Drawing on their recent study of South Africa’s evidence ecosystem, Ruth Stewart, Harsha Dayal, Laurenz Langer and Carina van Rooyen, show how the global north has much to learn from evidence ecosystems in the global south. Outlining five lessons that can be learnt from the South African evidence ecosystem, they argue that if notions of a global evidence ecosystem […]
Legislative science advice is a powerful tool, yet the majority of parliamentarians around the world don’t have access to it
The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) has played an important role in UK politics, by providing horizon scanning research summaries to parliamentarians on emerging issues. Here, Sarah Foxen and Chris Tyler discuss the challenges and opportunities faced in setting up services that put leading edge research in front of busy politicians and reflect on their work to help set […]
Party political conferences provide a unique opportunity for academics to engage with politicians and the policymaking process, as well as a variety of different stakeholders in any given policy issue. In this post, Dr Grace Lordan, Professor Tony Travers, Dr Anna Valero and Megan Marsh describe how academics and the public affairs team at LSE have used party political […]
In Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime, Bruno Latour explores the political and philosophical challenges proper to a time defined by an environmental and socio-economic crisis. Rodrigo Muñoz-González welcomes this energetic, compelling and provocative attempt to find an alternative vision to the contradictory and flawed project of modernity.
This post originally appeared on LSE Review of Books. If you would like to contribute […]
To achieve a truly ‘Global Britain’ we need to take international research policy partnerships seriously
The relationship between the UK’s research endeavour and its international partners is likely to change in coming years as a result of changes in domestic funding streams and a potentially sharp exit from EU funded research projects. In this post James Georgalakis argues that if the UK is seeking to be truly ‘Global’ in terms of research, there is […]
In Think Tanks: The New Knowledge and Policy Brokers in Asia, James G. McGann examines the role of think tanks in Asia, exploring their current limitations as well as how they can expand and improve the quality of their analysis to provide the region’s political actors with the policy advice they require. While the book contains the seeds of a compelling and […]
In Can Science Make Sense of Life?, Sheila Jasanoff questions whether the scientific capacity to manipulate life at the molecular level should also give science the authority to define what life is for. Exploring various cases to show how (techno)scientific knowledge embeds and is embedded in our social practices, identities, norms, institutions and ways of speaking, this book is a salient introduction […]
Building on Katherine Dommett’s and Warren Pearce’s recent post on the evidence for public trust in experts, Matt Wood argues that whilst the death of the expert has been oversold, the question of how expertise is put to use in modern democracies remains an unresolved dilemma. Drawing on research underpinning his recent book, Hyper-active Governance, he suggests that competing […]
There is a wealth of advice and ‘how to’ guides available to academics on the subject of how research can have an impact on policy and practice. In this post Kathryn Oliver and Paul Cairney assess the value of this literature, arguing that unless researchers seek to situate research impact within processes of policymaking and academic knowledge production, this […]
Third mission accomplished? Why are universities bad at engaging with local and regional government and what we can do about it.
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? Using evidence from her study of the University of Aveiro, Liliana Fonseca explores the barriers that hinder engagement with these institutions and makes recommendations for how universities could expand […]
Engaging with Parliament: what is good Select Committee evidence?
One way of trying to make an impact with one’s research is to use it to provide evidence and information to one of Parliament’s Select Committees. Victoria Honour offers some insight into how these committees and their inquiries work, and how academics can engage with them; including practical advice on how to structure […]
The perpetual tango: what exactly is “evidence-informed policymaking” premised on and working towards?
Given the field of evidence-informed policymaking has existed for some time, experts’ confusion, knowledge gaps, and inconsistencies around the fundamentals is bewildering. Reporting on a recent Ontario case study, Jacqueline Sohn considers how evidence-informed policymaking works in practice, likening the swift and abrupt movements that eventually lead to policies being developed to a perpetual tango, and reveals how research […]
While optimism can inspire efforts to connect the spheres of science, policy, and practice, it does little to remove the real boundaries between them. Systematic investigation of “bright spots” – or success stories – would likely yield some interesting learning points but, as David Christian Rose suggests, it may be unwise to cherry-pick evidence of what works by only […]
Can a concept derived from the natural sciences be applied to the political and social sciences? Sarah Quarmby consider whether complex systems thinking, currently enjoying a moment of popularity in the policy research and practice worlds despite having no single accepted definition, can add to our understanding of policy. And is it really a new approach?
Complex systems thinking is […]
A blueprint for building university-based boundary organisations that achieve impacts on policy and practice
The uptake and integration of scientific research into decision-making processes remains a significant challenge. Many research organisations have begun to experiment with novel institutional structures aimed at enhancing the impact of research on policy and practice. Taking Stockholm University’s Baltic Eye Project as a case study, Marie Löf and Chris Cvitanovic present a blueprint for building university-based boundary organisations, […]
Despite often having an explicit policy focus, many academic conferences fail to produce policy briefs or even promote papers that are accessible to those working in policy. Sarah Foxen highlights the rich potential of academic conferences as fantastic sites at which to stimulate and facilitate policy impact, collecting all the academic and policy experts on a topic together in the […]
Achieving tangible impacts on policy and practice is not easy. But it’s made even harder by starting with a pessimistic outlook. Much of the academic discourse around the interface of science, policy, and practice has become dominated by negative language such as the science-policy “gap”, or “challenges” and “barriers” that must be overcome. Chris Cvitanovic makes the case for […]
One of the principal ways in which research can be said to have had an impact on society is when it is judged to have shaped public policy. Storytelling is increasingly presented as an effective way of doing this, with researchers encouraged to construct narratives that point towards a clear “moral”, something to be done. Thomas Basbøll argues that […]