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The University of Southampton
Public Policy|Southampton

Linking academics and policymakers, led by Dr Dianna Smith and Hannah Barker

These pages will be updated with further information after impact gathering.

Project Overview

Although academic researchers are dedicated to conducting research that has real-world policy impacts, the challenge of connecting to the appropriate
policymakers is substantial, limiting the opportunities to share research that could be influential. Public Policy Southampton supports academics well in making introductions to local and national policy makers, especially for ongoing projects. However, it is still not an embedded process to talk with policy makers during the development of new research projects and funding bids. Equally academics may find it difficult to communicate their research effectively
and clearly to a non-academic audience.

Further, a challenge in policy making is the capacity for policies to be implemented in a range of settings, and policy would benefit from earlier discussions
with the local level implementers to identify possible barriers (and solutions) early.

Finally, the need for evidence-based policy has never been greater. The proposed protocol for researchers to work with policy makers to ensure their research will be structured to provide better evidence, and the knowledge exchange templates will facilitate easier communication of academic research to a wider audience.

Objectives: The proposal will use existing research as a starting point to achieve two objectives:
1. Develop a ‘new normal’ protocol to research funding applications where academic researchers co-develop research plans to support evidence-based policy
2. Co-develop knowledge exchange activity templates for improved communication between academics, policy makers and policy implementers in local areas


Policy Implications

Short term: the immediate impact will be to facilitate the use of existing research to improve knowledge exchange (via improvements to the website
noted above); strengthening the relationship/improving dialogue between the researcher and external policy contacts for both DS and HB; further career development and training (via Apolitical) for HB; Establishing new collaborations to support evidence-based policy making by taking a flipped approach with
academic researchers having a clear protocol to follow regarding engagement with policy; new templates for use across UoS for more effective knowledge

Longer term: This project creates excellent opportunities for the researcher to consistently incorporate input from policy makers and implementers
into funding bids, leading to a better evidence base for policy; normalising the engagement by researchers with policy makers at local and national level through the use for the protocol and then knowledge exchange tools that are developed with the target audience will facilitate better uptake of research into policy.

Read the blog here
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