Category: policymaking

The Pandemic Needs an Information Solution

This is the sixth post in a six-week series: Rapid or Rushed? exploring rapid response publishing in covid times. As part of the series, there will be a virtual roundtable on Friday 6th November, 1.30pm featuring Professor Joshua Gans (Economics in the Age of COVID-19, MIT Press) and Richard Horton (The COVID-19 Catastrophe, Polity Press and Editor of The … Continued

Common policy problems and what researchers can do about them

Impacting policy is difficult, not only because of the challenges translating research into policy-speak but also because of challenges inherent in the policymaking process itself. These include: the siloed nature of working, the lack of focus on prevention and imperatives for ministers to pursue short-term solutions. In this post, Raj Patel outlines these problems and … Continued

The rush to research COVID-19 risks compromising research integrity and impact

This is the first post in a six-week series: Rapid or Rushed? exploring rapid response publishing in covid times. Much academic research is currently characterised by a rush to capture the effects of COVID-19. However, impact in the social sciences depends on researchers taking the time to look after themselves, exchange knowledge with others – … Continued

Policymaking in a pandemic must be decisive, transparent and inclusive

In a pandemic, policymakers have to deal with uncertainty and rapidly evolving information. Ramathi Bandaranayake and Merl Chandana use examples from COVID-19 to draw guidance for how policymakers might respond to these challenges. They argue that Quick, decisive, transparent and inclusive policy is key to successfully responding to pandemics and their socioeconomic effects.   Responding … Continued

Evidence-based policy and other myths. What researchers need to know to influence government.

Research has an important role to play in the creation of good policy. However, academics often struggle to communicate their research in a language that politicians understand. Naomi Eisenstadt CB draws on over thirty years of experience at senior levels of government and policy, to outline what researchers need to know to influence government and three … Continued

Businesses know the value of social sciences. Higher Education policy needs to catch up

The social sciences are recognised for their role in evaluating policy and offering practice-based interventions about ‘what works’. However, they are less often justified in terms of their value to the private sector. Sharon Witherspoon outlines the finding of a report into eight case studies of UK businesses.  The report covers a range of different … Continued

Between science and policy—Scrutinising the role of SAGE in providing scientific advice to government

Reflecting on his role as chair of the Science and Technology Select Committee, Greg Clark MP, discusses the effectiveness of the UK’s scientific advisory body SAGE during the COVID-19 pandemic and considers the importance of transparency in assessing the extent to which scientific research can effectively guide government policy.   Since March, the Committee that … Continued

“F**k the algorithm”?: What the world can learn from the UK’s A-level grading fiasco

The A-level grading fiasco in the UK led to public outrage over algorithmic bias. This is a well-established problem that data professionals have sought to address through making their algorithms more explainable. However, Dr Daan Kolkman argues that the emergence of a “critical audience” in the A-level grading fiasco poses a model for a more effective means of … Continued

STEMM in Parliament: what oral history tells us about MPs and science

Emmeline Ledgerwood draws on evidence from archived oral history interviews to consider the extent to which an MP’s background in science, technology, engineering, maths, and medicine has contributed to his or her activity as a parliamentarian. This post originally appeared on the LSE British Politics and Policy Blog. The varying national responses to the coronavirus … Continued

Is public accountability possible in algorithmic policymaking? The case for a public watchdog

Despite algorithms becoming an increasingly important tool for policymakers, little is known about how they are used in practice and how they work, even amongst the experts tasked with using them. Drawing on research into the use of algorithmic models in the UK and Dutch governments, Daan Kolkman argues that the inherent complexity of algorithms … Continued