Category: policymaking

Sociable (social) science – Crafting new relationships between research and government

The civil service represents a significant community of analysts and researchers, but their work can at times seem independent from that taking place within academia. Ben Hepworth describes how the UK’s Ministry of Justice has worked to reframe its rel…

MPs with both an educational and occupational background in STEM are the most likely to demonstrate engagement with STEM issues in Parliament

Joshua Myers and Hilde Coffé investigate the effect of having a STEM background on both the likelihood of MPs proposing a STEM Private Members’ Bill and the proportion of proposals an MP dedicates to such bills. They find that having a STEM background …

The incompatibility of Nudge and Co-Design as tools for policymaking

The use of nudge theory to inform policy interventions in response to COVID-19 has re-opened debates over the politically paternalistic nature of governing by ‘nudges’ and has given momentum to calls to include the more participatory elements of co-des…

The most consequential experiments carried out during the COVID-19 pandemic will be social

The public image of the response to COVID-19 has been presented primarily through a scientific lens. However, as Alana Couvrette argues, the COVID-19 pandemic has been as intense a period of socio-political experimentation, as scientific. Drawing on ex…

Proving and Improving – Evaluating policy engagement is an opportunity for researchers and institutions to learn as well as demonstrate impact.

The challenges of evaluating the contribution of research to policy making are well documented. In this post Chris Roche, Alana Tomlin, Ujjwal Krishna and Will Pryor outline seven principles for effective monitoring, evaluation and learning for policy …

Who benefits from data for good?

The central proposition of ‘data for good’ is that corporations should publicly share data sets derived from their business activities across various areas of the economy to improve and guide policymaking. Based on their study of contributors to the Bi…

Analysts, Advocates and Applicators – Understanding and engaging with different actors in the evidence for policy movement

Superficially connecting evidence to policy might seem like singular process that brings together different actors towards a common end. However, drawing on a qualitative study of professionals in the evidence – policy field, Jasper Montana and James W…

The hard labour of connecting research to policy during COVID-19

The worlds of policy and academia are often distant and can be difficult to span. In this post Kathryn Oliver and Annette Boaz reflect on their experience of working in the Government Office for Science to help produce the government’s new Areas of Research Interest and the particular challenges involved in establishing and mobilising networks … Continued

The (il)logic of legibility – Why governments should stop simplifying complex systems

Thea Snow, discusses how the desire to make complex systems ‘legible’ can serve to constrain policymaking and lead to decisions that reproduce an idealised, legible, but fundamentally limited vision of the world around us.  Sometimes, you learn about an idea that really sticks with you. This happened to me recently when I learnt about “legibility” … Continued

To shape policy with evidence, we should celebrate both good practice and good theory

As the famous saying attributed to Kurt Lewin goes, “there is nothing as practical as a good theory”. In this post James Georgalakis makes the case that bridging the gap between theory and practice is not simply a matter of more refined communication, but of creating structures in which policy influencers and academics can productively … Continued