Posted 30/11/2021 10:43 by - Kate Smith and Briony McDonagh
In a ground-breaking Knowledge Exchange collaboration between academics and young creatives, researchers from the University of Hull have been working with the National Youth Theatre to create a powerful, site-specific response to the climate crisis for COP26.
Posted 23/11/2021 10:45 by - Rich Pickford
How do you get colleagues to recognise their broad skills and knowledge based and to translate it beyond academia?
Posted 16/11/2021 11:58 by - Dr Sinéad Furey
Against a backdrop of escalating food insecurity in the United Kingdom, my research policy engagement work has strategically positioned me to advocate effectively and meaningfully for those experts by experience, enduring food insecurity in Northern Ireland, who have entrusted me to represent their voice.
Posted 09/11/2021 15:51 by - Phil Ward
Before we engage actively with policymakers and politicians, we need to understand our own position. What’s our starting point? How have contemporary issues and events affected our work? What policies are needed to ameliorate the bad and reinforce the good?
Posted 26/10/2021 13:37 by - Susie Crossman and Tara Tancred
At the onset of a research project or programme, engaging with policymakers can be a daunting challenge. But careful planning at the research proposal writing stage and nourishing strategic partnerships can make engagement with policymakers the foundation for achieving impact. After all, policymaker buy-in and knowledge is essential for promoting sustainability and embedding the intervention.
Posted 19/10/2021 13:57 by - Dr Marie Claire Brisbois
The 26th annual United Nations Climate Change Conference starts in less than ten days. Each COP is an opportunity for world leaders to come together to jointly address climate change. Dr Marie Claire Brisbois, an expert in energy policy, discusses whether, despite 50 years of academic research highlighting climate change problems, the moment for change is now.
Posted 12/10/2021 10:40 by - Nishan Canagarajah
Professor Nishan Canagarajah explains why it is vital to drive forward EDI initiatives in HE in order to influence change both outside and within universities.
Posted 07/10/2021 15:13 by - John Boswell & Gareth Giles
Dr John Boswell and Gareth Giles from the University of Southampton explore the role of the 'boundary spanner' in academic policy engagement.
Teaching students how to influence policy and engage with stakeholders at Canterbury Christ Church University
Posted 05/10/2021 10:57 by - Dr Susan Kenyon
UPEN is doing valuable work in opening up policymaking to academics. In Politics and International Relations at Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU), we are working to open up policymaking to students.
Posted 28/09/2021 10:14 by - Lisa Hodgson
Read Lisa's journey as she tries to understand the complex issues around the diversity in contributions to public policy initiatives and the importance of Parliaments and Governments in hearing from more diverse voices to better represent a wider range of views and population. How she has learnt that more needs to be done and how this is not just an issue for public policy engagement.
Evidence and learning for development impact – what works? K4D: a model for effective evidence and learning
Posted 22/09/2021 09:28 by - Joanna Howard, Paul Knipe, Neringa Collier and Kerry Millington
The UK Aid sector has faced unprecedented challenges over the last 18 months due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, reduction in funding, and shake up of the politics and policy driving development. Constant throughout all the debates and changes has been the importance of quality evidence and learning to enhance development impact. But how can this take place in an organisation such as the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)? Put simply, what works?
Posted 18/08/2021 10:06 by - David Best
People recover from even the most horrendous addictions. And we now understand the process of how they do it. CHIME – (positive) Connections generate Hope that creates a virtuous circle of a new and valued Identity that leads to engagement in Meaningful activities and a sense of Empowerment. Since 2010, this has been recognised in policy but translating that recognition to action has been much more challenging.
Posted 18/08/2021 09:43 by - Sean O'Connor
The former Head of Global Projects and Policy at Queen Mary University of London reflects on a career in academic-policy engagement and the benefits of avoiding 'group think'
Posted 03/08/2021 10:24 by - Jenny Bird
How can policy intermediaries help researchers to take a more strategic approach to policy engagement? Jenny Bird shares one idea that might help avoid a one-size-fits-all approach to policy engagement.
Posted 26/07/2021 15:03 by - Nathalie Goodsir and Simon Russell
The levelling-up agenda is central to current government policy. This blog considers how researchers can make the most of this.
Probing the Patchwork of Welfare Services in Scotland: The Experience as Specialist Advisors to a UK Parliamentary Committee
Posted 23/07/2021 12:52 by - Dr Hayley Bennett and Dr Sarah Weakly
In this blog Dr Hayley Bennett (University of Edinburgh) and Dr Sarah Weakley (University of Glasgow and Policy Scotland), reflect on their work supporting a Parliamentary inquiry into multi-level ‘welfare’, including identifying evidence, unpicking complexity, and developing recommendations.
Posted 16/07/2021 10:59 by - Phil McGowan
Conservation of biodiversity is one of the most prominent issues of our age. A major UN report published in September considered that humanity was at a crossroads in our relationship with nature, and that a transformational change is needed to ensure a safe and healthy planet.
Posted 16/07/2021 10:20 by - Philip Catney
Universities need to remember that the projects that they develop are not just demonstrating that projects are feasible at a technical or economic scale but are sensitive to the needs of the communities that these developments serve and ensure that are socially inclusive.
Posted 06/07/2021 16:45 by - Liz Fawcett
Efforts are being made at Westminster to open up the UK Parliament to a wider range of public voices, including a more representative selection of academic researchers. So what can universities and Parliament do to encourage a more diverse range of academics to engage? UPEN decided to carry out a survey of university academics and researchers to find out.
Posted 23/06/2021 08:15 by - Ben Coleman, Chris Wyatt and Jo Mills
At the University of Wolverhampton, we are passionate about making a positive impact on our students, our local community and beyond.
Welsh Parliament Academic Fellowship: influencing policy to support post Covid-19 music industries in Wales
Posted 08/06/2021 08:36 by - Paul Carr and Donna Szuran
Welsh Parliament Academic Fellowships give researchers an important voice in policymaking and offer an opportunity to get your research on the desks of key stakeholders who contribute to government policy formation.
