Influencing, Engaging, and Adding Value: Impact and Innovation at the University of Wolverhampton

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At the University of Wolverhampton, we are passionate about making a positive impact on our students, our local community and beyond.

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Welsh Parliament Academic Fellowship: influencing policy to support post Covid-19 music industries in Wales

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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.

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How to embed sustainable development in universities in Wales

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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.

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Blame games: how can blossoming policy-research relations survive the COVID-19 recriminations?

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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.

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How Can We Realize Evidence Based Politics?

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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.

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ReaCHing out in response to COVID-19

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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.

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Influencing the Corridors of Power: A Direct Vehicle between academic staff and Westminster

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Katie examines the importance of having a concise and direct vehicle for policy engagement between SOAS academics and Westminster.

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Bringing evidence to policy on the UN Climate Conference

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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.

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A new King or Queen of the North – Mayors and their networks

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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

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Lost in (the third) space: knowledge brokers need career paths too

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Those who blur the lines between academic and professional staff are the connective tissue in the research ecosystem, say Matthew Flinders and Sarah Chaytor

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Tips for influencing policy: Why it requires a slightly different way of working

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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.

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Introducing the new UPEN Network Manager – Alex Clegg

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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.

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Navigating the industry route for successful policy engagement

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When considering how research can inform policy, the challenge is to understand the myriad of different routes of engagement.

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Building new bridges between research and policy during a national lockdown

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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.

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Why scientists should think like policymakers

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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.

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Optimising civic collaboration in Leeds

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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.

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Policy development for organisational resilience

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The University of Cambridge’s Alice Millington reviews the insights into resilience shared by Policy Fellows of the Centre for Science and Policy.

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Creating a climate of engagement at a critical juncture

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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.

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Identity, Inequality and the Media in Brexit COVID-19 Britain

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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.

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The Norwich Good Economy Commission

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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.

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Engaging with policymakers as a researcher in the Arts and Humanities: a guide to how, what and why

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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.

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Academic perspectives on civic engagement: case studies from the University of Bristol

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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.

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Increasing capacity for policy engagement through training and partnership

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Matt Francis, Public Affairs Manager, reflects on the development of policy engagement activity at the University of Stirling.

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The ‘West Yorkshire Way’ to policy engagement: Place-Based Economic Recovery Network (PERN)

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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.

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Communicating the importance of the higher education sector through the pandemic

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The University of Aberdeen's Vice-Principal for Research reflects on the role of Universities, and specifically the University of Aberdeen, during the pandemic.

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University Policy Engagement: Looking forward to 2021 (and beyond)

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UPEN's upcoming Chair (2021-2023) reflects on the role of UPEN and it's priorities going forward.

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Challenging social problems: how longitudinal studies can make a difference

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In this post, Raj Patel outlines three types of challenging problems and argues that longitudinal studies can play an important role in addressing them.

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Continuity in a crisis: how WISERD’s relationships enabled research on young people’s learning in lockdown

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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.

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Policy impact has too many stories and not enough data

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Euan Adie, founder of Overton.io, discusses how the platform can help universities measure and track the policy impact of their research.

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The beating heart of the Government’s green industrial revolution

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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.

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The future of digital Knowledge Exchange between researchers and Parliament

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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.

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Engaging with policymakers internationally

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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.

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City researchers: NHS contact tracing app can be a success if linked to testing

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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.

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Playing our part against Covid: a love letter to collaborative colleagues

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Rich Pickford, Knowledge Exchange and Impact Officer, draws on lessons learned from Nottingham Trent University's continuing work with the C19 National Foresight Group.

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Change needs everyone to learn something new: a view from India’s classrooms

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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.

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How foresight and futures thinking can play a role in developing a radical new policy agenda

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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.

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Covid-19 recovery: collaborative civic engagement in Surrey

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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.

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Making room for Arts and Humanities in policy

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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.

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Changing behaviours and rebuilding economies: The vital role of social sciences in tackling COVID-19

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The London School of Economics discuss how they've supported vital coronavirus-related research in the social sciences to better inform policy.

