The Social Research Association (SRA) has organised a panel discussion in Belfast on 14th March 2018.
This free SRA evening event in Northern Ireland is a panel discussion of how research gets into practice – or doesn’t. What makes this possible, in Northern Ireland and further afield? What are the barriers, and what are the enablers? Does research get into practice more easily in some sectors or disciplines? If so, what can this teach others, and how?
If this appeals, why not complete the registration form here?
Walker, D. (2015) Exaggerated Claims? The ESRC, 50 Years On
This book looks at the role of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and its relationship with academics, non-university researchers, policy-makers and government.
David Walker, a journalist and former head of policy at the Academy of Social Sciences, argues that the ESRC’s founders were inspired by a vision where policy and practice-relevant social science research would be produced by both university and non-university research centres. In contrast, what materialised, so Walker contends, is a council which often funds knowledge which is “antinomian, autistic and disconnected” from the other parts of the “state apparatus” which conduct research.
Walker does recognise that Michael Young and Andrew Shonfield – the first two chairs of the ESRC – were keen advocates of “social science as policy science”. He also convincingly argues that consumers of research do not necessarily give priority to academic work but rather make use of all information that is materially relevant to their field of interest. The implication of this view is that the focus of research projects should be less influenced by what researchers themselves find interesting and more influenced by a genuine, multidirectional partnership between the various constituencies who are interested in research.
This erudite, eminently quotable and thoroughly iconoclastic book tells the story of opportunities lost; it is not an account of unequivocal failure. It is also about much more than the ESRC, as Walker has issued a clarion call to all those who believe in interdisciplinary working.
Review originally published in Reviews. Significance, 13:4 45, doi: 10.1111/j.1740-9713.2016.00943.x
Why not take a look at Matthew Taylor’s lecture entitled Why policy fails – and how it might succeed?
During an interesting lecture, Taylor, Chief Executive of the RSA, outlines his theory of change with reference to the Scottish Constitutional Convention, the ban on smoking in public places and the minimum/living wage.
He also refers to the RSA’s work on developing a model of Basic Income.
The lecture is available here.
The RSA report – Creative Citizen, creative state: the principled and pragmatic case for a Universal Basic Income – can be downloaded here.