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    The Social Mobility Commission is dead. So what does this mean for the impacts arising from the social sciences research that informed its reports?

The Social Mobility Commission is dead. So what does this mean for the impacts arising from the social sciences research that informed its reports?

Alan Milburn’s resignation from the Social Mobility Commission likely spells the end for the body that has come to be seen as an exemplar for the use of research evidence in public policy debate. But what happens to the REF potential of the social sciences research that has been cited in the commission’s reports? Can REF panels ignore the […]

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    How to start dismantling white privilege in higher education

How to start dismantling white privilege in higher education

Racism is still alive and well in US and UK academia, with many from black and minority ethnic backgrounds less likely to gain access to universities or occupy decision-making roles. Kalwant Bhopal argues that to address this problem requires radical action from universities, which must start by acknowledging the existence of institutional racism and white privilege.

Despite many claims to the […]

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    Policy Fellowships Programme: developing enduring relationships between academia and policymakers

Policy Fellowships Programme: developing enduring relationships between academia and policymakers

Having an impact on policy is an important part of demonstrating the wider contribution of academic work and expertise. The Policy Fellowships Programme was set up as part of a wider commitment to find increased and better ways for scientific expertise and evidence to be considered in public policy. Nicola Buckley and Charlotte Sausman explain the background to the programme, […]

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    The business of impact: academic reward and incentive cultures continue to stifle relationships between business and management researchers and society

The business of impact: academic reward and incentive cultures continue to stifle relationships between business and management researchers and society

With the Autumn Budget due on 22 November, together with an industrial strategy white paper, uncertainties remain over what path the UK economy will take post-Brexit. The government has made clear its plan to leverage the nation’s research strengths to meet the needs of business and society. But new research from Mattia Fosci and Rob Johnson suggests that academic […]

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    Collaboration and concerted action are key to making open data a reality

Collaboration and concerted action are key to making open data a reality

The case for open data is increasingly inarguable. Improved data practice can help to address concerns about reproducibility and research integrity, reducing fraud and improving patient outcomes, for example. Research also shows good data practice can lead to improved productivity and increased citations. However, as Grace Baynes reports, recent survey data shows that while the research community recognises the […]

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    Despite uncertainty over EU academics’ future, the brain drain hasn’t begun yet

Despite uncertainty over EU academics’ future, the brain drain hasn’t begun yet

A predicted exodus of EU academics from UK universities has not yet materialised. Helen de Cruz discusses why – despite the uncertainty hanging over their future status and rights – the “brain drain” has not really begun yet. Finding new posts, especially at a very senior level, can take time; hiring systems elsewhere in Europe are opaque and sometimes not meritocratic; many […]

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    Want to ensure your research influences policy? Advice from a government insider

Want to ensure your research influences policy? Advice from a government insider

Among the ways social sciences research can have impact is by influencing public policy. Duncan Green recently attended an event at which this subject was much discussed, with a leading government research analyst offering clear advice on what officials are looking for. Comparative work highlighting a range of possible solutions is valued, as are multidisciplinary approaches. Most useful is […]

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    Government policies favouring research for economic returns can overlook existing strengths in arts and humanities

Government policies favouring research for economic returns can overlook existing strengths in arts and humanities

There is an argument that the best way for governments to allocate resources for research is to prioritise those areas most likely to deliver economic returns. Andrew Gibson and Ellen Hazelkorn explain how, shortly after its Great Recession, Ireland prioritised research fields aligned with industrial sectors rather than disciplinary excellence or societal challenges. By starting with an orientation toward […]

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    How can blogging help research make an impact beyond academia? Illustrative examples from the LSE blogs

How can blogging help research make an impact beyond academia? Illustrative examples from the LSE blogs

Previous posts in our series on the Impact of LSE Blogs project examined the effects of blogging on the academic sphere, looking more closely at citations to the original research outputs and also to the blog posts themselves. But what about the effects of blogging beyond academia, on the public sphere? In the final post of the series, Kieran […]

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    A new high-level policy analysis sheds more light on Europe’s open data and open science policies

A new high-level policy analysis sheds more light on Europe’s open data and open science policies

A collaboration between the Digital Curation Center and SPARC Europe, the Analysis of Open Data and Open Science Policies in Europe report published in May. The report analyses national policies on research data management throughout Europe. Here, Martin Donnelly shares some of the findings. A majority of policies were owned by or heavily involved national research funders, laying out […]

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    Brexit threatens UK-Latin America cooperation in higher education, but both sides can help to ensure it continues

Brexit threatens UK-Latin America cooperation in higher education, but both sides can help to ensure it continues

Brexit will inevitably have far-reaching implications for UK universities, making it more challenging to promote higher education exchanges and cooperation between the UK and Latin America, for example. But current and past bilateral initiatives show that the UK’s exit from the EU should be seen not only as a threat, but also as an opportunity, writes Valesca Lima.

