Home>The School of Public Affairs launches the new edition of the Public Policy Incubator!


The School of Public Affairs launches the new edition of the Public Policy Incubator!

The 4th edition of the Public Policy Incubator of the School of Public Affairs at Sciences Po is launching a new call for challenges open to external partners from the public, private or voluntary sectors who wish to propose common good issues to solve to our students. All contributions have to be submitted by the 24th October. The programme will start in January 2022.

All the details about the call for challenges



The crises and changes facing the world have generated countless economic, social, ecological and democratic problems and preoccupations that are shaking our organizations, established methods, rules and certainties. In this context, how can we reinvent the way public policies are conceived, implemented and evaluated?  As future leaders working within the public sector, the private sector, international and non-governmental organisations, students from the School of public affairs will have to answer this question. 

The Public Policy Incubator program prepares the students to rethink and reframe our practice of, and approach to, public action when they will tackle the crucial issues of our century. By being a partner of the Public Policy Incubator you contribute directly to this pedagogical project, equipping them as thoroughly as possible to become the actors of the necessary changes to come.


During a full semester (january-may 2022)  first year Master students of the School of public affairs will gather in teams of 4-6 to tackle a real-world problem addressing common good issues submitted by our selected partners. Under the guidance of the Public Policy Incubator’s academic advisors and the supervision of professional designers, they will first engage into an “immersion phase” to acclimatize themselves to the challenges and investigate its key aspects. They will then imagine new innovative concrete solutions and draft proposals.

Eventually they will produce demonstrators and prototypes of their solutions. These can take different forms, depending on what seems most relevant to address the challenge and the affected users or citizens: a mobile app, an online platform, a serious game, a print or digital content, a (re)design of a user journey or path, etc. As such, the programme allows students to not only learn theoretical knowledge about design and public innovation but also to put them in practice and cultivate the professional skills needed for their future endeavours.

Without this practical approach and the use of the design method, we wouldn't have really questioned what was needed to improve users' experience and would have stayed too conceptual on our findingsexplained a student enrolled in the 2021 edition.


The last three years, thirty-two partners have entrusted the Public Policy Incubator, submitting fourty-five challenges to over 280 students enrolled at the School of public affairs.

[The Public Policy Incubator allowed us] to take a step back and look at our own problem in a different way with students who are very motivated, ponder without presupposition and bring fresh sets of eyes”, states Albin Heuman, director at the Community Service and Professional Integration Agency (ATIGIP) at the Minister of Justice, regarding its challenge on circular economy as a tool for economic integration in prison.

The Public Policy Incubator is a fully immersive experience that allows students to understand first-hand immensely complex situations and contexts, thus it has become a key moment of their education at Sciences Po.This hands-on experience is "essential to design innovative solutions that are truly relevant and useful" for Chantal Joie-La Marle (head of innovation and Lab SNCF IMPACT within the SNCF Group) who collaborated last year with a group of students to address a challenge around the collection of the traveler’s experience in the Transilien Train stations network. 

The richness of the discussion with on-the-fields agent who are involved and opened is also one of the “key success factors of a challenge” for Valérie Guillaumin, in charge of la Fabrique des CCAS/CIAS at the UNCCAS (National Union of Centers for Social Action). For example, she helped a group of students who was working last year on a challenge about the identification and support of people into precarious social positions to build a special bond with the civil servants of the Center for Social Action (CCAS) of the city of Sarcelles.

Throughout the semester students work in a close relationship with the partners but the pedagogical support and methodological guidance is provided by Sciences Po. Each group project is mentored weekly by a professional designer called a “coach”.

We had regular meetings with the students in order to help them navigate our critical strategic issues meanwhile the coach brought them methodological guidance and helped them to work together as a team; both approaches were very complimentary” summarizes very well Juliette d’Angelo, project manager at the Education department of the Banque des Territoires who challenged students on the subject of digital inclusion to fight early drop-out in middle-school.


For this 4th edition the Public Policy Incubator is looking for challenges proposed by partners from the public, private or voluntary sectors that relate to the following common good issues:

  • Fight against discrimination and inequality
  • Defend human rights and guarantee a decent standard of living
  • Promote sustainability and combat climate change 
  • Ensure territorial cohesion 
  • Tackle new demands regarding governance and democracy
  • Improve public services and support the transformation of public action
  • Transform the way we live for a more responsible production and consumption

The challenge(s) that is submitted can also be related to other thematic issues such as health, security, justice, education, agriculture, media, etc.

To propose a challenge you first have to fill out the application form. Then a more thorough chat will allow our team to answer any questions you would have about the programme as well as to build more precisely the challenge.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact the team: Léa Douhard or Leïla Nciri.

Submit a challenge


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