Our team

Our core team are experts in innovation, entrepreneurship, productivity and business growth policy, with backgrounds in government and academia. We are experienced in working with government agencies and organisations aiming to become more experimental and data-driven, and have strong networks with policy and research communities.

Albert Bravo-Biosca

Albert is the founding director at the Innovation Growth Lab (IGL).

Since joining Nesta in 2007, his work has been at the intersection of innovation, growth and finance. 

Prior to setting up the Innovation Growth Lab, he was senior economist and led two of Nesta’s major research programmes in this area, one exploring business growth dynamics and its drivers in the UK and internationally, the other examining the contribution of intangible assets to productivity growth.

Among others, his research has also looked at the drivers of venture capital performance, the linkages between financial institutions and innovative performance, and the effectiveness of innovation policy.

Albert holds a PhD and AM in Economics from Harvard University, an MSc in Economics from the London School of Economics, and a BA in Economics from Universitat Pompeu Fabra. He is Research Fellow at the Barcelona School of Economics and Visiting Fellow at the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard. He has also been visiting economist at the OECD, consultant for the World Bank and member of the UK Cross-Government Trials Advice Panel.


David Ampudia

David is a Data Scientist at the Innovation Growth Lab (IGL).

His role at the Lab focuses on helping grow the team’s capability for using data analysis and statistics to uncover and pursue opportunities to improve the effectiveness and equity of innovation and business policy.

Prior to joining the IGL in 2022, David worked as a Research Fellow at the Data Center of the Barcelona School of Economics (BSE). His work involved the development of state-of-the-art sequential decision-making algorithms, with a particular focus on Bayesian Optimization and multi-armed bandits. He also contributed to multiple political economy projects, helping develop and implement improved methodologies using novel data sources and techniques. As a member of the Center, David has taught text-based deep learning courses at the Summer School of the BSE for several years now. Before this, David worked as an economic consultant for FocusEconomics, a macroeconomic research and forecasting institute.

David holds a one-year MSc in Data Science Methodology from the Barcelona School of Economics, and a two-year MRes in Analysis and Policy in Economics at the Paris School of Economics. He also has a BA in International Economics from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra.

Maria Brackin

Maria is a Researcher at the Innovation Growth Lab (IGL).

Her role focuses on evaluating the outcomes of past programmes in support of small and medium-sized businesses in the UK, using experimental and quasi-experimental methods.

Prior to joining IGL, Maria conducted research for her PhD in behavioural science at the École Normale Supérieure (PSL) and Mohammed VI Polytechnic University, with a focus on the role of social cognition in credit use and adoption of financial technologies. Alongside her research, Maria consulted for a J-PAL team running a microcredit randomised controlled trial in Morocco, and designed a program evaluation framework for an impact investment company. She has also worked as an investment administrator for VCT fund managers Amati Global Investors, and as a visiting lecturer in data science, teaching programming and statistics for public policy.

Maria holds an MPP from the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy at the University of Erfurt, an MSc in Philosophy from the University of Edinburgh, and a BA in Philosophy from Northwestern University

Hugo Cuello

Hugo is the Senior Policy Analyst at the Innovation Growth Lab (IGL). 

Hugo has worked since 2018 in the intersection between the Research and the Policy teams at IGL, supporting policymakers in the early stages of policy development and helping them decide where to introduce experimentation to increase the impact of entrepreneurship and business support programmes. He leads successful projects and publications to promote experimentation and supports the design, implementation and evaluation of several government programmes across OECD countries. 

Before joining Nesta, Hugo was a policy evaluation advisor for the Costa Rican government. He also evaluated employment and entrepreneurship programs for the German Development Agency (GIZ) in Central America and worked with various research institutes and consultancies in Europe and Southeast Asia. He holds a BA in Political Science and a Master of Public Policy (MPP) at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. In 2020, he was included in the Santander-CIDOB “35 under 35 List” for his leadership in policy innovation and transformation in Europe.


Teo Firpo

Teo Firpo is a Senior Researcher at the Innovation Growth Lab (IGL). 