Posted 01/06/2021 15:47 by - Lynnette Thomas
Sustainable development is core to Welsh universities’ civic mission and the new Civic Mission Framework supports universities to demonstrate their actions for the purpose of promoting or improving the economic, social, environmental or cultural well-being of Wales and beyond.
Posted 28/05/2021 12:04 by - Matt Flinders
The fact that public accountability generally comes cloaked in a ‘Gotcha!’ mentality threatens the spirit of collaboration that has developed during the pandemic. Matthew Flinders asks how to ensure positive new partnerships are not shattered by the stresses of scrutiny.
Posted 26/05/2021 11:24 by - Tomas van den Broeke
Never before in modern history has there been a stronger demonstration of evidence based politics than in the current Covid-19 situation. The pandemic delivers the right momentum in the policy and political realm to implement long lasting ambitions for structuring evidence informed policies or to generate new ones. When doing so, it is highly instrumental to make use of ambitious new initiatives in different parts of the world.
Posted 18/05/2021 09:16 by - Michelle Ierna
The mission of the recently launched Research Centre for Health (ReaCH) at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) is to reach out to communities to make a positive difference to the quality of people’s lives in Scotland and around the world through research excellence in managing public health and long-term conditions.
Posted 11/05/2021 08:45 by - Katie O'Reilly-Boyles
Katie examines the importance of having a concise and direct vehicle for policy engagement between SOAS academics and Westminster.
Posted 05/05/2021 13:22 by - Alyssa Gilbert
As the COP26 climate summit draws nearer, Alyssa Gilbert from the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London explores how the COP26 Universities Network builds relationships between academics and policymakers to make the summit a success for action on climate change.
Posted 04/05/2021 09:23 by - Michael Taylor
On the eve of the Local and Combined Authority Mayoral elections in the UK, Michael Taylor at Manchester Metropolitan University looks at the role Metro Mayors play and how universities can engage with them
Posted 04/05/2021 09:00 by - Matt Flinders and Sarah Chaytor
Those who blur the lines between academic and professional staff are the connective tissue in the research ecosystem, say Matthew Flinders and Sarah Chaytor
Posted 27/04/2021 14:55 by - Justin Fisher
Justin Fisher is Professor of Political Science and Director of Brunel Public Policy at Brunel University London. In this blog he looks at how engaging with policy-makers and legislators is hugely rewarding, but requires a slightly different way of working.
Posted 21/04/2021 11:49 by - Kayleigh Renberg-Fawcett
As UPEN transitions to the University of Sheffield, UPEN welcomes the new network manager, Alex Clegg, to the team! Alex joined UPEN on the 12th of April on three-days a week (Monday-Wednesday). We catch up with Alex to find out a bit more about the colleague who will be helping to shape UPEN over the next couple of years.
Posted 31/03/2021 10:16 by - Professor Neil Crosby and Dr Ruth Pugh, University of Reading
When considering how research can inform policy, the challenge is to understand the myriad of different routes of engagement.
Posted 25/01/2021 14:20 by - Professor Annette Boaz and Dr Kathryn Oliver, ESRC Government Office for Science ARI Fellows
Annette Boaz and Kathryn Oliver are social scientists with expertise in production and use of evidence for, policy. In this blogpost, they reflect on their recent experiences putting their knowledge into practice at the heart of government during a national lockdown.
Posted 16/02/2021 09:55 by - Gloria Mensah, University of Sheffield
In this interview, Grantham Scholar Gloria Mensah explains why scientists (and engineers) should think like policy makers. Further she explains how her research into the rise and fall of CCUS on the UK government’s agenda reveals lessons for all sustainability researchers.
Posted 09/02/2021 18:30 by - Dr Nicola Caroll and Camilla McCartney, University of Leeds
Nicola Carroll and Camilla McCartney of Leeds Social Sciences Institute discuss how a review of collaboration between academics at the University of Leeds and officers at Leeds City Council is informing an action plan for enhancing research-policy engagement.
Posted 26/01/2021 13:31 by - Alice Millington, Centre for Science and Policy, University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge’s Alice Millington reviews the insights into resilience shared by Policy Fellows of the Centre for Science and Policy.
Posted 20/01/2021 18:19 by - Dr Petra Minnerop, Durham University
Durham University's Dr Petra Minnerop discuses the importance of policy and public engagement, within and across states, in the lead up to COP 26.
Posted 12/01/2021 13:56 by - Prof Dan Stevens, Prof Susan Banducci, Dr Lazlo Horvath and Dr Andrew Jones
The research team of Identity, Inequality and the Media in Brexit-Covid-19 Britain reflect on the impact Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic are having on inequalities in Britain.
Posted 05/01/2021 10:58 by - Dr Noel Longhurst and Richard Clarke, University of East Anglia
The Norwich Good Economy Commission is a new two-year collaborative project through which the University of East Anglia and Norwich City Council are creating the space to explore what a good city economy might look like, and what steps could be made to get there.
Posted 14/12/2020 11:24 by - Dr Arlene Holmes-Henderson, University of Oxford
Dr Arlene Holmes-Henderson is a Classicist at the University of Oxford where she leads a project which investigates the impact of learning Classical languages on children’s cognitive development.
Posted 16/12/2020 16:08 by - Dr Helen Manchester, Dr Ola Michalec and Professor Morag McDermont, University of Bristol
In this blog, three academics from the University of Bristol share their experiences of civic engagement in 2020, outlining their perspectives on what went well, barriers they faced and their hopes for the future.
Posted 15/12/2020 12:18 by - Matt Francis, Public Affairs Manager, University of Stirling
Matt Francis, Public Affairs Manager, reflects on the development of policy engagement activity at the University of Stirling.
Posted 10/12/2020 09:21 by - Dr Andy Mycock, University of Huddersfield
The University of Huddersfield's Andy Mycock discusses place-based policy engagement as the region looks to elect its first metro mayor in May 2021.
