Boosting research impact: Policy engagement for Early-Career Researchers

Boosting research impact: Policy engagement for Early-Career Researchers

In this webinar held on 8th May 2024, a panel of experts discussed opportunities and challenges to policy engagement by ECRs.

Key messages

The Chair, Professor Ole Petersen, introduced the speakers and the partners involved in the event – Academia Europaea, the Learned Society of Wales and its ECR Network.

The opening speaker, Katherine Welch Deputy (Director of Partnerships, UCL Public Policy), gave a broad overview of what policy is, and how policy is informed by evidence. She explained that policymaking is not a linear process but is complex, with many bodies and relationships involved in delivering a policy outcome. She outlined some of the key stakeholders in the UK policy ecosystem.

Researchers have huge scope for engagement across the policy landscape, and Katherine highlighted some of the benefits to researchers and their institutions. There are many ways in which researchers can engage, and there is no single ‘right way’. She provided several suggestions of activities that researchers might consider. She then listed a number of ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ of policy engagement, alongside a set of resources. 

In response to a question about whether there would be a boom in published policy reports, Katherine suggested that it was more important to think about the process of policy engagement

The next speaker, Dr Jack Price (Research Associate, Wales Centre for Public Policy), described the role of the Wales Centre for Public Policy, and how it works with policymakers in Wales. It is a generalist centre, providing evidence across a range of devolved areas of policymaking. It aims to ensure that its outputs are accessible to a broad audience of non-specialists. He also went through some ‘do’s’ and don’ts’ of providing evidence to policymakers.

In response to a request for an example of a policy ‘hook’, Jack gave the example of free preschool meals in Wales, and how this had been ‘hooked’ to food nutritional standards as a means of linking research evidence to policy priorities.

The final speaker, Dr Stephany Mazon (Scientific Policy Officer, Young Academies Science Advice Structure), outlined the new Young Academies Science Advice Structure (YASAS), which brings together young academies from around Europe. She described its work in attracting more early- and mid-career researchers (EMCRs) into the European Scientific Advice Mechanism. She highlighted a survey and a literature review that had been conducted to examine some of the opportunities and barriers to policy engagement by EMCRs.

Following the speaker presentations, areas of discussion included: scholarship and how academic rigour is conveyed to policymakers; how early-career researchers can become members of networks such as young academies or a policy engagement network like UPEN; how to incentivise policy engagement work; the evolution of a broader concept of ‘impact’; and greater recognition of policy engagement activities.   

For more details, watch the recording or view the slides.

Watch the webinar


Useful links

Updated 14th May 2024. For further information please contact

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