His role focuses on using experimental methods to help innovation agencies and other public organisations test new or improved programmes. He leads IGL’s work on using experiments to make the funding of science and innovation more efficient, effective and fairer.

Teo also holds a position as Research Associate at the Einstein Center Digital Future in Berlin, where he studies the adoption of digital technologies and the impact of digitalisation on the labour market in a project funded by the German developed agency.  

He is a PhD candidate in economics at Humboldt University in Berlin. He holds a master’s in Economics and Public Policy and a BA in Social Science from Sciences Po Paris, and a PgCert in Econometrics from Birkbeck, University of London.


Rob Fuller

Rob is the Evaluation Manager at the Innovation Growth Lab.

He is responsible for working with project teams, funders and researchers to deliver high-quality evaluations that can be used to inform policy decisions.

Prior to joining Nesta, Rob worked on randomised controlled trials and quasi-experimental impact evaluations in the international development field. Most recently he worked with an impact investor, AgDevCo, managing the monitoring and evaluation activities of a programme providing support to agricultural SMEs in sub-Saharan Africa. Rob has an MSc in Economics from the University of Edinburgh and a BSc in Mathematics and Statistics from Birkbeck, University of London.


Sara Garcia Arteagoitia

Sara García Arteagoitia joined IGL as a Senior Researcher in 2022. In her role, she helps identify experimental research opportunities with our global government partners and bring them to fruition.

Before joining IGL, Sara worked as a consultant and instructor in behavioural design with private companies and government agencies in Spain and Latin America, helping them improve their structures and programmes to achieve higher impact. Prior to that, she was the Senior Assistant Director of the Center for Decision Research at the University of Chicago, where she worked on developing partnerships and research structures to propel and promulgate experimental behavioural research.

She started her career in experimental research as a research assistant for different projects at the University of Chicago and the Max-Planck Institute for Collective Goods. Sara holds a BA in Political Science and a MA in Political Psychology from the University of Heidelberg, Germany.


Layla Gemmell

Layla is Operations Manager at the Innovation Growth Lab (IGL).

Layla joined IGL in 2020 and her role both contributes to the strategy and development of the team's portfolio of work and ensures smooth business functioning within the team. She manages the day-to-day IGL operations ensuring that they are as effective and efficient as they can be. Layla joined Nesta in 2011 and has extensive operational experience managing interconnected projects, creating and managing budgets, and developing and streamlining processes.

In previous roles at Nesta, Layla managed the operations of the Innovation Skills team, which provided content, learning experiences, and strategic support to improve and embed innovation skills. She also supported the Creative Economy Team with the delivery of innovation programmes.


Alex Glennie

Alex is the Head of Policy Engagement and Learning at the Innovation Growth Lab (IGL).

She leads engagement work with IGL's international network of innovation policymakers, supporting them to embed experimentation practices in how they work and facilitating learning opportunities between them. Current projects include a comparative study of more than 40 innovation agencies across Europe and Latin America in partnership with the TAFTIE network and the Inter-American Development Bank, and management of stakeholder engagement activities within a major EU project on engaging citizens in the work of research and innovation funding organisations.

Before joining IGL in 2020, Alex held a number of different roles at Nesta, conducting research on inclusive innovation policies, and working with government innovation agencies around the world on strategy development. Prior to this, she worked at the Institute for Public Policy Research and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, managing research and policy projects relating to migration, international development, integration and diversity. She is an accredited coach, and works with individuals and teams on leadership development. She is also co-author of Inclusive Innovation (2022) a title in the Routledge Studies in Innovation, Organizations and Technology series. 


Yan Yan Leung

Yan Yan is Team Assistant at the Innovation Growth Lab (IGL).

In her role, she supports the operational management of the team.

Prior to joining Nesta, she worked for many years in higher education in a wide variety of roles including administration, human resources and teaching. Most recently, she worked as a Programme Facilitator on the Help to Grow: Management programme at Kingston University’s Business School. Yan Yan studied Philosophy and World Religions as an undergraduate at McGill University, and holds an MA in Medical Law and Ethics from King’s College, University of London.