A long wall of bookshelves is lit softly by lots of hanging lightbulbs. The bookshelves are so long that they disappear into the distance.
A compilation of information and guidance on policy engagement referred to elsewhere in this series.

Guidance note 4: Some useful resources on policy engagement

This Guidance Note provides a compilation of useful online sources of information, guidance and discussion on the topic of policy engagement which are referred to elsewhere in this series. It is not a complete bibliography of all the sources referenced in the Notes, just a sample of those that we felt would be most useful for further reading.

  1. The Policy Engagement Team’s own webpage, which also provides links to a wealth of University of Oxford resources to support researchers.
  2. The UK government’s Areas of Research Interest – the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s June 2020 update of its ARI is of particular relevance to researchers interested in international policy engagement.
  3. Also of special relevance is the Department for International Development’s Research for Development programme. The future of these research interests following the FCO/DFID merger remains to be seen.
  4. When considering the relationship between policy engagement and impact, it is a good idea to be familiar with the current REF guidance on how impact is defined for the purposes of that exercise: REF 2021 Guidance on Submissions (January 2019), especially paragraphs 297-299.
  5. For researchers planning projects in developing countries, the Criteria for GCRF Funding provides useful pointers about collaboration with researchers and engagement with policy actors in the countries concerned (Global Challenges Research Fund Strategic Advisory Group).
  6. For more far-reaching practical advice on how researchers can maximise their impact, Professor Mark Reed of Newcastle University has provided extensive advice in Reed, M.S. (2018), The Research Impact Handbook, 2nd Edition, available as an e-book at the link. We would counsel reading the whole book, which presents a very shrewd view of how policy-making really works, rather than just the advice on preparing policy briefs.
  7. Useful advice from within government on how research programmes should seek to engage with policy actors is provided in Research Uptake: A Guide for DFID-funded Research Programmes (2016). Even after the DFID/FCO merger the general advice here should still hold good.
  8. A deeper theoretical dive into the relationship between research and policy-making is provided by Vanesa Weyrauch in Weyrauch, V. et al (2016), Knowledge into Policy: Going beyond “Context Matters”, INASP and Politics & Ideas.
  9. Also worth a look for a discussion of different ways of conceiving the processes of policy-making is Dr Michael Hallsworth’s report for the Institute for Government: Hallsworth, M. et al (2011), Policy Making in the Real World: Evidence and Analysis (London: Institute for Government).
  10. An extremely interesting series of blogs on topics related to policy engagement and the use of evidence to address societal challenges is published by the Transforming Evidence collaboration.
  11. Another valuable resource is the material published by the University of Edinburgh’s Edinburgh Research Office, some has a distinctly Scottish orientation but much is of more general UK application, and includes useful guidance on international engagement and official development assistance funding for research.
  12. Finally, the Universities Policy Engagement Network, UPEN, is a community of UK universities committed to increasing the impact of research on policy. While the focus of most of its work is on engagement with the UK government, parliament and devolved bodies, it publishes an excellent and rapidly-growing series of blogs on a wealth of related issues.