Posted 07/12/2020 12:59 by - Professor Marion Campbell, Vice-Principal for Research, University of Aberdeen
The University of Aberdeen's Vice-Principal for Research reflects on the role of Universities, and specifically the University of Aberdeen, during the pandemic.
Posted 07/12/2020 10:36 by - Prof Matt Flinders, UPEN Chair 2021-2023
UPEN's upcoming Chair (2021-2023) reflects on the role of UPEN and it's priorities going forward.
Posted 30/11/2020 10:57 by - Raj Patel, University of Essex
In this post, Raj Patel outlines three types of challenging problems and argues that longitudinal studies can play an important role in addressing them.
Continuity in a crisis: how WISERD’s relationships enabled research on young people’s learning in lockdown
Posted 26/11/2020 09:38 by - Alice Taylor, Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research and Data
The Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research and Data demonstrates how strong relationships with the education sector in Wales helped researchers understand young people’s experience of learning in lockdown.
Posted 17/11/2020 13:02 by - Euan Adie, Founder of Overton.io
Euan Adie, founder of Overton.io, discusses how the platform can help universities measure and track the policy impact of their research.
Posted 17/11/2020 16:56 by - Professor Dan Parsons and Louise Smith, University of Hull
The University of Hull reflect on how The Humber is paving the way for the UK's green industrial revolution - through harnessing its research excellence, strategic location and engagements with industry stakeholders.
Posted 16/11/2020 09:48 by - Dr Sandra Messenger and Dr Sarah Foxen, Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology
Are you a researcher or do you support knowledge exchange at your university? The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology are seeking your views on the use of digital communications in knowledge exchange.
Posted 11/11/2020 14:36 by - Dr Shonagh McEwan and Dr Madeleine Beveridge, University of Edinburgh
In this blog, the Knowledge Exchange and Impact Team from the University of Edinburgh share learning and discussion points from an internal learning event on Engaging with Policymakers Internationally.
Posted 10/11/2020 18:14 by - Amy Ripley, PR and Communications Manager, City, University of London
The government’s beleaguered Covid-19 NHS app hit the headlines again recently after the Sunday Times revealed exclusively that it failed to send alerts to thousands of people to tell them to self-isolate after coming into contact with infected people.
Posted 09/11/2020 15:00 by - Rich Pickford, Nottingham Civic Exchange, Nottingham Trent University
Rich Pickford, Knowledge Exchange and Impact Officer, draws on lessons learned from Nottingham Trent University's continuing work with the C19 National Foresight Group.
Posted 02/11/2020 15:31 by - Dr Sonali Nag, University of Oxford and Archana Ganesh Raaj and Gideon Arulmani, The Promise Foundation
The authors reflect on India's new National Education Policy, what this means for young children, and the new ways of learning required to ensure it's success.
Posted 02/11/2020 13:09 by - Professor Chris Fox, Manchester Metropolitan University
In order to address the complex issues of today, Manchester Metropolitan University's Policy Evaluation and Research Unit Director, Professor Chris Fox, suggests that futures thinking should be at the heart of policy design.
Posted 28/10/2020 10:52 by - Professor Amelia Hadfield and Dr Tamsin Woodward-Smith, University of Surrey
The University of Surrey discuss how they've collaborated with Surrey County Council and other regional Higher Education Institutions to develop a Covid recovery plan for the region.
Posted 21/10/2020 10:51 by - Rosie Anderson, Impact Development Manager, Kingston University
Kingston University reflect on the GO-Science Covid-19 ARI call, and why there was less engagement from the Arts and Humanities than other disciplines.
Changing behaviours and rebuilding economies: The vital role of social sciences in tackling COVID-19
Posted 22/10/2020 10:31 by - Zoe Russell, London School of Economics
The London School of Economics discuss how they've supported vital coronavirus-related research in the social sciences to better inform policy.
Posted 12/10/2020 14:16 by - Chris Sims, Head of Policy, Institute for Policy and Engagement
How the pandemic is bringing equality questions to the foreground in academic-policy engagement.
Posted 28/09/2020 10:24 by - Capabilities in Academic and Policy Engagement
How do we know if academic-policy mechanisms are working? And what can be done to ensure thatknowledge exchange brokers are valued in the process? CAPE outline their thoughts below.
Posted 05/10/2020 10:06 by - Yaryna Basystyuk, Senior Policy Officer, Public Policy | Southampton
Public | Policy Southampton outline how a project on climate change and behavioural insights with their local authority was a success.
Posted 28/09/2020 09:43 by - Cornelia Sorabji, Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office and Gregory Messenger, University of Liverpool
What happens when a civil servant and an academic trade places?
Posted 21/09/2020 10:53 by - Professor Scott Cunningham, University of Strathclyde
In this piece I’ll draw upon international comparisons to better understand how different nations have addressed the challenges of coronavirus.
Posted 21/09/2020 10:38 by - Jeremy Swan, Public Affairs Manager, University of Birmingham
What made you want to work in higher education?
Posted 15/09/2020 11:56 by - Dr Muriel Swijghuisen Reigersberg, Senior Research and Knowledge Exchange Impact Manager, The Open University
As an institution which has a presence in all the Nations, The Open University has unique opportunities to engage with policy makers across the UK as part of its knowledge exchange and impact portfolio.
Posted 14/09/2020 09:48 by - Professor John McKendrick, Co-Director, Scottish Poverty and Inequality Research Unit
UPEN’s mission is admirable, but it also has the potential to be truly transformative.
Posted 31/08/2020 10:04 by - Dr Ray Kent, Director of Research and Innovation Services, Royal Veterinary College
Over the course of this year, pathogens that have crossed the species barrier from animals to humans – so-called ‘zoonotic’ diseases – have moved from relative obscurity to centre-stage in the public eye.
