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Working across Government and Academia – Insights from Cardiff and London

16 January 2020

Wales Millenium Centre and the Pierhead Building on the waterfront at Cardiff Bay.
The Pierhead building and Wales Millenium Centre on the waterfront at Cardiff Bay.

The importance of academic input into government policymaking was highlighted in a major Cardiff seminar on January 9th.

Professor Jo Hunt and Professor Dan Wincott of Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre collaborated with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, University of Liverpool and the AHRC/ESRC to bring together civil servants, academics and researchers together for the event. Sessions included an analysis of the experience from the ‘coalface’ of academics working in or with government and a discussion on how to maximise the traction of research projects.

Dr Gregory Messenger (University of Liverpool), currently seconded to the to the Foreign Office on an AHRC/ESRC funded scheme, commented:

“This event let us explore what works best to secure productive and mutually beneficial relationships across academia and government. Academics have a meaningful contribution to make to the work of government and legislative bodies, and officials are sensitive to this. Equally, policy makers can support our own research in exciting and innovative ways. This workshop let us develop conversations around working together, drawing on the experience of the participants to identify best practice, and build win-win relationships between researchers and officials.”

Professor Dan Wincott, who directs the ESRC research programme on Governance after Brexit, added:

“Academics bring invaluable and distinctive perspectives to policymaking processes. Building strong relationships with officials takes commitment and persistence, as does finding appropriate ways to communicate the findings of basic and applied research to policy makers. Equally, this work can be enormously rewarding, not least for the ways it can feed into the research process. Universities should consider how they can improve their support for academics who want to do engage with the policy process.”

The Wales Governance Centre has a strong track record of using its academic research to help inform policymaking and legislation at both the Wales and UK levels of government, particularly in the constitution, the emerging devolved tax policy sphere, and the area of criminal justice.

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