This week on “Meet the Team”, we meet the Policy Manager for the Hub, Andrew Basu-McGowan. Andrew took the time to outline his duties with the Hub, as well as telling us a bit more about himself.

Who am I? What does a Policy Manager do?

My name is Andrew Basu-McGowan, and I am Policy Manager for the Smart Specialisation Hub.

As the Smart Specialisation Hub’s Policy Manager, I lead on engagement with universities, clearly articulating the role they can play in driving innovation collaboration in their regions, and facilitating, convening and generally easing the collaborative process by any means possible.

I also take charge of policy relationships and dependencies which arise from Smart Specialisation and place-based innovation. This includes working with government, Smart Specialisation experts, our funders and other agencies.

Recent activities

Recently, I have been analysing the government’s devolution agenda, and assessing and mitigating the potential impact of the referendum to leave the European Union on innovation and place.

How did I get involved?

Being that I'm 6'2", you may come to the correct conclusion that this is a very tall cactus.
Being that I’m 6’2″, you may come to the correct conclusion that this is a very tall cactus.

Prior to taking up this position, I spent seven and a half years as a civil servant.

I started out as a private secretary to Cabinet-level Ministers under two administrations, before moving on to work with alternative sources of finance for small and medium sized businesses. This included:

  • Peer to peer lending,
  • Research collaboration at EU level and beyond, and
  • Local and European innovation policy.

My last role in government was to work on Smart Specialisation policy, strategy and governance. I then had the opportunity to use the experience and relationships I’d built to work directly on implementation and delivery with the Hub, so of course I was keen to be involved.

I believe Smart Specialisation can be a powerful tool in the hands of a connected and agile region. Devolution marks a fundamental and ongoing shift in footing, particularly in the sphere of innovation investment.

More than ever, it’s vitally important that local areas are able to clearly articulate their strengths in order to attract public and private funding and compete at global level. Smart Specialisation provides a tested, off-the-peg approach to do exactly that.

More about me

I grew up in a largely non-rural part of Dorset and, perhaps predictably, I have a degree in politics from the University of Warwick.

Away from the office and the regular carousel of meetings (and, I suspect, in common with the rest of humanity), I like doing some things. These are, in no particular order:

  • Cooking (for relaxing, practical and educational purposes),
  • Travel (in 2015 a friend and I drove across the continental US from coast to coast),
  • Watching sport, particularly football (including jaunts to Italy, Germany and elsewhere),
  • Reading modern literature when I have the time, and
  • Cramming in as much live comedy as my schedule permits.

I am also currently labouring to add to the 30 words of elementary Bengali I’ve been gamely taught by my mother in law; one reaches a point being able to ask for a cauliflower or announce that it’s raining doesn’t quite cut it when wandering the streets of Kolkata. I’m also vainly trying to improve my basic French, German and Italian.

About the author

Andrew Basu-McGowan is the Policy Manager for the Smart Specialisation Hub, a role he assumed in April 2016. Andrew’s chief focus is on forging the collaborations and policy links that drive connected localities and regions, and promoting the role of universities in building diverse and resilient economies.

Leave a Reply