Research impact: how academics can grab policy makers’ attention

Universities should do more to get policymakers to visit campuses, while think tanks can help academics communicate their research

As academics face increased pressure to prove the impact that their research is having on the wider world, universities are considering how they can communicate more effectively with policymakers.

There are fundamental problems that confront the relationship between academics and politicians. The rules, incentives and institutional architectures that distinguish the academic field are different from those of the policy landscape.

Policymakers often have relatively tight timeframes when compared to academics: they frequently want short, clearly written synopses of research that can throw light on their policy problems.

In contrast, academics are driven by the need to secure grants and get published in high quality journals.Their research may take five years or more – the length of a parliament. Having been trained to think carefully and at length about the problems they confront, they find responding to the more immediate demands of policymakers a challenge. How can these difficulties be overcome?…

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