Ever wondered what role research and evidence plays in policymaking? Have you considered how your research can help inform policy? Do you know how to engage with policymakers?

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.


Upcoming Seminars

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Past PEPtalks

PEPtalk Nine: Navigating the Labyrinth

21 March 2024

In the past 30 or so years our understanding of research and evidence use has broadened – moving from linear views of an evidence use ‘pipeline’ to an appreciation of the dynamic ways in which various forms of evidence and knowledge are combined to bring about policy and practice change. This more nuanced understanding has led to a proliferation of terminologies to describe how groups of people produce, share and use knowledge together and a labyrinth of approaches and possibilities. In this presentation I will reflect on some of the issues that this landscape presents for those working at the interface of evidence and policy and suggest some ways of navigating these. 

This event was not recorded.

PEPtalk Eight: Converting Proposals to New Clean Power

28 November 2023

The 19th-century twin energy policy goals have been to improve energy security and expand access. These goals powered the Industrial Revolution, however a third problem emerged: the climate crisis. Some of the main stakeholders in the UK energy sector operate as natural monopolies and are heavily regulated through government policies. There are sweeping policy changes on the horizon. Our Peptalk focuses on what these policies are, how key players in the sector are responding to the policies and how academics can be engaged in shaping the glide path to a robust British energy system.

This event was not recorded.

PEPtalk Seven: Relational Approaches to Navigating Policy Impact

26 October 2023

Many researchers and practitioners have highlighted not only the unattainability of current technical approaches to policy engagement. 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.

PEPtalk Six: Turning Research into Impact

21 September 2023

In PEPtalk six, CEE Director of Policy Sean Field discussed ‘impact’ at universities in the UK and the role which policy engagement can play in gaining and demonstrating research impact. In particular, Sean focused on parliamentary calls for evidence as a prime example of gaining impat through engagement.   

PEPtalk Five: Receiving and engaging with research evidence

9 March 2022

In PEPtalk five, we heard from Dr Nuala Gormley (Scottish Government), and Prof Stephen Gethins (currently the University of St Andrews). With broad experience of engaging with research evidence from their respective positions within the Scottish Government, they talked about the government’s research and research engagement landscape, and how policymakers identify, receive, and engage with research evidence in the policy development process.

This event was not recorded.

PEPtalk Four: Achieving and Capturing Policy Impact

2 February 2022

In PEPtalk four we heard from Laura Bates, University of St Andrews’ Head of Research Impact, Dr Martin Smith (School of Chemistry) and Dr David McCollum (School of Geography & Sustainable Development). They talked about support structures are available to academics at the University of St Andrews wishing to achieve policy impact, shared their own experiences of policy engagement, and provided insights into ways in which policy impact can be captured (e.g. in REF Impact Case Studies).

PEPtalk Three: Policy Briefs

16 June 2021

PEPtalk three: Policy Briefs was delivered by Mr Nick Bibby, a policy engagement professional and the director of the Scottish Policy and Research Exchange (SPRE). During the event, Nick provided an overview of the policy brief format and purpose, and offer practical advice on how to produce a policy brief that is informative, engaging, accessible and fit for purpose.

PEPtalk Two: Policy Engagement Practice in the Scottish Parliament

19 May 2021

Mr Alasdair Reid, Senior Researcher at the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) discussed academic engagement opportunities in the Scottish Parliament. How does the Parliament use academic research in policymaking? What knowledge exchange and policy engagement pathways are available in the Scottish Parliament? What can academics do to best position themselves for engagements with the policy realm?

PEPtalk One: Engaging with Policymakers

14 April 2021

This event saw presentations from Professor Raphael Heffron (University of Dundee), Professor Nicola McEwen (University of Edinburgh) and Professor John Wilson (University of St Andrews) who shared with us their experiences of policy engagement.

How did they get involved with policy? What are some of the practicalities of policy engagement? What challenges and opportunities await academics in the policy world in Scotland and beyond?