Public Policy Incubator

The Public Policy Incubator is an innovative educational program designed to train students to creatively and collaboratively solve real-world public policy problems.

How can we design and implement public policy systems that can significantly improve the lives of citizens and meet the real needs of the publics they serve?

As future actors of the common good, this is the type of question that students must be prepared to answer. Thanks to the mobilization of external partners (public, private, associations) who offer students the opportunity to work on real public interest issues, this program allows them to meet the public and their needs in the field and to acquire solid professional skills.

Coached by design teachers, students develop a concrete, tangible and testable solution to the challenge proposed by the partner. They are free to define the form of this solution, which can take a variety of forms depending on what seems most relevant to the real needs observed in the field. For example, they can prototype a mobile application, a web platform, a serious game, a simulator, a space model, a process and user path redefinition, a paper booklet, a podcast, a data visualization, a campaign on social networks, etc.  

How does it work? 

The Public Policy Incubator is a program for first-year Master's students and takes place during the second semester (January-May). The program gives students the opportunity to put theoretical learning into practice: divided into small groups (4 to 6 people) and supervised by design teachers, students work throughout the semester on general interest issues, called "challenges", proposed by external partners.

Throughout the process, students benefit from weekly theoretical and practical classes on design methods and public innovation, as well as the personalized support of a coach and the patronage of technical skills for the prototyping of a concrete solution.


The originality of this program lies in the methodology used, which results from public policy design, a field of action and reflection that was structured in France in the early 2000s, notably around "La 27ème Région". 

Given the increasing complexity of contemporary issues, both technical (digital transition, development of Internet uses) and societal (change in citizens' posture, relationship to information), public action must renew the form of its responses. Through its ability to articulate a point of view (a problem, a vision) and the formalization of concrete measures, design is one of the approaches that can renew the forms of public action, particularly by questioning its uses and its concrete experience for its users and employees. 

More and more public actors are experimenting with the contributions of design to rethink the way public action is conceived and deployed by introducing: 

  • new ways of looking at things: for example, focusing on the "user" and "experience"
  • new ways of working: for example, the organization on a "project " basis, the integration of users in the design of systems ("co-design", "participative design")
  • new design methods: for example, the "prototyping" of systems to test public policies before their general deployment (experiments, pilots, etc.)



The Public Policy Incubator is one of the programs that form the DNA of the School of Public Affairs' educational project. Each year, more than 100 students acquire the skills that will enable them to invent new types of public policies in their future positions, in line with the real needs of citizens and climate issues. 

To continue the development of this innovative and ambitious educational program, we need support. 

If you would like to contribute to the development of this project through sponsorship, a grant or any other form that would best suit your organization and discuss the formats for valuing this support, you can contact: 


Library of projects

Discover the projects realized in the previous editions of the program. This library is likely to develop in the coming months. 

You can explore the details of the projects by clicking on the “card” dedicated to the project. You can also use the “filter” function to explore the thematics which are the most relevant for you.

With the support of

The McCourt Institute, launched with founding partners Sciences Po in Paris and Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., aims to ensure that digital governance is prioritized in the development of new technology and embedded in the next generation of the web. The Institute was established in 2021 with a $75 million initial investment, and aims to enhance digital governance by supporting timely, actionable research on ethical technology and serving as a meeting ground for technologists, social scientists, policymakers and governance experts, and leaders from the public and private sector. Together, these interdisciplinary partners will create a framework for online activity and growth that supports innovation and focuses on technology for the common good. The Institute supports the goals of Project Liberty, a visionary initiative to transform how the internet works, create a more equitable digital economy, and develop a new civic architecture for the digital world.

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