What are the routes to policy impact? Kay Jenkinson explores in her latest blog.
In October 2020, CREDS ran the first in a series of webinars looking at some of the practical routes to planning and making research impact. As well as its research, CREDS was set up to work with a wide group of stakeholders, including policy and business, to increase the reach and impact of energy demand research, and to increase the capacity of researchers to pursue this kind of engagement.
We were inspired by a comment from a colleague reviewing funding bids that a large number of researchers seemed to have only a vague understanding of policy processes. So, this first webinar was a lockdown-friendly opportunity to share our approach, illustrated with examples and strategies. To help fill the policy knowledge gap, we provided a rapid tour of UK government, parliament and some of the governance structures at devolved and local level.
We also offered advice on contributing to those policy processes – taking relevant research findings to policy makers in a timely, accessible and welcome fashion.
Bad news – there’s not a single, simple route to policy impact.
Good news – there are reliable approaches that can help. This includes:
- investing time to develop your links with policymakers – these relationships matter
- picking up the phone – personal contact is critical
- providing research information that’s clearly relevant to policy issues and policy delivery
- being patient – it can take a while for research to work through the policy matrix.
And the best help of all may come from research colleagues who can share their experience, contacts and advice.
Beyond this, if you are a researcher new to the idea of policy impact, or you want to extend your existing network, then there are also a host of other people to help you.
CREDS is fortunate to have a specialist knowledge exchange (KE) function in its core team. Where CREDS research teams already have good policy links and networks, the KE team can provide support for this work. But we have capacity to develop new strategic policy relationships too, and our remit includes co-ordinating work across CREDS, such responding to calls for evidence. We have resources to help with clarifying policy messages, locating the right policymakers, producing briefings for policy (and other) audiences, working across CREDS themes and tracking impact. Get in touch if you’d like to speak to us about what we do and how we can help.
Banner photo credit: Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash