Giving your research the Policy Factor
Policy@Exeter are a dynamic community, working to improve and increase engagement with policy within the University and further afield. We caught up with Marina Altoe to find out what gives research the ‘Policy Factor’.
The University of Exeter is the UK’s fastest-growing research university, making a difference across the world. As a Russell Group University, we are constantly seeking new ways to engage with partners and the government to build productive relationships that tackle fundamental issues facing humankind.
Our academics conduct research that impacts society, the economy, and people’s lives. But how can you make sure your research is accessible and relevant for policymakers?
The Three P’s
To know if your research has the Policy Factor, you’ll need to consider the 3 P’s.
1. PEOPLE’S LIVES – Does your research have the ability to change people’s lives?
Has your research demonstrated the effectiveness of a new treatment? Or maybe your insights can improve understanding and relations between ethnic communities? Whatever your field of study, it’s essential to identify some real-world applications of your research and what impact they could have on people’s lives.
2. PERSUASIVE EVIDENCE – Does your research offer persuasive evidence?
When working with policymakers, you will be asked to contribute your general expertise in a field and solid evidence (facts and figures), which will help them understand issues better.
Maria says: “Don’t let this discourage you. In some cases, for example, emerging fields, weaker evidence bases can be just as important to assess and present to parliamentarians, if presented persuasively.”
3. PARLIAMNETARIANS’ INTERESTS – Does your research align with Parliamentarians’ interests?
Regardless of personal interests, all Parliamentarians are regularly asked to discuss and vote on a wide variety of issues. Therefore, they will be focusing their attention on topics that are likely to come up for discussion.
Maria encourages you to ask yourself: ‘Is this likely to be used in Parliament in the next 6 to 12 months?’ Check if Parliament is considering a Bill on this topic, or if a Select Committee is planning an inquiry – keeping your finger on the pulse can be incredibly useful.
If you answered yes to all three questions, then your research has the Policy Factor!
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