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The University of Southampton
Public Policy|Southampton

Meet the team

Public Policy|Southampton ensures the smooth delivery of the CSaP fellowships programme, impact capacity training and provides specialist policy support to researchers pathways to impact. Utilising the various skills within the team we build and maintain strategic partnerships with local, national and international policymakers through bespoke event management, social media campaigns, policy brief development and training for policymakers. Our core aim is to 'change the world for the better' by engaging policymakers with evidence produced at the University of Southampton.

If you are a policymaker searching for evidence or a researcher with policy relevant evidence we can help you.

Gareth Giles
Gareth Giles

Gareth Giles, Head of Public Policy|Southampton

Giles (as he is known to all) brings more than a decade’s worth of experience working between central and local government and the higher education sector. In his current role is responsible for the strategic direction of PPS, financial sustainability of the team and internal and external stakeholder management. Giles is currently working on policy engagement culture change within the University specifically focusing on developing mechanisms that support and celebrate the successes of our diverse range of world leading Early Career Researchers.

Most likely to say: ‘and all that good stuff’.

Biggest fan of: the (home) office plants.

+44 (0)23 8059 8981

+44 (0)7557663644

Contact Giles


Yaryna Basystyuk
Yaryna Basystyuk

Yaryna Basystyuk, Policy Engagement Manager

Yaryna brings extensive experience of knowledge exchange between HEIs and the private sector, State government and the United Nations from her time in the United States.  In her current role within PPS, she oversees our Policy|Placement programme with national and local government, manages Cambridge Science and Policy (CSaP) fellowship scheme, and leads on engagement with Universities COP26 Network. Yaryna is currently developing and implementing our Policy|Associate Pool programme to offer enhanced insight to principle investigators and exposure to policy for PhD and post-doctoral researchers at the University.

Most likely to say: ‘so we shall see…’.

Biggest fan of: the coast, and everything in and around the water.

+44 (0)23 8059 5466

Contact Yaryna


Aiysha Qureshi
Aiysha Qureshi

Aiysha Qureshi, Policy Officer and Communications Lead

With a background in advocacy and campaigns, Aiysha brings a unique perspective on impact, having focussed her energies towards driving all manners of change at a local, institutional and national level. Her Masters in Global Health and Development lent significant insight into evidence based policy and left her keen to be an innovator in the field. Her current role within PPS includes supporting academics by enhancing the policy impact of their research projects and overall coordination of internal and external communications (website, social media, video production, policy blogs, flyers etc.).

Most likely to say: 'I'm popping the kettle on'

Biggest fan of: thrifting and crafting (cuppa in hand)

Contact Aiysha


Wassim Dbouk
Wassim Dbouk

Wassim Dbouk, Marine and Maritime Policy and Research Fellow

Following his PhD in Marine Environmental Law, and in combination with his diverse past work experience in the private, public, legal and research sectors, most notably with the Lebanese Parliament, Wassim brings a broad, flexible skillset and an astute understanding of the interaction between research, law and policy. Thanks to his academic background, Wassim has been involved in several wide-ranging research projects, during which he collected and analysed data, and presented his research outcomes to the relevant stakeholders. In addition, he is responsible for the scanning, drafting and submission of academic responses to government consultations and Parliamentary Inquires. In his current role as Marine and Maritime Policy and Research Fellow he specialises in creating and delivering policy engagement opportunities for researchers within the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute (SMMI) and in translating their research outcomes into policy-informing evidence. He is currently involved in a multi-disciplinary research project as part of the Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre (IDRIC), where he is researching the legal and regulatory aspects of the transport of CO2 to support the implementation of the Government’s Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) plans.

Most likely to say: ‘wouldn’t raise an eyebrow in Lebanon’.

Biggest fan of: conscious living and cats.

Contact Wassim


Liana Pountney
Liana Pountney

Liana Pountney, Policy Officer

Recently graduating from the University of Southampton in Geography with International Relations, Liana is a Policy Officer, having been previously a DCO at PPS. She is responsible for overseeing the DOI process for PPS outputs, as well as scanning for government consultations and parliamentary inquiries along with Wassim. Liana works widely with the whole team to provide support and assist with ad hoc projects, especially those around her personal interest areas, such as human geographical inequalities, geopolitics and levelling up. She has provided additional support with the policy associate scheme around recruitment and continues to liaise with the internal team and external stakeholders to organise meetings and events. Having worked previously as a DCO, she brings a diverse range of skills around communications within the policy landscape, as well as growing experience in knowledge brokerage in higher education.

Most likely to say: Sounds good

Biggest fan of: Margaret Atwood books and all things cheerleading

Contact Liana


Chandni Maria Jacob
Chandni Maria Jacob

Chandni Maria Jacob, Specialist Policy Officer (Environment and Life Sciences)

With a background in clinical medicine and public health, Chandni has worked with multiple international organisations to support the development of health policy and clinical guidelines. Her PhD and research have focused on the implementation of a life-course approach in policy and adopting a person-centred approach in clinical care. She has vast experience in the science-policy interface and evidence-informed policymaking having led multiple projects to develop recommendations for international organisations that support policymakers. These include writing policy analyses, reviews and white papers for the World Health Organisation, International Federation of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians, UNICEF and Royal Colleges. She has also supported policy engagement activities for advocacy networks such as the Preconception Partnership and delivered workshops on knowledge translation for researchers. In her current role, she has a keen interest in connecting researchers with policy audiences and providing support for identifying and developing policy-relevant outputs (policy briefs, written and oral evidence etc.) for principal investigators.

Most likely to say: Sure, why not

Biggest fan of: Dogs, travel and baking

Contact Chandni


Helen Ballem
Helen Ballem

Helen Ballem, Departmental Administrator

Helen’s extensive experience of being a Departmental Administrator at the University of Southampton for more than 15 years, has given her a great insight on how the mechanisms work and how she can best provide assistance to colleagues. In addition to her other responsibilities within RIS, Helen is currently assisting PPS in keeping the Policy Projects Database up to date and producing monthly analytics which allows PPS to plan ahead and manage their work more efficiently. Her remit includes to get in contact with the principal investigators of each policy project and get the latest update, to liaise with the other members of the PPS team in finding suitable times for meetings with academics and to alert the team whenever a research project ‘s proposal becomes successful.

Most likely to say: ‘OK, cool’

Biggest fan of: F.R.I.E.N.D.S (TV series)

Contact Helen


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