Posted 26/08/2020 09:04 by - Ben Hepworth, Ministry of Justice
In his essay, ‘On justice, and how to know it is there’, the sociologist Zygmunt Bauman remarked: “It is in times of crisis that the routine, daily, perpetual and habitual distribution of privileges and deprivations is abruptly recast as ‘extraordinary’, a fatal accident, emergency – and so brutally drawn to the surface and brought into dazzling light for everyone to see.”
Posted 14/08/2020 08:40 by - Dr Simon Brooks, Morgan Academy, Swansea University
There could hardly be a more apposite time to be talking about resilience.
Posted 11/08/2020 08:03 by - Laura Brown, Newcastle University
As the UK looks toward its economic recovery from the impacts of Covid-19, there is a real and urgent need to build a greener economy. By harnessing the potential of hydrogen fuel, we can drive innovation, skills and industry whilst enabling green growth and providing solutions for the UK to meet its net zero target by 2050.
Posted 23/07/2020 10:03 by - Kayleigh Renberg-Fawcett, UPEN
Following the recommendation of the Sir Paul Nurse review in 2014, the UK Government launched an innovative mechanism to make it clearer to the outside world what their long-term thinking is, and what research they’d like to engage with. These are now Government’s Areas of Research Interest (ARI).
Posted 09/07/2020 17:07 by - Dr Chris Foulds, Anglia Ruskin University
Policy has focused on gathering evidence and insights from the more technical disciplines. Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) research has often been overlooked as an evidence base, especially within energy policy making.
Universities and the recovery of local communities from the Covid-19 Crisis: A role for the social sciences
Posted 06/07/2020 11:05 by - Professor John Goddard and Des McNulty
While universities face major challenges to their funding and business models as a result of COVID-19, many are nevertheless deepening connections and collaborations with the NHS, local authorities, businesses and the community and voluntary sectors in the areas they serve.
Posted 29/06/2020 16:35 by - Dr Rachel Ramsey, University of Sunderland
Snowball effects have great value in policy influence.
Posted 22/06/2020 15:40 by - George Hope, The Forum lead, Imperial College London
The Forum, Imperial’s policy engagement programme, connects Imperial researchers with policymakers. This has been no different during the lockdown and The Forum has been helping researchers to ensure that their latest findings reach policymakers.
Posted 10/06/2020 10:31 by - Dr Camila Caiado, Professor Brian Castellani and Neil Heckels, Durham University
As many of the recent posts at UPEN have articulated, COVID-19 presents universities with a number of challenges regarding their civic responsibilities and contributions.
Posted 01/06/2020 11:22 by - Dr Ciara Fitzpatrick, Ulster University, School of Law
Lockdown due to the Covid-19 global pandemic has had far reaching consequences for life as we know it.
Posted 02/06/2020 09:36 by - Nick Bibby, Director of the Scottish Policy & Research Exchange
To coincide with the Scottish Policy & Research Exchange’s first AGM, its director Nick Bibby reflects on what has been achieved and the lessons learned along the way.
Posted 26/05/2020 14:59 by - Dr Gina Yannitell Reinhardt, Department of Government, University of Essex
It is no secret that we are living in unprecedented times. What should we believe? Can we trust the information we read online, or see on television? How can we make the best decisions for ourselves, our families, and our people?
Posted 26/05/2020 11:24 by - Ruth Segal, Research Fellow in the School of Global Studies at the University of Sussex
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) form an ‘integrated and indivisible’ framework of goals and targets to guide all countries towards a sustainable and just future.
Experts aren’t just for emergencies: How COVID-19 is changing evidence-based policy making for the better
Posted 18/05/2020 12:58 by - Anthea Terry, Interim Head, PolicyBristol
Michael Gove famously said in 2016 that ‘people in this country have had enough of experts’, and with social media ‘bubbles’, fake news, and the media desire to present opposing viewpoints – however marginal - it can often feel this way.
Posted 12/05/2020 12:22 by - Professor Simon Halliday, Dr Jed Meers and Dr Joe Tomlinson, University of York
Understanding the role of law in society, and not only in strict ‘legal’ terms, has rarely been so important.
Towards a Carbon-Free Campus: How a Balanced Energy Network can reduce our dependency on fossil fuels
Posted 11/05/2020 13:57 by - Dr Aaron Gillich, London Southbank University
Despite decades of protests and raising awareness, carbon emissions have continued to increase steadily.
Posted 06/05/2020 15:03 by - Jeremy Swan, Public Affairs Manager (Policy Impact), University of Birmingham
Let’s not beat about the bush, the last few months have been challenging.
Posted 07/04/2020 12:41 by - Megan Marsh, Senior Public Affairs Officer, London School of Economics
Dr Grace Lordan, Megan Marsh, Professor Tony Travers and Dr Anna Valero describe how academics and the public affairs team at LSE have used party conferences to contribute to policy debates and drive the impact of academic research. A longer version of this blog appeared on the LSE Impact blog, @LSEImpactBlog.
Posted 06/04/2020 10:35 by - Dr Danielle Beswick and Dr Marc Geddes
The authors have recently published the report, Evaluating academic engagement with UK legislatures, a project which is funded by the ESRC IAA and supported by the UK's four legislatures.
Posted 30/03/2020 15:14 by - Professor Michael Roy, Economic Sociology and Social Policy, Glasgow Caledonian University
An Early Day Motion was recently laid in the UK Parliament calling for:
Posted 19/03/2020 12:25 by - Amy Ripley, PR & Communications Manager, City, University of London
Many of us have worked in retail at some point in our lives and would welcome the news that proposed legislation to protect shop workers from violence, verbal and physical abuse was put before the House of Commons on Monday 16th March.
Posted 20/03/2020 17:19 by - Stephen Meek, UPEN Chair 2018-19
This week, the Universities Policy Engagement Network (UPEN) publishes its first report, looking at how universities can use the “Areas of Research Interest” statements published by UK government Departments to strengthen the evidence base for policy decision making.
