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Posted 2022-02-08 14:59:38 by Matt Flinders, UPEN Chair


If the Covid-19 pandemic has shown anything it’s the importance of being able to work across the research-policy interface in an agile and efficient manner. Beyond the pandemic response, policy-makers from the local to the international level are increasingly keen to learn from and work with researchers. And more broadly, the priorities of research funders such as UKRI and Wellcome continue to emphasise the need to facilitate the mobility of people, knowledge and talent across organisational, professional and disciplinary boundaries.

It is in exactly this context that UPEN has become the main platform in the United Kingdom for linking research into policy, and policy into research.

The UPEN Annual Conference and Lecture will take place on Thursday 3 March 2022 and although the continuing risks associated with Covid have prevented a ‘face-to-face’ event it has not been able to dampen the vibrancy and vitality of the event in terms of speakers and topics.

Bridget Sealey will be reporting and making recommendations on the future business model for UPEN, James Canton will be discussing the ESRC’s new approach to supporting policy engagement, and Katie Thorpe from the Institute for Government will be providing some insights into effective relationship building. Matthew McCallum’s will be reflecting on the AHRC’s plans to support creative engagement, while Kayleigh Renberg-Fawcett and Olivia Stevenson will be drawing-upon the recent UPEN report on ‘Surfacing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion’ in order to outline ‘the EDI Opportunity’. If this was not enough David Phipps from Research Impact Canada will be outlining what his organisation does, why it matters and how it could connect to UPEN, and David Sweeney from Research England will close the day by giving the 2022 UPEN Annual Lecture.

What a day this promises to be!

Session 1 10.00-10.15 - Chair's introduction and welcome. Announcement of new Vice Chairs.​

Session 2 10.15-11.00 UPEN 'Phase-II' reporting and member engagement session.

Virtual Coffee Break 11.00-11.15

Session 3 11.15-12.00
'Strategic Thinking Around Policy Engagement' James Canton, Deputy Director for Public Policy and Engagement, ESRC

Session 4 12.00-12.45 ‘Navigating the Science-Policy Nexus’, Katie Thorpe, Institute for Government.

Lunch break 12:45-13:30 (plus University of Keele Policy Showcase)

Session 5 13.30-14.15
'Creative Thinking: The Arts, Humanities and Policy Engagement' Matthew McCallum, Associate Director, AHRC

Session 6 14.15-15.00'The Equality and Inclusion Opportunity' Kayleigh Renberg-Fawcett and Olivia Stevenson

Afternoon Tea Break 15.00-15.30

Session 7 15.30-16.00
International Partnerships – 'Introducing Research Impact Canada', David Phipps, Research Impact Canada, Network Director.

Session 8 16.00-17.00 UPEN Annual Lecture ‘The Past, Present and Future of University Policy Engagement’ David Sweeney, Executive Chair, Research England

UPEN is a member-led and member-driven organisation so please do come along and get involved on the day. All the sessions will have lots of audience interaction – questions to speakers very much encouraged!

The whole event is designed with a focus on simplicity. No need to register. One simple click through link to get you into the event on the day. No break out rooms. Come and go as you please. Feel free to pass attendance instructions to anyone you think might like to come along.

The Microsoft Teams link into the event is here

Many thanks to Keele University for being the online hosts for this event. UPEN could not have put this event on without their incredible support.