Christopher Gray

All Disciplines Award, Columbia University - Public Administration

Throughout my time studying at Sheffield and Oxford, running local political campaigns, and working in public policy, I have been motivated by the inequalities I witnessed growing up in South London. It this which led me to a civil service career focussed on social policy. From Bristol Jobcentre to the Prime Minister’s Private Office, I have sought to use criminal justice, welfare, employment, and education policy to help the most disadvantaged improve their quality of life. Along the way I have learnt a huge amount. However, it was during a secondment designing social impact bonds for youth services that I first discovered how US organisations were using collective impact to develop radical new solutions to intractable social problems.

Studying Public Administration at Columbia provides the perfect opportunity to explore how US cities are effectively integrating public, social, and private sector interventions with data science to tackle local challenges - whether it be the Harlem Children’s Zone or Louisville’s Coalition Supporting Young Adults. I’m excited to learn all I can about what works from academics and fellow public policy leaders from across the US and hope to return to the UK capable of replicating their successes.