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Generating policy impact through civic engagement

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How the University of Plymouth supports academic engagement with civic partners to generate a culture of policy impact.

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Equality of voice in policy impact: seizing the pandemic moment

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How the pandemic is bringing equality questions to the foreground in academic-policy engagement.

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Delving under the hood of academic-policy engagement

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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.

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Trust, empathy and communication – a toolkit for better collaboration with local government

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Public | Policy Southampton outline how a project on climate change and behavioural insights with their local authority was a success.

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Trading places

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What happens when a civil servant and an academic trade places?

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Government strategies and international response to the Coronavirus

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In this piece I’ll draw upon international comparisons to better understand how different nations have addressed the challenges of coronavirus.

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Preventing the spread of infection through contaminated surfaces

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What made you want to work in higher education?

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The Open University: Combining national policies with local strengths across the UK Nations

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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.

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Why should anyone listen to us?

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UPEN’s mission is admirable, but it also has the potential to be truly transformative.

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Prevention is better than cure: avoiding future pandemics

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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.

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Navigating the seas of knowledge exchange

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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.”

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Resilience, agility and value-based health care

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There could hardly be a more apposite time to be talking about resilience.

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Harnessing hydrogen fuel for a green and industrial recovery

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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.

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How UPEN can support Universities and Government's Areas of Research Interest

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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).

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Energy-PIECES: providing policy secondments for early career researchers

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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.

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Universities and the recovery of local communities from the Covid-19 Crisis: A role for the social sciences

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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.

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Awkward sandwiches and melting snowballs

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Snowball effects have great value in policy influence.

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Imperial College London’s The Forum: Policy engagement during the pandemic

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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.

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Applying research to the Covid response: how Durham University modelling is helping local planning

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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.

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Social Security and COVID-19: An inadequate response to crisis

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Lockdown due to the Covid-19 global pandemic has had far reaching consequences for life as we know it.

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A good beginning

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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.

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How academics and policy makers can work together during a pandemic

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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?

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Sustainable Development Goals and the Pandemic

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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.

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Experts aren’t just for emergencies: How COVID-19 is changing evidence-based policy making for the better

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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.

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Public attitudes on compliance with COVID-19 lockdown restrictions

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Understanding the role of law in society, and not only in strict ‘legal’ terms, has rarely been so important.

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Towards a Carbon-Free Campus: How a Balanced Energy Network can reduce our dependency on fossil fuels

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Despite decades of protests and raising awareness, carbon emissions have continued to increase steadily.

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Policy engagement in lockdown - the University of Birmingham view

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Let’s not beat about the bush, the last few months have been challenging.

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Looking ahead to party political conferences 2020: Academic engagement during conference season

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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.

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New report on academic engagement with UK legislatures

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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.

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Building a 'Wellbeing Economy': is there a role for social enterprise?

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An Early Day Motion was recently laid in the UK Parliament calling for:

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Research making a difference in our communities and businesses

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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.

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UPEN shares experiences of engaging with UK Government Areas of Research Interest

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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.

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Generating impact in the absence of government: Northern Ireland’s unlevel playing field

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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.

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Harnessing the power of our PhD community

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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.

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Listening makes for better policy making

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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?”

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What if citizens not tech hold the key to a radical new policy agenda?

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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.

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Overseas policy engagement: a postcolonial approach to the sustainable development goals

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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).

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Why UPEN?

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When policy makers have needed expertise in the past they have always been able to get it.

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Why isn’t government policy more preventive?

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For decades, UK governments have used the phrase ‘prevention is better than cure’ to describe a new direction in policy and policymaking.

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Join us in March to discuss improving policy engagement with the Global South

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Countries in the Global South factor prominently in both the research conducted and curricula taught in UK universities.

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Support for policy engagement internationally – how can we strengthen our offer?

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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.

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Building links between academia and policymakers - A MHCLG Perspective

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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

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Engagement for Policy Impact - A Welsh Perspective

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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.