Posted 09/03/2020 12:13 by - Vanessa & Gstrein & Maria Prince, Ulster University
Impact assessment regimes are largely a-spatial, in that they assume that the academics they assess have equal access and opportunities to influence at different scales (e.g. local, regional, national, international etc) regardless of where they are located. Taking the example of Northern Ireland, Dr Vanessa Gstrein and Maria Prince explore how the lack of a functioning government has limited the role that research focused on Northern Ireland can play in developing public policy in the province and the implications this has for universities in Northern Ireland, who have to compete for research funding with other universities in the UK.
Posted 04/03/2020 12:05 by - Jav Ghuman, Senior Policy Adviser, Coventry University
As a relative newcomer to the higher education sector, it is extremely fulfilling working with such brilliant academic minds on so many different issues and as part of the Group Policy Unit here at Coventry University, we’re keen to support our academic colleagues to get involved in the policy making process.
Posted 26/02/2020 13:42 by - Sally Burlington, Head of Policy (People), Local Government Association
We are starting a new decade with a new government and fresh debate about what skills the civil service needs. One angle on this debate is about how best to answer the age-old question of “What makes effective policy?”
Posted 25/02/2020 13:47 by - Professor Chris Fox, Manchester Metropolitan University
As a society we face some big challenges. Take your pick from a list that includes climate change, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, an ageing population, urbanisation and the growth of cities, and the rise of populism.
Posted 19/02/2020 16:36 by - Katie O'Reilly-Boyles, External Engagement and Public Affairs Directorate, SOAS
While the SOAS community does have strong working relationships with UK government departments, incoming changes in the REF structure and a redirection of government funding mean that as an Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences university we must also set our sights further afield and look at global priorities for higher education such as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Posted 18/02/2020 17:29 by - Gareth Giles, Head of Public Policy|Southampton
When policy makers have needed expertise in the past they have always been able to get it.
Posted 10/02/2020 13:23 by - Paul Cairney and Emily St Denny, University of Stirling
For decades, UK governments have used the phrase ‘prevention is better than cure’ to describe a new direction in policy and policymaking.
Posted 06/02/2020 08:53 by - Chris Sims, Head of Global Policy Impact, University of Nottingham Institute for Policy and Engagement
Countries in the Global South factor prominently in both the research conducted and curricula taught in UK universities.
Posted 04/02/2020 08:48 by - Eleanor Bayley, Deputy Head of Policy Engagement, University of Oxford
As relative newcomer to the higher education sector it’s a privilege to work more closely with leading researchers whose evidence is making a difference. Policy engagement initiatives within UK universities are clearly making strides in facilitating the formation of evidence-based policy in local and national government.
Posted 21/01/2020 11:22 by - Stephen Aldridge, Director for Analysis and Data, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
There is a tremendous thirst amongst policymakers to make better use of academic research says Stephen Aldridge, Director for Analysis and Data at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Posted 20/01/2020 16:59 by - Jane Williams, Acting Director, Morgan Academy
Years ago, working as a UK Government lawyer, I often pondered the gap between the policy process - the realm of Ministers and their officials, often (not always well-enough!) informed by research - and the people and places affected by its legislative outputs.
Posted 15/01/2020 11:56 by - Isobel Stephen, Executive Director, Strategy, Performance and Engagement at UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
My favourite metaphor for diversity is one of a toolbox.
Posted 14/01/2020 09:04 by - Dr Benedict Wilkinson, Associate Director, King's Policy Institute
For anyone who has worked in or on policy engagement, the image of the furiously busy policymaker will be all too familiar.
Posted 06/01/2020 17:10 by - Emma Rundle, Impact & Partnership Development Officer, University of Exeter
On International Women’s Day 2019, ‘Speak Up’ a book aimed at inspiring others to ‘use your voice to change the world’ was published. This book told the story of Laura Coryton’s experience of running a successful campaign and ultimately changing international taxation laws. However, as the book made its way around our office we started to notice similarities between running a successful campaign and delivering impactful research.
Effective Collaboration: how the corporate world could learn a thing or two from the higher education sector
Posted 10/12/2019 11:33 by - Rachael Richards, Director of Public Affairs, Durham University
I am still relatively new to my role as Director of Public Affairs at Durham University, having joined at the beginning of October. Prior to that my career has been predominantly in the corporate consultancy world, working with national and international companies, as well as some NHS Trusts and HE institutions for good measure.
Posted 28/11/2019 11:32 by - Jack O'Sullivan
Jack O’Sullivan argues that new think tanks and policy institutes should widen their mission – to embed interdisciplinary thinking about research.
What’s next from Parliament’s Knowledge Exchange Unit? Three more things to support you to engage with UK Parliament!
Posted 03/12/2019 09:58 by - Naomi Saint and Sarah Foxen, UK Parliament's Knowledge Exchange Managers
The KE Unit at the UK Parliament has been going for just over a year now, and at the end of November we celebrated our one-year Twitterversary!
Posted 26/11/2019 09:54 by - Megan Park, Research Apprentice, Wales Centre for Public Policy
At the Wales Centre for Public Policy (WCPP), we are continually reflecting upon our role as a ‘knowledge brokerage organisation’ (KBO). We see ‘knowledge brokerage’ as the practice of connecting researchers and decision makers to help inform public policy and professional practice. Although knowledge brokerage has great potential, we also recognise the complexity inherent in our work.
Posted 18/11/2019 15:03 by - Phil Considine, Director, Policy at Strathclyde
This has been an extremely exciting few months for Policy at Strathclyde where we have been working on a wide range of programmes that aim to support and enhance policy making in Scotland, the wider UK and beyond.
Posted 11/11/2019 14:10 by - Paula Black and Rich Pickford, Nottingham Civic Exchange
Bringing together policy development, civic engagement, student experience and academic research.
Posted 04/11/2019 13:39 by - Vian Bakir and Andrew McStay, Bangor University
Vian Bakir and Andrew McStay regularly engage with policy-makers in the digital media field, under the auspices of the Network for Study of Media & Persuasive Communication and the Emotional AI lab.
