Institute for Policy and Engagement

Our people


Stephen Meek


Stephen spent 25 years working in the UK as a civil servant, including board level posts in two government departments. 

He has led the Institute since its creation in 2018 and oversees both its public engagement and policy impact work. He has particular expertise in the policy making process and how to influence it.

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Gabrielle Bunn

Operations Manager

Gabrielle joined the team in August 2022 to create  the SHAping Sustainable Futures Hub, an Institute resource dedicated to social sciences research around climate change, sustainability and the net zero challenge.

Gabrielle now leads the Institute's operations team, supporting project delivery and overall strategy across the Institute. She is a project manager with extensive experience in marketing communications, event management and content development. 

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Amanda Chukwudozie

Programme and Project Manager (Policy)

Amanda joined the Institute in 2021, following a role in policy and advocacy at the African Union. She brings expertise in engaging policy audiences, especially in Africa, and provides advice to researchers looking to achieve policy impact with their work.

She manages our policy communications and blogs, and aspects of our training programme, manages our EDI workstream and runs a portfolio of events including the Institute awards. 

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Max Gillingham

CAPE Coordinator

Max joined the team in August 2022 to take over the role of Project Coordinator for CAPE (Capabilities in Academic Policy Engagement), a multi-institutional consortium which seeks to test and evaluate different mechanisms of academic policy engagement.

Max’s interest in policy impact began when he joined the University of Nottingham as a postgraduate student in 2019, during which time he spent three months on placement coordinating the University’s COP26 campaign.

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John Coggin

Deputy Director, Head of Research Advocacy 

John joined the team in 2023 to design and deliver advocacy strategies to achieve the University’s key research funding and reputational priorities.

John brings 12 years of experience in stakeholder engagement, policy advocacy, and institutional development in the higher education, corporate, and voluntary sectors in the US and UK.

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Sally Nightingale

Public Engagement Project Manager

Sally brings over two decades of management experience within a variety of tenant and community involvement, marketing and heritage roles primarily within the public sector.

She joined the team in June 2023 to support in the delivery of an ambitious programme of public engagement events and activities, reaching diverse audiences and responding to the needs of communities. 

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Maria Richards

Head of Public Engagement

Following a career in museums and heritage Maria joined the team in 2020. She specialises in planning for public engagement, co-production methods and understanding diverse audience needs.

Maria oversees our public engagement programmes, manages our public engagement funding streams and works with external partners to bring new opportunities to our researchers.

 Mobile number: 07976 951571

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Ben Sherwood

Project Coordinator and Executive Assistant 

Ben joined the team in 2020 as an administrative assistant, assisting with the day-to-day running of the Institute. 

Ben has an active career as an actor and supports with a variety of creative engagement projects, taking the lead on the Institute's podcast, Knowledge, Engaged.

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Chris Sims

Deputy Director

Chris joined the team in 2018 as Head of Policy Impact. He previously spent nine years in the UK Diplomatic Service before working in a variety of policy roles in the voluntary sector.

Chris oversees the Institute's work to support academics to achieve policy impact, and supports Stephen on the Institute's strategy, communications and stakeholder engagement.

Mobile number: 07966 875614

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Amy Watkins

Executive Administrator

Amy joined the Institute in March 2022 after graduating from a degree in Film Production from Nottingham Trent University. 

Amy works closely with the team to support with administration for various products. She plays a key role in supporting collaborations between our researchers and policy partners as part of our wider activity to identify best practises to do so.

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