Academic knowledge, evidence and expertise can help inform, design, improve and test policy – and ultimately make government policy better. But it can only do this if policy makers and academics interact effectively.
This project will look at how government and academia interact in the formation of policy and how they could do so better, with a focus on social sciences and humanities. The project will:
- look at the reasons why policy makers engagement with academics is often low
- look at how approaches to engagement that are working could be scaled
- take stock of shifts in academia, with the focus on the impact of research beyond academia, including on public policy, and the launch of a new strategic funding body
- make recommendations for how the interaction between government and academia could be improved.
The project builds on our previous work over several years:
- In 2011–12, we undertook a major study into how policy is made in government, publishing a series of reports and recommendations about Making Policy Better.
- In 2014–15, we looked at the institutional History of Whitehall between 1979 and 2010 and published a report on the Value of History in Policymaking.
- In 2015, we designed an Evidence Transparency Framework to assess how government uses evidence to make policy. In 2016, Sense about Science used the framework to conduct the first assessment of government departments.
The project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.