Posted 28/10/2019 10:01 by - Jane Robinson, Dean of Engagement and Place, Newcastle University
As I write this blog, the impact and realisation of climate change becomes ever more apparent. Amid Brexit, climate change dominates the news – from the recent Queen’s Speech to Extinction Rebellion protests across the country.
Posted 17/10/2019 11:25 by - Sarah Chaytor, Siobhan Morris & Olivia Stevenson - UCL Public Policy
For those of us working in academic-policy engagement, consideration of how to ensure a diversity of expertise in engaging with public policy is increasingly pressing. The recent House of Commons Liaison Committee inquiry into the effectiveness and influence of the select committee system inquiry (to which UPEN submitted evidence) provided a timely opportunity to reflect on the responsibility of both parliament and knowledge brokers to increase diversity in academic-policy interactions.
Posted 10/10/2019 17:42 by - Amy Thompson, Head of Policy Programmes and Communications, Institute for Policy Research at the University of Bath
'The Future is in Our Lands’ is a new public event series which will address issues around the future of UK land and farming, sustainable food production, and the protection of our ecosystems.
Posted 07/10/2019 09:12 by - Lauren Milden, Policy Adviser, Centre for Science and Policy, University of Cambridge
Like most of those reading this blog, the Centre for Science and Policy (CSaP) at the University of Cambridge has spent a fair amount of time considering and trialling methods of brokering relations between academics and policy makers.
Posted 26/09/2019 10:23 by - Stephen Meek, Director of the Institute for Policy and Engagement, University of Nottingham and Chair of UPEN (2019-20)
UPEN gathered for its first meeting of the Academic year in Bristol on Monday, kindly hosted by Policy Bristol in their rather nice, and wonderfully located, offices between College Green and Bristol’s Waterfront.
Posted 18/07/2019 14:07 by - Amy Ripley, Senior Communications Officer at City, University of London
There are clear benefits for academics who engage with the media to publicise their research and expertise. By learning how to explain their research to new audiences, they improve their communication skills and boost their personal profiles and that of their university.
Posted 18/07/2019 15:31 by - Paul Cairney, Professor of Politics and Public Policy, University of Stirling and Kathryn Oliver, Associate Professor of Sociology and Public Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
The 'impact' agenda has prompted many academics and organisations to recommend how to use research to influence policy and practice. In this post, Paul Cairney and Kathryn Oliver reflect on the value of this advice and warn against taking it too firmly to heart. The post trails their forthcoming contribution to 'UoN Engaged', hosted at the University of Nottingham on the 17th of September.
Posted 09/07/2019 14:57 by - Dr Rachel Hayward, Head of Government Affairs at the University of Warwick
12 months ago, I joined the University of Warwick as the new Head of Government Affairs, charged with the exciting, and equally daunting, task of developing and implementing the institution’s strategic approach to government policy engagement. The last year has flown by in a whirlwind of meetings, long days and policy events, in-between the bread and butter of all policy roles – intelligence gathering and horizon-scanning. Here I share a few of the many lessons I’ve learned from my experiences over the past year.
Posted 12/06/2019 15:23 by - Stephen Meek, Director of the Institute of Policy and Engagement at the University of Nottingham and Chair of UPEN for the 2019-2020 academic year
UPEN has formally existed for barely a year, and yet done a huge amount. And for that Gavin Costigan, the founding and outgoing Chair, deserves huge plaudits.
Posted 12/06/2019 15:12 by - Gavin Costigan, Chief Executive of the Foundation for Science and Technology, Chair of UPEN for the academic year 2018-19
In the summer of 2018, I was exchanging emails with colleagues in policy brokerage roles across a number of universities. There had been an informal network of us for a year or two, which had met from time to time, but had no formal structure or specific plans. Yet when I mentioned this putative network to contacts in Government, several were excited and keen to attend meetings. The question I provoked last summer was: Is this the time to develop and agree a formalised network?
Posted 02/07/2019 11:50 by - Dr Ella Adlen, Research and Programmes Manager at the Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford
On 13 June UCL kindly hosted a welcome opportunity for UPEN members to discuss policy brokerage with Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, Professor Sir Ian Boyd, Professor Robin Grimes and Dr Kathryn Oliver. Several participants touched on evidence synthesis – a potentially neutral way for researchers and academics to act as brokers to help policymakers understand evidence.
Posted 27/06/2019 15:11 by - Prof Huw Williams, Associate Professor of Clinical Neuropsychology and Co-Director of the Centre for Clinical Neuropsychology Research (CCNR), University of Exeter
As a Clinical Neuropsychologist I am interested in how the brain works, and what happens when people have injuries to the brain - from assaults, car accidents and falls and such like. Most injuries are “mild” – often thought of as “concussion” - but some – around 20% - are significant – with changes to the brain – and mind – that lasts a lifetime. The changes are typically in parts of the brain that allows people to remember, to plan ahead and to follow that plan (remember!). But also – importantly – to manage emotions. To rein ourselves in. How would it be if we acted on an impulse?
Posted 25/06/2019 10:14 by - Professor James Downe, Professor in Public Policy & Management in Cardiff Business School and Director of Research at the Wales Centre for Public Policy, Dr Hannah Durrant Senior Research Fellow at WCfPP, Dr Eleanor MacKillop Research Associate at WCfPP
The Wales Centre for Public Policy works with leading policy experts to provide Ministers, the civil service and public services in Wales with independent and authoritative evidence and expertise. It also conducts research on the processes and practices of policy-making and evidence use to contribute to knowledge and inform its own ways of working.
Posted 20/06/2019 11:00 by - Stephen Meek, Director of the Institute of Policy and Engagement at the University of Nottingham and Chair of UPEN for the 2019-2020 academic year
I spent a fascinating afternoon earlier this week at a roundtable hosted by NESTA (the National Endowment for Science and the Arts) to discuss What Works Now – Evidence Informed Policy and Practice (Policy Press 2019), a book edited by Annette Boaz, Huw Davies, Alec Fraser and Sandra Nutley. The collection of essays build on the earlier What Works? (Policy Press, 2000), and brings together pieces that look comprehensively at how evidence is used to inform practice and policy making across different sectors and in different countries.
