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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

Progressive levelling up

People

Meet the team behind our Progressive Levelling Up Project.

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Jonathan Webb

Senior research fellow

IPPR North

Jonathan is a senior research fellow at IPPR North.

His research focusses on highlighting the causes and consequences of the UK’s regional divides. His latest reports have analysed the role of community power in relation to major policy agendas, including ‘levelling up’ and net zero. 

Jonathan joined IPPR in May 2019 as a research fellow. Based initially at IPPR’s London office, Jonathan led the institute’s work on housing. Previously, he was based at the Wales Centre for Public Policy. In this role, he worked closely with Welsh Government ministers and public services to help connect policy makers with evidence and improve their capacity to make evidence informed policy decisions. 

His research has generated national and regional headlines. Jonathan has both TV and radio broadcast media experience. This includes appearances on BBC News at Ten, Channel 4 News, Sky News and The Today Programme. Jonathan has also written op-eds for the likes of the Times Red Box,  New Statesman and the Yorkshire Post. His portfolio is available to view here

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Zoë Billingham

Director of IPPR North

IPPR North

Zoë Billingham is the director of IPPR North. 

She leads the think tank, which is dedicated to developing bold, progressive ideas to strengthen the north of England and regions like it.

Zoë previously jointly led the Centre for Progressive Policy, advising national and local leaders on regional inequality. Prior to this, she worked as a civil servant in central government including as senior policy adviser at HM Treasury and as economic policy adviser to a deputy prime minister. Zoë has also worked in finance.

Zoë lives in Liverpool and alongside her role at IPPR North, is a crook fellow at the University of Sheffield.

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Rosie Lockwood

Head of media and advocacy, IPPR North and IPPR Scotland

IPPR North

Rosie heads up communications and advocacy for IPPR North and IPPR Scotland. 

She works with leaders, policymakers, communities and the media to influence progressive policy across IPPR North and IPPR Scotland’s full range of expertise which includes power and devolution within regions, transport, child poverty, health inequalities and more. She is currently playing a leading role in IPPR’s engagement with the levelling up agenda. 

Working with all major national and regional media outlets - from the BBC’s 6 O’clock News and ITV’s Good Morning Britain, to the UK’s major national and vital regional newspapers - Rosie grows and maintains IPPR North and IPPR Scotland’s significant news presence. In turn, this profile builds public and political support for progressive policy ideas that create the opportunity for people, whoever they are and wherever they live, to live a good life.  

Rosie regularly speaks at events and acts as a spokesperson in the media, with appearances on Times Radio and written work published in the Times Red Box and the Independent. She has also played a key role in researching, writing and communicating work on her areas of expertise which include democracy (including as an author of IPPR North’s State of the North 2020/21 report) and youth participation.  

Prior to joining IPPR in 2017, Rosie worked as a senior parliamentary assistant in the UK Parliament for prominent northern MPs. Her work included leading successful campaigns, providing political and policy advice, managing communications, undertaking research and speechwriting.  

Rosie has a degree in British politics and legislative studies from the University of Hull. She is also the former mayor of Selby, in North Yorkshire. 

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Stephen Frost

Principal research fellow and co-head of participative research

Stephen is a principal research fellow and co-head of participative research at IPPR.

With Becca Massey-Chase, he leads on participative research at IPPR, developing and using participatory methods and deliberative democracy to co-create policy solutions. Becca and Stephen were formerly co-deputy head of the Environmental Justice Commission, leading the commission’s citizens’ juries across the UK. Based in the energy, climate, housing, and infrastructure team, Stephen has a particular interest in a just transition for transport.

Before joining IPPR, Stephen was the head of the research and monitoring unit at walking and cycling charity Sustrans, and led the development of the organisation’s strategy for achieving ‘liveable cities and towns for everyone’. He is highly experienced in a wide range of evaluation, appraisal and research methods relevant to making the case for active travel and improvements to the public realm. 

Prior to joining Sustrans, Stephen worked as the voluntary sector and community development lead for the London Borough of Hounslow and for a range of social enterprises and charities focussed on social action and increasing public participation in decision making. 

He has experience across a wide range of public policy areas, including:

  • participatory decision-making
  • community development
  • voluntary, community and social enterprise sector
  • research and evaluation best practice
  • active travel and designing places for reduced car use.

Stephen's normal working days are Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Becca Massey-Chase's normal working days are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

Image of Becca Massey-Chase

Becca Massey-Chase

Principal research fellow and co-head of participative research

Becca is a principal research fellow and co-head of participative research at IPPR.

With Stephen Frost, she leads on participative research at IPPR, developing and using participatory methods and deliberative democracy to co-create policy solutions. Stephen and Becca were formerly co-deputy head of the Environmental Justice Commission, leading the commission’s citizens’ juries across the UK. Based in the energy, climate, housing and infrastructure team, Becca has a particular interest in a just transition for transport. She is also an experienced media contributor and panellist.

