Executive Team

Executive Team

Ryan Shorthouse

Director

Ryan is the Founder and Chief Executive of Bright Blue. He founded the organisation in 2010 at the age of 24 and finally became the full-time Director at the start of 2014. Ryan is an expert on education and social policy and a political commentator. He regularly appears on national TV and radio, appearing on the Daily Politics Show, Newsnight, BBC News, Channel 4 News, Sky News, Radio 4, Radio 5 and LBC Radio. He provides frequent analysis for national newspapers and magazines, writing for The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent, The Daily Mail, The Observer, The Spectator, The New Statesman and Prospect Magazine.

Ryan was previously a Research Fellow for the think tank the Social Market Foundation and was part of the team that won Prospect Magazine’s Think Tank of the Year in 2012. At the SMF, he authored ten research papers and designed innovative policies on childcare, welfare, public service reform, higher education and health. He has provided regular analysis and policies to various Ministers and government departments,  with many ideas adopted by the Government. Prior to 2010, he was a researcher for Rt Hon David Willetts MP when he was Shadow Education Secretary, where he authored the Conservative Party’s Childhood Review, and an adviser to the Conservative Party on families and education, formulating party policy and managing media relations. He was the Political Secretary of the Bow Group, a centre-right think tank.

Ryan is a Visiting Fellow of King's College London. He is a trustee of the Young Women's Trust, and was previously a trustee for the Family and Childcare Trust and the Daycare Trust. He sits on the advisory council of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and the University of Bath Institute for Policy Research. He is a mentor for the Social Mobility Foundation and a governor of a new secondary school in East London.

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Sam Hall

Senior Researcher

Sam Hall is a Senior Researcher at Bright Blue and leads our work on green conservatism. His main policy interests are the environment, housing, and transport. At Bright Blue, he has authored two reports on incentivising home energy improvements and on understanding what conservatives think about the environment. Sam has written for Conservative Home, Business Green, The Times, Yorkshire Post, Huffington Post, The Independent, and Reaction Life. 

Before joining Bright Blue, Sam worked as a Parliamentary Assistant to a Conservative MP, where he focused on energy and rural issues. Sam was educated at the University of Oxford, studying for both a BA and Master’s degree in Classics.

Outside work, Sam is active in his local Conservative Association in Bethnal Green and Bow, where he sits on the Executive Committee. 

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Laura Round

Communications Manager

Laura Round is our Communications Manager. Prior to joining Bright Blue, she was a Senior Parliamentary Assistant in the House of Commons and worked for Britain Stronger In Europe as national press officer. Whilst living in California, Laura worked for US Congresswoman Lois Capps during the 2010 midterm elections.

Laura has studied in the Netherlands, Kosovo and the United States. She holds a Master's degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics.

Outside work, Laura campaigns for her local Conservative Association in Kensington and Chelsea and is Chair of Norland Conservatives.

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James Dobson

Researcher

James Dobson is a Researcher at Bright Blue. His interests lie in higher education, schools, immigration and social capital. He has previously published a report that examined cohesion and migration in the UK with the Adam Smith Institute. The report appeared in City AM, the Yorkshire Post and ConservativeHome. He also published an opinion piece on this subject for ConservativeHome. 

James is a graduate of the University of Bath where he studied for a BSc in the Social Sciences. 

James also holds an interest in International Development and volunteers with the charity Evidence for Development where he assists with the production of high-quality research. 

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Fiona Smith

Events and Administration Officer

Fiona Smith is our Events & Administration Officer. Prior to joining Bright Blue, she interned at Liberty, and worked at the market research agency Survation and think tank Policy Network. 

Fiona studied at the University of Essex, and on graduation joined Essex Police. She has served in the Royal Air Force as a commissioned officer, and lived in Japan working as an English instructor. 

Outside of work she sings with a choir, enjoys skiing regularly and makes use of her pilot licence when she can. 

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Michael Hough

Research Assistant

Michael Hough is a Research Assistant at Bright Blue. His main policy interests lie in integration, immigration and citizenship as well as Foreign Policy. Before joining Bright Blue Michael worked at British Future where he co-authored a report looking at attitudes to the Centenary of the First World War.

Michael is a graduate from the University of Manchester where he gained a degree in Modern History and Politics. Outside of work Michael is a keen reader of all things political and also enjoys sport being a keen football and cricket supporter and is manager of his local church football team.

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Neil Reilly

Research Assistant

Neil Reilly is a Research Assistant at Bright Blue. His main policy interests lie in international trade, tax policy, international relations, and he has a keen interest in the Brexit process. Neil studies at Harvard University, where he focuses on electoral politics, international relations, and trade.

He’s the Vice President of Harvard’s International Relations Council, and has worked on several elections, both in the US and UK. Outside of work and study, Neil likes to think he’s a good chef, is a keen reader, and enjoys hiking through the countryside in his native Northern Ireland.

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