Posted 18/06/2019 12:06 by - Dr Chris Hewson, Faculty Research Impact Manager (Social Sciences), University of York
As universities seek to up their game with respect to policy engagement, a range of proactive and reactive strategies, alongside associated processes, have arisen within Higher Education. Both forms of strategy are bound up in the dynamics of a sector that is geared towards sharing best practice, yet at the same time attuned to the increasingly competitive dynamics that characterise the university research funding landscape.
Posted 12/06/2019 17:48 by - Lizzie Ellen, Communications Officer at the Policy Institute, King's College London
Like many similar units, the Policy Institute is primarily concerned with producing academically rigorous solutions to policy challenges. But in addition to research, we’re also passionate about working with students, partly to help develop those solutions, but also to add to their experience of King’s, and ultimately their employability and personal development.
Posted 06/06/2019 10:45 by - Nick Bibby, Director of Scottish Policy and Research Exchange
The Scottish Policy and Research Exchange is a network of academics and officials working in new ways to expand the evidence base available to policymakers. Much of this involves encouraging and supporting new voices from the academy to engage with policy.
Ageing to be next mission for social business incubator Zinc – a partnership between universities and business to help find solutions to grand challenges
Posted 06/06/2019 10:44 by - Megan Marsh, Public Affairs Officer at LSE
Entrepreneurial engagement with Zinc’s programme of missions show how the private sector can draw on social science research to tackle pressing societal issues that policy makers are looking to solve. The programme, supported by the ASPECT initiative, is currently looking at a third mission around the topic of ageing writes Megan Marsh, Public Affairs Officer at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
Posted 04/06/2019 10:06 by - Dr Chris Peters, Communications & Engagement Manager at the University of Manchester
While national Government has an ever increasing amount of support available for policymaking, it’s important not to leave local and regional policymakers out when it comes to providing scientific advice.
Posted 16/05/2019 12:49 by - Dr. Gina Yannitell Reinhardt, Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor in the Department of Government, University of Essex and Dr. Dragana Vidovic, Research Officer and a Fixed Term Teacher, University of Essex
There is a common and persistent belief out there that entrepreneurship is about creativity - that it's about having a great idea. But it's not, really. Entrepreneurship isn't about creativity. It's about organization-building - which, in turn, is about people.Andrew Yang
Posted 14/05/2019 11:09 by - Prof Duncan Maclennan, Professor of Public Policy at the University of Glasgow
Shaping Futures grew out of a tradition of housing research at the University of Glasgow and, supported by the universities of New South Wales and Toronto, it developed into an international collaborative partnership of 17 non-profit housing providers, cities and government agencies. It exchanged and produced knowledge in three face-to-face meetings to plan and progress joint-working over three years about housing processes, problems and policies in Australia, Britain and Canada (ABC countries).
Posted 09/05/2019 15:15 by - Dr Danielle Beswick, Senior Lecturer in the International Development Department, University of Birmingham
In May 2018 I began a parliamentary academic fellowship with the House of Commons Select Committee on International Development. This committee, like many others, hears mainly from a small group of universities, mainly in London and the South East, and wanted to know how to engage a wider range of academic expertise across the country.
Posted 01/05/2019 16:38 by - Dr Lindsey Pike, PolicyBristol Associate
Supporting academics across the University of Bristol to achieve policy impact from their research is a diverse and fascinating job. In the process of doing this, our team at PolicyBristol is constantly learning about new topics; from the value of NHS managers to refugee rights, enhancing peace processes to the role of universities. Although each project uses a bespoke approach, this can be summarised under the following key principles for engagement which we refer to as the ‘five Ts’:
Posted 29/04/2019 15:24 by - Nick Bibby, Director of the Scottish Policy and Research Exchange
Blogs can be a useful tool to reach policymakers, says Nick Bibby of the Scottish Policy and Research Exchange, and can be made all the more effective by following a few simple guidelines.
Posted 25/04/2019 14:19 by - Katie Barclay, Communications Coordinator, Leeds Social Sciences Institute
In January 2019, LSSI and Leeds Barc University Business School hosted a workshop which brought together researchers at Leeds with those operating in policy and analysis at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
Posted 11/04/2019 14:25 by - Prof Iain Wilkinson, Professor of Sociology at the University of Kent
As the number of children living in poverty grows, academic research is informing a UK-wide, cross-party inquiry on how we can ensure that children get the nourishment they need. Its report will be launched in Westminster on 25th April 2019.
Posted 09/04/2019 12:04 by - Lauren Milden, Policy Adviser, Centre for Science and Policy, University of Cambridge
The Centre for Science and Policy (CSaP) is part of the University of Cambridge and its mission is to improve public policy through the more effective use of evidence and expertise. We do this by creating opportunities for public policy professionals and academics to learn from each other. Since CSaP was founded in July 2009, we’ve learnt a few things! So, in anticipation of CSaP’s 10th anniversary, we thought we’d share ten lessons from our journey.
Posted 04/04/2019 13:57 by - Dr Andrew Whittaker, Associate Professor and Head of the Risk, Resilience and Expert Decision-making (RRED) research group, London South Bank University
Most academics enter into academia because we are curious and love our subject. But this means we can struggle with the challenges of influencing policy and practice in a complex world that is often indifferent to our research. Occasionally, research is recognized as having something to say outside of our network of researchers and this can be both exciting and demanding.
Posted 02/04/2019 11:19 by - Dr Olivia Stevenson, Head of UCL Public Policy and a Co-founder of the Universities Policy Engagement Network (UPEN)
As Head of UCL Public Policy, I lead UCL’s institutional initiative to support academic-policy engagement. I haven’t always had this role and reflecting back on my career to date, I have been on a journey of discovery to get there.
