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How to Start a Policy Brief: SSI Conducts First Bridge-the-Gap Practicum Workshop for Junior Fellows

December 3, 2015

Dr. Kristian Ulrichsen, Senior Principal Fellow of the Space Security Initiative (SSI), led the first Practicum Workshop for the Junior Fellows.

A specialist in Middle Eastern political economy and a Fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, Dr. Ulrichsen suggested a template for first-time policy brief writers.

Using his own background and extensive experience, he pointed out that the policy brief should start with a concise first paragraph that connects to a recent event (i.e. some event the brief is responding to in the real world). It should then, he said, be followed up by a paragraph that presents the core claims, predictions, and arguments of the brief (i.e. some expectation the brief sees as coming down the pipeline).

The SSI Junior Fellows went around the table and presented the core focus of their drafts. Dr. Ulrichsen offered comments and critiques on each of the drafts and suggested possible ways to improve the starting paragraphs of the drafts so that they could better speak to a policy audience.

This publication was made possible in part by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York. The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the author.