Home>Launch of the 4th edition of the Public Policy Incubator


Launch of the 4th edition of the Public Policy Incubator

On Monday, January 17th 2022, 121 M1 students from the School of Public Affairs returned to class for the launch of the fourth edition of the Public Policy Incubator -  an educational programme offered by the Policy Lab, for which they were selected on the basis of their applications several weeks prior. 

Divided into small groups, the students from the School's two Masters programmes (Master in Public Policy and Master in European Affairs) and the double degree programme with HEC (Corporate and Public Management) will have to propose concrete and operational solutions to 18 challenges of general interest submitted by public, non-profit or private partners. With challenges including improving understanding of, and access to: public services for fragile or vulnerable groups, gender equality, citizen mobilisation and participation, eco-responsibility and more, the public policy challenges that the students will face over the next few months are numerous and varied!

> Discover the 18 challenges of the 2022 edition

Before being able to imagine and design relevant solutions to meet these challenges, the students were immersed in the heart of the matter with an "immersion week" during which they were able to discover the issues related to innovation and public transformation in general and their challenges in particular through meetings and on-site visits.


How can we design public policies differently? How can we start from the real and daily experience of public policies lived by citizens to imagine more efficient public services? What are the links between design and public policy? These were the questions on the agenda for the first two days of the week. 

Henri Verdier, Ambassador for Digital Affairs at the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, set the tone with an inaugural conference during which he shared his experience in public innovation through numerous real-life cases. Advice given to the students included the need to check the validity (or not) of intuitions or ideas in the field before launching a project, or the usefulness of prototyping a minimum viable product or service (MVP) that works and is really useful before trying to improve it or deciding on a large-scale deployment of a policy. 

The students were able to apply some of this advice a few hours later by going out to test their sense of observation, questioning and documentation in different places around the Parisian campus of Sciences Po (the Pont des Arts, the Solférino metro, the National Assembly...). The goal was to confront their preconceived notions about a place and its uses with reality and to list some courses of action. This introduction to the methods of immersion provided by Apolline le Gall (lecturer-researcher in social sciences) and Anne Devoret (designer), both lecturers in the program, allowed the students to prepare for the rest of the week during which each group went out independently in “their” field. 

Students discussing with Nassim Merzouk from the JeVeuxAider.gouv.fr project © Léa Douhard

On the second day, the students were able to meet with various actors of the French ecosystem of innovation and public transformation, such as the beta.gouv and Entrepreneurs of General Interest (EIG) communities, as well as designers from the Interministerial Directorate of Public Transformation (DITP) and representatives of public innovation labs (department of Seine-Saint-Denis), who came to illustrate what was already being done within public administrations and communities. 

It was also an opportunity for students to meet Amazon Web Services (AWS), a partner of the program since 2019, and to openly discuss with the teams the role of the cloud in the transformation of public action through various concrete use cases. 


The second part of the immersion week was dedicated to the exploration of the challenge. The 23 groups each went to meet the actors and fields concerned by their problem in order to discover its technical and social environment, its organisational context and to identify the salient issues, tensions or blind spots of the problem.

>"The immersion phase allowed for exciting exchanges. From the very first meeting, the students showed great interest in the subject. They are curious, attentive and full of dynamism to dig into the problem entrusted to them. The FRM's employees and partners involved are delighted with the launch of the project." Maxime Molina (Strategic Development Manager of the Foundation for Medical Research - FRM) 


The group questioning the improvement of the process of social housing applicants observed and interviewed agents and users of the Municipal Housing Service of the city of Saint-Denis; the group reexamining the "museum" object in the context of a project to create a museum of the history of France and Algeria had the opportunity to exchange with Pap Ndiaye, director of the National Museum of the History of Immigration, as well as curators of the MUCEM in Marseille.   

Meanwhile, other students travelled to Lille to meet with local actors and residents and explore the issue of transparency of democratic processes at the territorial level. Others met with foresters from the Office National des Forêts (ONF) in Fontainebleau to discuss the sharing and management of these natural public spaces.