Posted 28/03/2019 13:24 by - Rob Davies, Public Affairs Manager, CLOSER
Much has changed since my 2017 blog on engaging with policymakers. Brexit dominating the policy landscape has impacted both international and domestic agendas, often limiting opportunities to get research seen and heard by decision makers. However new developments are starting to take shape, helping to feed more scientific evidence into policy. I explore some of these here, highlighting a few examples of the routes I have taken over the past year.
Posted 26/03/2019 14:39 by - Neil Heckels, Senior Policy Engagement Manager at Durham University
A week in politics might be a long time, but a year of working with parliament flies over. Or at least that was one reflection I had recently, when attempting to capture the range of Durham University’s contributions to the UK and devolved parliaments over the last 12 months. We’ve had a big push on increasing our parliamentary engagement in the last year and it has been hugely encouraging to see many of our Early Career Researchers (ECRs) and PhD students getting involved, as well as more experienced colleagues, for whom working with policymakers has long been core to their work.
Posted 21/03/2019 16:39 by - Charlotte Humma, Research Communications Manager at the University of Sussex Business School and Business Manager for the UK Trade Policy Observatory
There is (probably) no greater nor more topical example of the complexity of policymaking than Brexit. As has been evident over the last two years – which culminated in a fascinating series of Parliamentary votes last week – policymaking is far from a discrete one-off decision, but rather a complex non-linear process that involves a multitude of actors and forces, both inside and outside Parliament, operating at multiple levels.
Posted 19/03/2019 11:01 by - Gavin Costigan, Specialist Advisor, Public Policy|Southampton/ Chair, Universities Policy Engagement Network (UPEN)
Whenever I tell people that I work at a university, their first question is usually: What do I teach? Even amongst people who know the complexity of university structures and the vast number of roles that exist across Professional Services, explaining what a public policy team does is not straightforward – because we are still the new kids on the block within higher education institutes. So as I look back at the last three years at the work of the public policy team in Southampton since its establishment as a cross-university unit in 2016, it’s worth reflecting – what have we actually achieved?
Third mission accomplished? Why are universities bad at engaging with local and regional government and what we can do about it.
Posted 14/03/2019 15:10 by - Liliana Fonseca, PhD fellow in Public Policy at the University of Aveiro, Portugal and ESR fellow of the RUNIN project
Universities are increasingly called upon to engage with local and regional government, namely as part of a ‘third academic mission’, but how effectively do they incentivize academics to do so?
Posted 07/03/2019 17:13 by - Dr Grace Lordan, Associate Professor of Behavioural Science at the London School of Economics
The ambitions in the Industrial Strategy are lofty and far reaching.
Posted 25/02/2019 16:20 by - Sir Patrick Vallance, FRS, FMedSci, FRCP, Government Chief Scientific Adviser
Essentially, the role of Government Chief Scientific Adviser (GCSA) is to ensure that the Prime Minister and the government have advice based on world-leading science, and that policies and decisions are informed by scientific evidence and strategic long-term thinking.
Posted 18/02/2019 16:02 by - Rob Davies, Public Affairs Manager, CLOSER
Informed by evidence from academics, royal societies, health officials, social media companies, young people, teachers, government ministers, research funders and more, the Science and Technology Committee report on the impact of social media and screen-use on young people’s health covers a range of issues: from risks, harms and benefits, regulations and guidance, to resources for schools and teachers.
Posted 18/02/2019 13:59 by - by Teresa McGowan~ Source ESRC
We are all living longer; since 1850, we’ve gained around 2.5 years of life expectancy per decade and it’s estimated that one in three children born today will live to be 100 years old. In Europe there is one retiree for every four people of working age, by 2060 this is expected to rise to one in two.
Posted 12/02/2019 16:16 by - Christopher J. M. Whitty
Evidence-based policy ensures that the best interventions are effectively implemented. Integrating rigorous, relevant science into policy is therefore essential. Barriers include the evidence not being there; lack of demand by policymakers; academics not producing rigorous, relevant papers within the timeframe of the policy cycle. This piece addresses the last problem.
Posted 08/02/2019 14:44 by - Source: LSE Impact Blog
A round up of top posts from 2018.
Posted 05/02/2019 15:04 by - Mark Reed
The final guidance for REF2021 was released this week. Most of the guidance on impact is consistent with what I expected from the consultation. For the full guidance on the submission of impact case studies to REF2021 see pages 68-76 of the and do a keyword search for “impact” to find any specific guidance for your Main Panel or Unit of Assessment in the Panel Criteria and Working Methods.
Posted 24/01/2019 12:33 by - Toby Green, Source LSE Impact Blog
Progress to open access has stalled. After two decades of trying, the proportion of born-free articles is stuck at 20%. Kicking off the Impact Blog’s Open Access Week coverage, Toby Green suggests the solution to our financially unsustainable scholarly publishing system may lie in rethinking traditional processes using internet-era norms. Embracing the principle of “fail fast”, all papers should first be published as freely available preprints to test whether they “succeed” or “fail”, with journals then competing to invite authors to publish. This would reduce the costs of the expensive, straining peer review system while ensuring all papers are available to all readers.
Posted 17/01/2019 11:56 by - Louise Shaxson, Manager of the Evidence & Policy Group (EPG) of the DFID-ESRC Growth Research Programme. Source LSE Impact Blog
Drawing on case study evidence from the DFID-ESRC Growth Research Programme, Louise Shaxson suggests that developing a culture of engagement and collaboration is just as important to achieving research impact as following best practice, and presents five principles that underpin an effective research impact culture.
Posted 19/11/2018 11:39 by - Rob Davies, Public Affairs Manager, CLOSER
Following over 100 pieces of written evidence and oral evidence from 26 witnesses, yesterday the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee published their report on ‘Evidence-based early years intervention’, calling on the Government to draw up a new national strategy for early intervention approaches to address childhood adversity and trauma.
Posted 08/10/2018 15:20 by - Gavin Costigan Director, Public Policy|Southampton Chair, Universities Policy Engagement Network (UPEN)
In all the restructuring of higher education in recent years, the primacy of the message about needing to ensure impact from research has remained consistent.