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.