing research programmes on the interface between world-class academic research and decision-making on economic policy and reform.

We particularly pride ourselves on our ability to translate policy and reform challenges into researchable questions, and to then translate research findings back into policy choices and direction; this is a distinctive feature of our experience, insights, and expertise. We currently run two 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 matters.

The Oxford Policy Fellowship delivers impact directly. It supports governments in overcoming the 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 OPM as a rigorous thinking organisation, with original and relevant ideas that respond to development policy challenges and clients’ priorities. We engage in three main activities:

  • We conduct original research to address policy challenges and development issues that are relevant to OPM’s work and our impact on growth and poverty reduction;
  • We build on the work of our research projects to synthesise outputs and apply them to emerging economic and policy issues; and
  • We build networks among OPM people and academic researchers in order to promote debate and identify future collaborations.

One of our major thought leadership activities has been centred on policy diagnostics for growth and reform, in particular how diagnostics may be enriched by incorporating highly varied, but relevant information to produce a ‘thicker policy diagnostic’ – one which generates a set of politically and administratively feasible, and locally effective, priorities to inform decisions on public policy reform for development and growth. We have convened and led panels in Oxford, UK and in Canberra, Australia on this work.

We have also developed a framework and modelling to support governments to consider their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, both in dealing with the pandemic as well as the social and economic impacts of the public health measures which aim to slow infection.


We recognise the importance of peer learning and a strong community in enabling individuals to develop the technical and personal skills required to succeed. Through our Consultant Development Programme and a community of practice for junior consultants we are helping to develop the consultants of the future. Connecting across all our offices, we support our junior consultants to learn from each other and together, and to develop strong and trusting networks.  Through this we are better able to understand what skills we need to support them to develop for the future.