European integration has contributed to worldwide […]

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    Policymaking must become more empathetic rather than continuing its current overreliance on economic measures

Policymaking must become more empathetic rather than continuing its current overreliance on economic measures

In many cases policymaking is conducted without engaging with the public. It is economic measures, rather than any official public consultation, that inform monetary policy, for example. But does this contribute to the perception of policymakers as “out of touch”? Emmanuel Lee argues that policymaking must become more empathetic, with aggregate economic measures often failing to accurately reflect the […]

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    Women academics and those from BAME backgrounds engage less with Parliament. But why?

Women academics and those from BAME backgrounds engage less with Parliament. But why?

Despite the current UK Parliament being more diverse than ever, it remains the case that academics who engage with Parliament are somewhat less representative. Women, those based outside London, and those from BAME backgrounds are significantly less likely to give evidence to select committees, for example. Sarah Foxen describes the drive across Parliament to address this problem and improve […]

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    Book Review: The Politics of Evidence: From Evidence-Based Policy to the Good Governance of Evidence by Justin Parkhurst

Book Review: The Politics of Evidence: From Evidence-Based Policy to the Good Governance of Evidence by Justin Parkhurst

In The Politics of Evidence: From Evidence-Based Policy to the Good Governance of Evidence, available open access, Justin Parkhurst provides a detailed synthesis of the debates surrounding evidence-based policy (EBP) as well as a governance framework for managing EBP. This is a comprehensive overview of the advantages and limitations of this approach that offers constructive insight into ensuring the judicious and careful use of […]

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    A more interdisciplinary approach can help us understand why research evidence does or doesn’t make it into policy

A more interdisciplinary approach can help us understand why research evidence does or doesn’t make it into policy

Effective communication of research is often cited as being most important to gaining the attention of policymakers. This arguably underestimates the sheer complexity of the policymaking process, assuming a linear route from evidence to policy and practice. Fiona Blyth and Carmen Huckel Schneider explain why breaking down walls between different academic disciplines could enhance our understanding of why research […]

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    Gained in translation: adding value to research to inform policy

Gained in translation: adding value to research to inform policy

Within the social sciences, translating and sharing new knowledge is now common practice amongst many researchers and institutions across academia. From evidence briefings and summaries of literature to online blogs and presentations, a wide range of research evidence aims to engage policy and practitioner audiences so they can more easily access and use the evidence. Raj Patel questions whether […]

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    Universities under purdah: maintaining impartiality or restricting academic freedom?

Universities under purdah: maintaining impartiality or restricting academic freedom?

Is purdah, intended to maintain the impartiality of the civil service, infringing on university researchers’ independence at a time when their expertise is most needed? Bob Ward explains the rules and argues that the next government should undertake a review of the guidance available, in order to ensure that purdah does not harm the public interest in the future.
University […]

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    Think tanks, evidence and policy: democratic players or clandestine lobbyists?

Think tanks, evidence and policy: democratic players or clandestine lobbyists?

Depending on your perspective, think tanks either enrich the democratic space by conducting policy research and facilitating public dialogue and debate, or undermine democracy by pushing policies favoured by powerful corporate interests. Till Bruckner explains how Transparify are contributing to debate about think tanks’ role in evidence-based policymaking by assessing their levels of financial transparency. The Transparify report, released […]

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    The university challenge: what would an Intelligent Brexit look like?

The university challenge: what would an Intelligent Brexit look like?

The EU brought invaluable networks for research and collaboration to the UK. More than that, it fostered a shared democratic culture of openness and tolerance. But these links will have to change as Britain pursues a hard Brexit. Time is short, write Anne Corbett and Claire Gordon, and universities need to make the case for an ‘Intelligent Brexit’ that will […]

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    No longer welcome: the EU academics in Britain told to “make arrangements to leave”

No longer welcome: the EU academics in Britain told to “make arrangements to leave”

Some EU citizens living in Britain who decided to seek permanent residency after the Brexit vote are being told to make arrangements to leave. A number of these people are among the 31,000 EU academics currently working in UK universities. Colin Talbot says many are alarmed and some have already decided to leave – putting the expertise of Britain’s […]

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