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Published by

Alex Clegg

14 October 2021, 8:33 UTC Share

UPEN and CAPE are working together

The Universities Policy Engagement Network (UPEN) and the Capabilities in Academic Policy Engagement (CAPE) research and knowledge exchange project are committed to working together to share learning and enhance engagement across academic-policy engagement.

An overview of both and how they plan to collaborate is provided below.

Overview of CAPE and UPEN
CAPE is a 4-year research and knowledge exchange project, funded by Research England, between five universities: Cambridge, Manchester, Northumbria, Nottingham and UCL, in collaboration with the Government Office for Science, the Parliamentary Office for Science & Technology, Nesta and the Transforming Evidence Hub. CAPE tests and evaluates academic policy engagement mechanisms – including skills training, knowledge exchange events, policy fellowships and funding – in order to better understand how to support effective, sustainable and diverse academic policy engagement. CAPE will also develop toolkits, guides and reports for the higher education sector based on its findings.

UPEN connects university-based knowledge brokers and researchers with policy professionals and research users working within local, regional, devolved, and international actors and organisations to promote the interchange of knowledge, talent and people. Founded in 2018, UPEN is a member-led organisation representing over two-thirds of all higher education institutions in the United Kingdom and offers a ‘one-stop shop’ to promote academic-policy engagement opportunities. Working closely with a range of research-user communities and organisations, UPEN offers innovation-led training and support for knowledge exchange and policy engagement through events, seminars, exchange opportunities and special projects.

With distinct, but complementary objectives, CAPE and UPEN intend to work closely together as a network and a research and knowledge exchange project.

What UPEN and CAPE plan to work together on

  • Joint events and publications (including with other partners) to inform the debate around academic-policy engagement across a range of topics and in different parts of the ecosystem
  • Cascade CAPE knowledge exchange events with policy stakeholders to UPEN members to encourage broad participation
  • Utilise UPEN structures and members to inform and support CAPE projects
  • Leveraging CAPE mechanisms to support collaborative CAPE/UPEN activities with policy stakeholders
  • Partnership opportunities which allow CAPE/UPEN to leverage additional resources and insights to inform policy-making
  • Encourage UPEN co-investigators in CAPE seed funding schemes such as the CAPE Collaboration Fund

How we plan to work together

  • CAPE presenting regularly to the UPEN Executive Sub-committee
  • Sharing learning across CAPE and UPEN around mechanisms for academic policy engagement at CAPE quarterly mechanism sharing sessions and UPEN members meetings
  • Ensuring regular communications between UPEN and CAPE through monthly catch-ups between the CAPE project manager and the UPEN network manager
  • Cross membership of UPEN sub-committees
  • Amplifying each other’s work where appropriate through communication channels such as on social media, newsletters and on website platforms
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