PEPtalk: Relational approaches to navigating policy impact
The Centre for Energy Ethics is pleased to announce its Policy Engagement Practice seminar series – PEPtalks.
Please join us and our invited speakers as we explore how researchers and policymakers can work together to tackle pressing policy issues. The aim of the seminar series is to encourage academics to engage with the policy realm and equip them with practical skills needed for those engagements.
For this event we are joined by Dr Dave Blackbell (formerly Bell), Co-Director of Scottish Policy & Research Exchange. See the abstract below.
Improving the use of research evidence and expertise in public policy is widely and increasingly regarded as imperative to improving policy outcomes. However, implicit within many efforts to facilitate this form of policy influence is a ‘technical’ framing that assumes linearity in research-policy relations, incentivises a narrow instrumental focus, and legitimises notions that researchers can assume value-neutrality.
Many researchers and practitioners have highlighted not only the unattainability of such technical approaches in practice, but also the undesirability of them – emphasising both their ineffectiveness and harms (such as its complicity in (re)producing societal inequalities). Instead, they suggest what can be considered a ‘relational’ framing as a way forward, which assumes complexity in research-policy relations, highlights learning and relationships as impacts in their own right, and places attention on the inseparability of facts and values, particularly through how problems are framed.
This session will provide an overview of these two distinct ways of making sense of research-policy relations, and explore the practical implications of putting relational approaches into practice.