Becca joined IPPR from Sustrans, where, as head of strategy and governance, she led the development of a UK-wide strategy responding to the inequalities present in how people travel and the related challenges to health, communities and the environment.

Prior to joining Sustrans, Becca was a regional manager in the RSA’s fellowship team. Her professional and voluntary background also includes youth leadership development, interfaith and intercultural relations, human rights education and campaigning, working with unaccompanied minors seeking asylum and providing a listening service for women in distress.

Becca’s main areas of expertise include:

  • citizen engagement and facilitation
  • participative research methods
  • transport, particularly active travel
  • strategy development and charity governance
  • social change.

Becca's normal working days are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Stephen Frost's normal working days are Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.

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Ryan Swift

Research fellow

IPPR North

Ryan joined IPPR North as a research fellow in March 2022.

Alongside his part time work at IPPR North, Ryan is currently completing a PhD at the University of Leeds which examines how the north of England is framed and politicised in contemporary political discourse. In undertaking this research Ryan has carried out qualitative interviews with over 70 political actors and stakeholders and has explored many live policy debates relevant to the North including those around devolution and ‘levelling up’.

Ryan has appeared on local radio and television to discuss the politics of the North and he has written on it for various publications including The Conversation, UK in a Changing Europe, and the Yorkshire Post.  

Ryan’s areas of expertise include: 

  • devolution 
  • regional inequalities 
  • regional identities.
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Amreen Qureshi

Research fellow

IPPR North

Amreen is a research fellow, working across IPPR North, and the migration, trade and communities team.

Amreen was a key contributor to the report Beyond the hostile environment which analysed Home Office policies that contributed to the Windrush scandal, and proposed ways to reform current systems of immigration enforcement. She also was an author on IPPR North’s 2021/22 State of the North: Powering northern excellence playing a role in tracking the progress and delivery of the promises made under the ‘levelling up’ agenda.

Amreen has appeared on BBC, ITV and Times Radio, and her writing has been featured in the Guardian and on the Fabian Society blog.  She is also a member of the NEON spokesperson network.

Prior to joining IPPR North in 2019, Amreen carried out research work on the humanitarian sector with Trust Consultancy. She has also worked across the charity sector and was a volunteer mentor for migrant women at Refugee Action. She is an experienced campaigner and events coordinator. 

Amreen has an MA in Humanitarianism and conflict response from the University of Manchester and a BA in politics and international relations from Lancaster University.  

Amreen’s areas of expertise are:

  • society and migration 
  • gender and racial inequality 
  • power and politics.
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George Dibb

Head of the Centre for Economic Justice

Dr George Dibb is head of the Centre for Economic Justice at IPPR.

George leads IPPR’s work on UK economic policy and is based in the Westminster office.

George’s interests include industrial strategy; R&D, science, and innovation policy; and sustainability and climate change. He is an experienced media spokesman and contributor having appeared in national and international media including BBC News, Sky News, Channel 4 News, CNBC, Times Radio and Bloomberg, and has written for outlets including the New Statesman and Project Syndicate.

Before joining IPPR, George was the head of industrial strategy and policy engagement at the UCL Institute for Innovation & Public Purpose, working closely with institute founder Prof Mariana Mazzucato, and UCL Public Policy. He was the secretariat of the UCL Commission on Mission Oriented Innovation and Industrial Strategy (MOISS) and the UCL Green Innovation Policy Commission. George joined UCL in 2018 from the cross-party think tank Policy Connect having previously worked in industrial, technology, manufacturing and innovation policy.

George holds a PhD in physics from Imperial College London in novel photovoltaic technologies, and previously worked as a research scientist at the National Physical Laboratory.

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Shreya Nanda

Economist

Shreya is an economist working in the Centre for Economic Justice.

Shreya joined IPPR in 2019. She has worked on a range of policy areas at IPPR – particularly tax, housing and wealth inequality.

Shreya has written for publications including the New Statesman, Tribune, Prospect and Capx and has appeared on broadcast media, including Sky News and talkRADIO. Alongside working at IPPR, Shreya is also an advisor to London YIMBY, Tax Justice UK, the Women’s Budget Group, and is a member of the NEON spokesperson network.

Before joining IPPR, she was part of the Government Economics Service, providing advice and analysis on housing, transport and food standards. She has also worked on international development research for the Africa All-Party Parliamentary Group, the World Health Organization, and the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi.

Shreya has a particular interest in land use and transport policy. She holds a BA in economics from the University of Cambridge.

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Christine Berry

Associate fellow, IPPR North

Image of Dr Arianna Giovannini

Dr Arianna Giovannini

Associate Fellow, IPPR North

IPPR North

Arianna is an associate professor/reader in local politics and public policy and the deputy director of the Local Governance Research Centre (LGRC) at the Department of Politics, People and Place, De Montfort University. Between July 2019 and February 2020, and again between December 2021 and April 2022, she served as interim director of IPPR North.

