Campaign supports new report on ‘The Role of Research in the UK Parliament’.

1 December 2017

Professor Shamit Saggar CBE FAcSS, Chair of the Campaign for Social Science, spoke at yesterday’s launch of a new report on ‘The Role of Research in the UK Parliament’.

Commenting on the report, Professor Saggar said:

“We at the Campaign for Social Science welcome this report with great enthusiasm. It is not only a valuable resource on the various uses of evidence and research impact in the UK parliament, but a thoroughly produced and excellent piece of research in its own right, drawing heavily on social science insight and methodologies.

“The report makes a number of poignant findings and raises thought-provoking questions. It shows that evidence of all kinds is used in parliament and draws upon myriad sources, from parliamentary institutions, independent external organisations, government departments, charities, and think tanks. At the same time, it shows that academic research is used the least. This highlights some of the difficulties and obstacles to making sure relevant research is cutting through and having the desired impact on key public debates.

“By analysing the different interpretations of research by different consumers, the report identifies factors that affect the use of evidence, including the credibility of sources, applicability to particular agendas, and ease of use. Understanding these dynamics is important to helping academics and others overcome some of the barriers to research uptake.

“Rigorous research serves a crucial function in our democracy, allowing for the creation of evidence-based policies while enabling parliament to do its job in holding government to account. This report is the beginning of a more productive and engaging dialogue between politicians and researchers on how to more effectively achieve these goals.

“The report also suggests further opportunities working with other national and international legislatures. We are eager to continue collaborating with POST and to support this ambition, in light of our own online tool-kit launched in October looking at pathways to research impact in the Welsh Government and Welsh Assembly.”

‘The Role of Research in the UK Parliament’ was a two year joint collaboration between the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), and UCL’s Department of Science, Technology and Public Policy (UCL STEaPP). Alongside the report, POST have launched an online resource helping link researchers and parliament.