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About Michael

Michael's work spans the research and engagement activities of the GO Lab. His research focuses on various efforts to balance trust and autonomy with accountability in various forms of government partnership. This includes the use of formal relational contracts to govern public-private partnerships, and different approaches to accountability in public-public partnership working between different departments and levels of government. Alongside this, he helps to translate a wide range of the GO Lab's research into formats that are digestible for our policy and practice audiences. This includes writing case studies, policy briefings and evidence summaries, producing our weekly policy briefing, and editing the Oxford Government Outcomes Blog.

He joined the GO Lab following his MPhil studies, during which he focused on developing solutions to practical ethical challenges. His dissertation made the case for considerations of justice to be extended to global health inequalities. Michael holds an MPhil in the History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine, and a BA in Natural Sciences, both from the University of Cambridge.

Academic articles

Gibson, M., van Lier, F-A. and Carter, E. (2023). Tracing 25 years of ‘initiativitis’ in central government attempts to join up local public services in England. Policy & Politics.

Gibson, M. (2023). Debate: In contracts, we trust—managing risk in public contracts through a relational approach. Public Money & Management, 43:2, 83-84.

Picker, V., Carter, E., Airoldi, M., Ronicle, J., Wooldridge, R., Llewellyn, J., Monk, L., Stone, S., Gibson, M., Rosenbach, F., Hameed, T., Bregazzi, H., and van Lier, F. (2021). Social Outcomes Contracting (SOC) in Social Programmes and Public Services: A Mixed Methods Systematic Review Protocol. Social Science Protocols, 4, 1-21.


Ball, N. and Gibson, M. (2022). Partnerships with principles: putting relationships at the heart of public contracts for better social outcomes. Government Outcomes Lab, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford.

Carter, E., Gibson, M., Hulse, E. and Whitworth, A. (2022). Written evidence from the Government Outcomes Lab to the Work and Pensions Select Committee Inquiry into the Plan for Jobs and employment support. House of Commons.

Carter, E., Ball, N., Gibson, M. and Romanova, O. (2020). How can the government ensure the effectiveness of the Kickstart scheme? Learning from the evidence. Government Outcomes Lab, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford.


Gibson, M. (2023). Can contracts facilitate trust? Voices - Blavatnik School of Government.

Gibson, M. (2022). Impact 101: What is an outcomes fund? Pioneers Post.

Gibson, M., van Lier, F. and Carter, E. (2022). Joining up services to level up social outcomes. Oxford Government Outcomes Blog.