Arianna’s work focuses on the politics, governance and political economy of the north of England; ‘levelling up’ and regional inequalities; devolution, multi-level governance and constitutional change in the UK; and the changing landscape of local government, especially in the context of austerity, Brexit and Covid-19 recovery. She has written extensively on these topics, and her latest book ‘Developing England’s North. The Political Economy of the Northern Powerhouse (with Craig Berry) was published by Palgrave in 2019.

Her work actively engages with the world of policy and practice. Most recently, she was on the executive of APSE’s Local Government Commission 2030 – and independent inquiry into the future of local government in the UK. She has contributed to several IPPR North research projects, and in 2019 she co-authored the State of the North report ‘Divided and Connected Regional inequalities in the North, the UK and the developed world’ (with L. Raikes and B. Getzel).

Arianna also regularly comments in the media on devolution, local government, constitutional change and European politics.

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Harry Quilter-Pinner

Director of research and engagement

Harry is the director of research and engagement at IPPR.

Harry heads up our research, policy and influencing work in Westminster.  

Prior to this Harry was associate director for work and the welfare state at IPPR. He co-founded and headed up our flagship Better Health and Care programme and was lead author on the independent cross-party Lord Darzi review which shaped the NHS Long-Term Plan and recent NHS funding settlement. 

He has also led the organisations work on austerity and public spending, and contributed to research on education, welfare and environmental policy. Harry writes regularly for the GuardianTimes, Independent, Telegraph, i paper, and New Statesman, as well as appearing on radio and tv, including Sky News and BBC News

He was previously director of strategy at SCT, a homelessness and addictions charity and has worked at Global Counsel, a consultancy firm, and at the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). He has a degree in economics from the University of York. 

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Carys Roberts

Executive director

Carys is the executive director of IPPR.

Prior to taking up the role, she was the chief economist and head of the Centre for Economic Justice at IPPR.

Carys was a key contributor to the final report of the Commission on Economic Justice, Prosperity and Justice, leading on the analysis in the report and recommendations relating to wealth, automation and labour markets.

Carys has appeared on national and regional broadcast media, including Radio 4, Radio 5Live, Talk Radio, LBC, BBC Breakfast and Sky All Out Politics. She has written for a range of online and print publications, including for the Guardian, and her research has generated front-page headlines.

She sits on the editorial advisory board of the journal Renewal, and is a member of the advisory group for Rebuilding Macroeconomics as well as the steering group of the Economic Change Unit.

Carys joined IPPR in 2015. She previously worked at the RSA, the Social Mobility Foundation, the IFS and in charity impact evaluation. She holds an MSc Social Policy (Research) from LSE, and a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University.

Press release: Carys Roberts appointed IPPR Director (27/1/20)

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Parth Patel

Senior research fellow

Parth leads IPPR’s work on democracy and politics. 

He also works on public health and inequality. Parth’s research includes studying the sway of underpowered communities over the course of public policy, the contours of social democracy in the 21st century and policies to reduce health inequality. 

His research has generated front-page headlines and is often cited in parliamentary debates and committees. Parth is a regular commentator on TV and radio, appearing on BBC News, ITV News, Channel 4 News, Sky News and LBC, and writes for several periodicals, including the New StatesmanProspect and the British Medical Journal

Parth is also a doctor in the NHS and was working full-time in an accident and emergency department during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. He also is a clinical fellow at University College London where he tries to make sense of complex data to better understand race and class inequalities during the pandemic. Parth holds degrees in natural sciences and medicine from the University of Cambridge.

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Chris Thomas

Head of the Commission on Health and Prosperity

Chris is a principal research fellow in the work and welfare state team, and heads IPPR's flagship Commission on Health and Prosperity.

Chris is interested in progressive solutions to the challenges faced by our health and care system. He regularly comments on health policy in the media, and has by-lines in The IndependentHealth Service Journal, the Times and Tribune, amongst others - his articles can be found here. He has also appeared on range of broadcast, including primetime shows on the BBC, Times TV, LBC and TalkRadio. Chris is also an editor of IPPR's journal of politics and ideas: Progressive Review

Prior to joining IPPR, Chris led Macmillan Cancer Support's inequality policy team, and prevention research at Cancer Research UK. He has a Masters in International Policy from UCL. Outside of IPPR, Chris writes widely on public health and its interaction with the economy. He is author of the Five Health Frontiers (Pluto Press, 2021), has advised and written for the World Economic Forum, and has published in a range of peer reviewed journals.

He has expertise in:

  • healthcare funding, workforce and reform
  • health inequality and public health
  • the impact of Covid-19
  • the interaction of health and economy.