Skip to main content

Applied Policy Sciences Unit (APSU)

The Applied Policy Science Unit (APSU) is an independent political science research at the University of Central Lancashire.

APSU’s mission is to make an original and independent contribution to policy and its implementation. Under the APSU’s auspices, the University undertakes academic research, consultancy and dissemination in the field of political science with a special focus upon public value management and administration.

In addition to UCLan staff involved in political science research and dissemination, the APSU also involves, as advisors, individuals who are professionally involved in politics, policy and government.

There has been a political science research unit at the Westlakes Science Park in Cumbria for almost three decades. This UCLan unit is building upon and developing that work in governance architectures and institutions, the rescaling of policy and politics and belief and value systems.

This long engagement in applied policy science has given the APSU a distinctive perspective on public value and interactions between citizens and communities in a globalised economy, and in the importance of individual values and beliefs, and community-level interactions in addressing issues confronting contemporary society.

In support of its mission, APSU’s objectives are:

  • to facilitate and undertake applied research into policy problems confronting public, private and social sectors
  • to make an independent and original contribution in the field of applied policy and political sciences
  • to combine rigorous academic enquiry with the insights of experienced policy practitioners
  • to act as a catalyst for the development and implementation of policy
  • to disseminate the results of research through teaching, publications, seminars and conferences

The APSU involves the following individuals whose professional expertise and extensive practical experience embraces the fields of politics, policy and government and academic research and dissemination.

  • Professor Graham Baldwin (Chair of the APSU), Vice Chancellor, UCLan 
  • Dr Rick Wylie (ex officio Executive Director of the APSU), Reader in Applied Policy Science and Samuel Lindow Academic Director, UCLan 
  • Trudy Harrison, MP Member of Parliament for the Copeland constituency 
  • John Stevenson MP, Member of Parliament for the Carlisle constituency 
  • Sir Tony Cunningham DL
  • Professor John Fyfe CBE, International Strategic Development Specialist 
  • Michael Heaslip, Chair of the Samuel Lindow Foundation 
  • Lord Liddle of Carlisle, Co-Chair of Policy Network, London 
  • Dr Patrick Diamond, Co-Chair of Policy Network, London 
  • Jamie Reed, Head of Public Affiars, Sellafield Ltd 
  • Hazel Blears, Former Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government 
  • Sue Hayman, former Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 
  • Professor Andrew Willard, University of Iowa, and President of The Policy Sciences Centre, Inc, USA 
  • Professor Dr Kai-Uwe Schrogl, Chief Strategy Officer, European Space Agency 

PUBLIC VALUE: PEOPLE, PLACES AND POLICIES – Summer/Autumn 2021, Westminster

This one-day conference, being held in Westminster, will be the culmination of work to develop, test and implement an original and robust approach to the definition, measurement, optimisation and recognition of public value and public value management.


This one-day conference, which was originally to be held at the geographical centre of the North West Nuclear Arc in Preston, will virtually bring communities together from across the North West Nuclear Arc – from Wales to West Cumbria – to explore the balance between cooperation and competition for regions seeking to host advanced nuclear facilities as part of their plans for economic development.


This ongoing series of public events focusses on the community perceptions of advanced nuclear technologies in West Cumbria.


This roundtable, organised with London think tank Policy Network, was held in Westminster and built upon the successful Convention in May 2019. The event showcased our research to an audience in the heart of policymaking in the UK but also to outline the practical outcomes of this collaborative work, drawing upon our partner organisations, the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), Sellafield Limited and the European Space Agency (ESA).

RESULTS FOR CITIZENS: The 2019 Westlakes Public Value Convention – 23 -24 May 2019

This two-day convention focused upon results for citizens, comprising of talks and case studies from professionals, policy makers and scholars.

CUMBRIA NUCLEAR CONFERENCE, Hosted by John Stevenson MP – 21 June 2018

The aim of this conference was to showcase the importance of the nuclear industry in Cumbria and to highlight the significant and varied opportunities for investment it offered at that time.


This conference was a response to the 2017 United Nations World Tourism Organisation World Tourism Day, during the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.

ACHIEVING PUBLIC VALUE: A 360 Degree View of Project Management – 1 July 2016

This conference focused upon achieving public value through the design and implementation of complex, large-scale projects and policies, and on the public accountability of these projects and the resolution of complex policy problems which elude simple, straightforward project planning and policy solutions.

GOVERNING MEGA-PROJECTS: Towards Public Value Management – 16 October 2014

Incorporating the Samuel Lindow Foundation’s annual Fyfe Lecture, this conference focused upon the value delivered by large scale ‘Mega-projects’ and explored the crucial link between the realisation of public value and the processes and structures of governance of these projects.

RISK PERCEPTION AND A NEW POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY OF RISK: Oral evidence to the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology – 25 January 2012

The APSU made a written submission to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee in its inquiry into ‘Risk perception and energy infrastructure’ and following that Dr Rick Wylie was invited to give oral evidence to the committee in January 2012.

UCLan announces partnership with the European Space Agency

The University has partnered with the European Space Agency (ESA) to explore factors relating to public value. Work within our Lancashire School of Business and Enterprise and under the auspices of the Applied Policy Science Unit has led to the creation of ESA_LAB@UCLan. Read the full story

The APSU also has memorandums with a range of private and public sector organisations to underpin research collaborations.

For further information please contact:

Reader in Applied Policy Science Executive Director of the Applied Policy Science Unit University of Central Lancashire
07595 590970 01946 517204 
Dr Rick Wylie

  • Forthcoming book on PV
  • Forthcoming pamphlet on PV
  • J Pub Administration paper
  • Policy Network paper
  • Regional Universities book

Risk Perception and a New Political Geography of Risk

Dr Rick Wylie submitted written evidence and was called as a witness to give oral evidence to the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology’s inquiry into nuclear energy. - written and oral evidence

Community Waste Management in Practice

The Applied Policy Sciences made an input into the Community Waste Management in Practice EU Framework Six programme, conducting research into the definition of an affected community, the payment of benefits to host communities, and contributed to EU level guidelines. This project was undertaken under the auspices of Westlakes Scientific Consulting. This project involved extensive fieldwork in West Cumbria and in Caithness.