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Diversity of ideas: we need more tools in our toolbox

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My favourite metaphor for diversity is one of a toolbox.

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Universities need to do more to support impactful researchers

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For anyone who has worked in or on policy engagement, the image of the furiously busy policymaker will be all too familiar.

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The Impact of Campaigning

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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.

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Effective Collaboration: how the corporate world could learn a thing or two from the higher education sector

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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.

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University research thinking needs an extra level

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Jack O’Sullivan argues that new think tanks and policy institutes should widen their mission – to embed interdisciplinary thinking about research.

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What’s next from Parliament’s Knowledge Exchange Unit? Three more things to support you to engage with UK Parliament!

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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!

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Mobilising meaningful connections between evidence and practice

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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.

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Policy at Strathyclyde

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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.

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Nottingham's Good Work Programme: A place-based approach to addressing economic insecurity

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Bringing together policy development, civic engagement, student experience and academic research.

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Reality TV, Emotional AI and Governance of Digital Futures

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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.

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Tackling climate change together – through partnerships, policy and engagement

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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.

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Five ways to increase diversity of voice and make academic-policy engagement more equitable

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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.

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IPR launches new event series on the future of UK farming, wildlife loss and climate change

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'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.

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Carving out the time to take a step back

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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.

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Looking ahead

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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.

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How media engagement brings benefits for policy brokerage

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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.

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Making an impact with research: how to engage critically with well-meaning advice

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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.

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A year in the life of a new policy engagement function

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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.

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UPEN: Plans and Objectives for Academic Year 2019-20

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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.

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UPEN- A year in review led by the Public|Policy Southampton

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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?

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Badgers, bees, beams, floods, and hormones: being an honest broker to policymakers

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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.

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Changing Policy of Traumatic Brain Injury in the Criminal Justice System

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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?

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The Wales Centre for Public Policy: our Theory of Change

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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.

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What Works Now

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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.

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Open Innovation and Policy Engagement at the University of York

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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.

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Student engagement: Serving the needs of society by influencing policymakers of the future

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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.

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The Scottish Policy and Research Exchange

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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.

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Ageing to be next mission for social business incubator Zinc – a partnership between universities and business to help find solutions to grand challenges

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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).

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Don’t forget to look local

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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.

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From catalyst to conduit

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We’ve learnt a lot since we started MetroPolis, our think tank at Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Collaborative Engagement: How Research and Practice is Impacting Communities

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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

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Shaping Futures: Working for Better Housing Outcomes in Britain, Canada and Australia

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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).

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What academics really think about policy engagement

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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.

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The ‘5 Ts’ of policy engagement: PolicyBristol’s approach to supporting academics

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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’:

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Blogging for a policy audience

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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.

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Leeds Social Sciences Institute engaging policy

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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).

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Informing a national conversation on child hunger

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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.

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Ten lessons for policy engagement

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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.

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Understanding street gangs and youth violence

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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.

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Making space for new models of academic-policy engagement

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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.

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A new dawn in evidence informed policy?

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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.

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Of Mice and MPs: a year of engaging with Parliament

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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.

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It’s not all plain sailing: providing navigation on Post-Brexit trade policy

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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.

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Public Policy|Southampton – the journey so far

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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?

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Third mission accomplished? Why are universities bad at engaging with local and regional government and what we can do about it.

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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?

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Human skills will always be needed in a technological age

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The ambitions in the Industrial Strategy are lofty and far reaching.

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Over 10,000 problem solvers at your disposal

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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.

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Social media and screen-time: To ban or not to ban – that’s probably not the question

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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.

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How to live to 100 and tell people about it!

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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.

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What makes an academic paper useful for health policy?

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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.

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2018 in review: round-up of our top posts on connecting research with policy

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A round up of top posts from 2018.

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Six important things about impact you need to know from the REF2021 guidance

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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.

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Do we need to “fail fast” to achieve open access?

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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.

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Building a culture of research impact

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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.

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Lifelong consequences – the importance of early intervention

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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.

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Public policy impact (and how to get paid for it)

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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.

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