How can academics engage with policy making?

Contributing to evidence-based policymaking

By sharing your knowledge, at various stages of your research and at various touchpoints in the policymaking process, you can contribute to evidence-based policymaking. You can:
  • talk to parliamentarians and their staff
  • give evidence at a Select Committee (written or oral).
  • lobby MPs
  • talk to civil servants
  • engage with Interest Groups
  • engage with lobbyists
  • build networks and relationships.

When can you engage with policymaking?

You can engage with policymaking at any time during your research or at any stage in the policymaking process. You can engage multiple times, with multiple policy shapers.

As one potential pathway to impact, it can useful to think about affecting, critiquing, or contributing evidence while your research is ongoing.

Before you engage with policy makers and policymaking, you need to identify where your research can make a difference.

  • What policy areas are the most appropriate for your research?
  • Where can your research make or shape policy?
  • Who does it ‘speak’ to?
  • Are you reactive or proactive?

How do you actually engage?

Like you, policy makers are busy people. When you have identified where your research ‘fits’, you then need to think about how you can communicate that research to them in the most effective way.

You don’t need to wait for an appointment or for a ‘call for evidence’ for a particular policy stage.

You can: write, email, phone, engage on social media

You can also keep aware of news from departments or interest groups that work within your interests so that you hear of ‘calls for evidence’ when they become available and engage then, too.

How do you know who to talk to?

So, you know what your research can do, and you know that you can talk to policy actors, but who should you talk to?

  • Identify any groups who work in your area of research and join forces.
  • Identify an MP and contact them and/or their staff. It does not have to be your local MP. Think about which MP is already engaged with your area of research (reactive) or who might be interested in solving a particular problem (proactive).
  • Think about organisations like POST, or a particular governmental department and contact relevant civil servants within that department or organisation.
  • Identify cross-parliamentary groups which might want to use your written or oral evidence.
  • Keep an eye on our news feed and our recommended Twitter accounts for ‘calls for evidence’ for select committees and all-party parliamentary groups.
  • Use your policy networks.

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