A group of students went to meet the agents of the Direction des transports et de la protection du public (DTPP) of the Préfecture de Police de Paris © Jehna Levine

"This first week of immersion was full of meetings and discoveries. First of all, we discovered our student team and the different profiles that make it up; then we discovered our partner, the DITP, and its behavioural science team; and finally, we discovered our subject and some of the actors (...). Being immersed from the first week in a training programme is completely different from the usual classes and is very enriching as we were immediately put in a position of responsibility and autonomy. It gives the sense that we are truly working on a project with very specific issues and that we are already looking ahead to the end of the semester with a goal to accomplish, which could potentially extend beyond the incubator period." Lucile, Corina, Agrippa, César, Marie and Raykhant, challenge on 'Accessibility of asylum application processes', proposed by the Interdepartmental Directorate for Public Transformation - DITP

The expertise of the Sciences Po community was also mobilised during the week. Researchers from MediaLab, the Sociological Observatory of Change (OSC), the Centre for the Sociology of Organisations (CSO), the CEVIPOF and the PRESAGE program shared their work directly related to some of the challenges by exchanging at length with the students.


The students will continue this immersion phase for a few more weeks through classes led by professional policy makers, on-site visits and independent work sessions. They will then use their observations to imagine several possible solutions to their challenge ("conceptualisation" phase) before questioning and testing them to finally decide which is the most relevant and useful policy to develop in the last phase of "formalisation" of their solution.


  • How to fight against the multiplication of contents in violation of the Evin law and to make the different publics aware of the application of this law? - Association Addictions France
  • How to improve citizen participation in presidential and legislative elections in priority urban policy districts (QPV)? - CEVIPOF & ANCT (National Agency for Territorial Cohesion)
  • How to involve French youth in all its diversity in the European debate? - European Commission
  • How to facilitate the exercise of personal data protection rights by citizens? - National Commission for Information Technology and Civil Liberties (CNIL)
  • How to support children from newly arrived immigrant families who find themselves in the position of caregiver and/or mediator to their parents? - French Red Cross
  • How to make the law intelligible and produce documents that are understandable for vulnerable people? The case of asylum application procedures - Inter-ministerial Directorate of Public Transformation (DITP)
  • How can we fight against disinformation and mistrust of the scientific word by guaranteeing equal access to reliable and quality information? - Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale (Foundation for Medical Research)
  • How to address the shortage of talent in the digital and tech sectors in Europe? - France Digitale
  • How to promote responsible and respectful sexual behavior among youth under 25? -  French Ministry of Solidarity and Health
  • How to limit the environmental impact of a hospital's activities and how to engage it in an eco-responsible approach? - Women's and Children's Unit of the Grand Hôpital de l'Est Francilien (GHEF)
  • How to make democratic processes more accessible and transparent for citizens? - European Metropolis of Lille (MEL)
  • How to fight against gender stereotypes in career guidance? The case of apprenticeship programs before the baccalaureate - Mission Interministérielle pour l'Apprentissage 
  • How to support the development of new collaborative approaches to public governance, such as the public-civic partnerships, to better address the challenges of the 21st century, notably the ecological transition? - OECD/OCDE
  • How to reconcile the visions and practises of the different publics and users (inhabitants, visitors, communities, associations, civil society, public authorities) around the management of public forests? - National Forestry Office (ONF)
  • How can we guarantee equal access to public services for people who are digitally excluded? The case of the services provided by the DTPP - Paris Police Headquarters
  • How can we reduce the greenhouse gases emitted by the mobility of State employees? The case of the eco-responsible public services system - Occitanie Prefecture - SGAR (General Secretariat for Regional Affairs)
  • How can the "museum" object be reexamined in order to develop new forms of cultural mediation and transmission of memory? The case of the project to create a museum of the history of France and Algeria - Presidency of France
  • How can the conditions of access to social housing be made more legible and understandable in order to improve the career paths of social housing applicants? The case of the city of Saint-Denis - City of Saint-Denis

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