Public Policy and Administration Panel 5: Rethinking Impact: Narratives of Research-Policy Relations

Graham Hills 513
Time Slot: 
Tuesday 11th April 13:30 - 15:00
Panel Chair: 
  • Professor James Wilsdon (University of Sheffield )
Panel Members: 
  • Professor Paul Cairney (University of Stirling)
  • Professor Claire Dunlop (University of Exeter)
  • Professor Christina Boswell (University of Edinburgh)

This panel takes a critical look at the assumptions underpinning approaches to ‘impact’ and ‘knowledge exchange’ in the UK research environment. The Research Excellence Framework, UK Research Councils and other funding bodies increasingly require political scientists to demonstrate how their research impacts policy. But what sorts of theories underpin these models? How have political scientists adjusted their research practices to respond to new expectations? And how have they gone about narrating their impact? Papers on the panel draw on literature from public policy, sociology of knowledge and science & technology studies to explore the relationship between research and policy. We unpack some of the (often simplistic) assumptions behind prevalent models of impact. And we analyse REF 2014 impact case studies, to consider how political scientists have gone about narrating the impact of their work on policy. The panel aims to foster a critical and constructive dialogue about how political scientists can and should engage with the impact agenda. And it explores whether we can develop models and guidelines that better capture the complex relationship between knowledge and policy.