Ryan is a writer, thinker, speaker and entrepreneur. He was named as ‘One to watch’ in 2015 by The Observer.
Ryan is the Founder and Chief Executive of Bright Blue, an independent think tank for liberal conservatism. He became the Chief Executive in 2014. Under his leadership, Bright Blue has grown significantly in size, reputation and impact. The organisation has been shortlisted for the 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 UK social policy think tank of the year and UK environment and energy think tank of the year in the prestigious annual Prospect Magazine awards.
Ryan’s research focuses on education and social policy. Many of his policy ideas have been adopted by the UK Government over the past decade. He appears regularly in the national press and broadcast media, appearing on Newsnight, BBC News, Sky News, Channel 4 News, Radio 4, and LBC Radio, and in The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Times, Evening Standard, The Daily Mail, The Spectator, and The New Statesman.
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 numerous research papers and designed innovative policies on childcare, welfare, public service reform, higher education and health.
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 has also previously been the editor of three political magazines: Crossbow, The Progressive Conscience and Centre Write.
Ryan is a Senior Visiting Fellow at King’s College London. He is a trustee of the Early Intervention Foundation and Transforming Access and Student Outcomes in Higher Education (TASO), and was previously a trustee for the Young Women’s Trust (2014-2019) and the Daycare Trust (2010-2015). He sits on the advisory council of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, the University of Bath Institute for Policy Research and Shelter’s Big Conversation on Social Housing. He is a mentor for the Social Mobility Foundation and a governor of a new secondary school in East London.