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Published by

Alex Clegg

04 July 2021, 8:34 UTC Share

Opening Up Parliament: Barriers to Engagement and Participatory Potential – What Academics Think

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 790 university academics and researchers to find out.

Respondents were asked to comment on a number of potential barriers to parliamentary engagement, and on a range of possible measures which might incentivise more academics to engage with Westminster. In light of this, UPEN has made key recommendations:

Parliaments committees should:

  • continue to allow committee inquiry witnesses to give oral evidence remotely to promote inclusivity and to help ensure a greater diversity of witnesses
  • consider whether they can acknowledge contributions by academics and researchers beyond citations in final inquiry reports

UPEN should work collaboratively with Parliaments committees and Knowledge Exchange Unit (KEU), and with universities to:

  • help ensure that training on engaging with Parliament is easily accessible to all academics and researchers in higher education improve the visibility, within the academic research community, of Parliaments committees and their individual inquiries

UPEN should also work with its member institutions to explore how universities can better support academic engagement with Parliament

Universities and research funders should explicitly incentivise and reward engagement with parliamentary committee inquiries


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