“Let’s discover the Project Consortium” is a blog series where we introduce the people behind ToBe.

Today we have reached out to the European Policy Centre (EPC). Launched in 1996, the EPC is an independent think tank based in Brussels, Belgium. Their goal is to achieve European integration through analysis and debate, supporting and challenging decision-makers at all levels to make informed decisions based on evidence and analysis, and providing a platform for engaging partners, stakeholders and citizens in EU policy-making and in the debate around the future of Europe.

Working on ToBe from the ECP, Laura Rayner answered a few questions regarding the organisation and her expectations and hopes for the project.

When asked about the EPC’s involvement in Sustainable Wellbeing and in ToBe, Laura highlighter the ECP’s Well-being Economy Policy Lab, which “pursues a crossutting programme of work accross the EU’s well-being economy policy agenda to analyse how the EU can develop and implement policies leading to a more equitable, socially inclusive and regenerative well-being economy”. It serves as a platform for mutual learning and support for collaboration and innovation in well-being policies, also acting as a “lab” that gathers policy expertise and analysis, and stimulates debates that develop “test ideas for innovative policy solution”. It also brings on “examples of best practices from different levels of governance” such as “the Group of Well-being Economy Governments comprising Scotland, Iceland, New Zealand, Wales, and Finland”. In the ToBe project, the EPC’s Well-being Economy Policy Lab is responsible for “co-creating policy recommendations with various stakeholders based on the project’s academic research”. 

Laura is most excited to get fist-hand insight into the work of the project’s researchers: “Building on a number of existing alternative growth initiatives, it will be extremely interesting as well as important to understand what the key drivers and barriers to implementation are and what the impact on social and environmental outcomes may be.”.

However, when it comes to the project’s challenges, Laura believes it will be complicated to “take the ground-breaking academic research and transform it into actionable policy recommendations which are then taken up and implemented by politicians and policymakers across Europe”.

On a more personal note, Laura mentions that, her being a resident in Malawi, she is looking forward to seeing the research touching cases in Africa and achievements of the Sustainable Development Goals. Also, if she were to switch roles with another member of ToBe, she would with “Dr Milena Buchs– because who wouldn’t? And also because her research on alternative growth initiatives looking at drivers, barriers and impact will be vital for formulating policy recommendations which have a chance of adoption. If policymakers can understand the potential positive impact such transformative change may have, half the battle is already won”.

We cannot wait to see what the EPC team and the Well-being Economy Policy Lab bring to ToBe!