Oxford's experience in Policy Engagement

The role of policy makers in shaping society cannot be overstated. However, for policy to be effective, it needs to be grounded in evidence and informed by research. This is where the engagement between researchers and policy makers becomes crucial. Oxford’s researchers and academics have a wealth of experience in engaging with policymakers and contributing to policy impact. Learn about some of their experiences and approaches here.

News, stories, and advice from policy-engaged academics at Oxford

Researchers across the University collaborate with partners in national and local governments, and arms-length bodies; in national parliaments and devolved assemblies; in civil society; in the UK, and around the world, including in international organisations, expanding the range of options open to them, and helping ensure that their decisions reckon with the latest high-quality research.

We learn from our own and others’ experience of engagement, and so have begun to collate some of ours, relating to a range of different research and policy areas. This growing collection includes written and video case studies, as well as lessons learned. Whether you’re a researcher or policymaker, we hope you’ll find these interesting and useful. You can also watch our Researcher Stories video series here. In this series researchers and their policy partners share what they have learned from working together.

For more information, including about the Oxford Policy Engagement Network, which connects more than 850 researchers and professional services staff who share a vision of public policy powered by the world’s best available research evidence and expertise, please contact the Policy Engagement Team.

Figure 1: Image source: CREDS guidance resources

Research to policy impact: strategies for translating findings into policy messages

Blog by Kay Jenkinson, Knowledge Exchange Specialist, Leverhulme Centre for Nature Recovery, University of Oxford; and Dr Sarah Higginson, Knowledge Exchange Specialist, Innovation and Engagement, Research Services, University of Oxford
Royal gallery

Getting started in Policy Engagement: pathways to engagement

As a researcher it can be difficult to know where to start with Policy Engagement. Once you have identified the potential policy implications of your research, the key is to work out who you need to talk to, think about how they could make use of your findings, and try an identify moments when your input could provide the most value.
Radcliffe Quarter buildings

Boosting Policy Engagement Through OPEN Leaders

Cervantee Wild was a 2022 recipient of the OPEN Leaders award to stimulate policy engagement activities within the Department of Primary Care Health Sciences. Here she talks about her recent experiences convening a series of talks for early- and mid-career researchers, and encourages other EMCRs to apply for a 2024 award.
Silhouette of the city of London skyline, illuminated with an orange glow by the setting sun behind.

Urgent call for UK Government to develop a heat resilience strategy

In February 2023, the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) invited leading academics to pitch ideas for a future inquiry to the panel members. The winning entry came from Oxford University academics Associate Professor Radhika Khosla (Smith School of Enterprise and Environment) and Doctor Nicole Miranda (Oxford Martin School and Department of Engineering Science), based on their research as part of the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Cooling.
electric cars charging

A Partnership in Learning by Doing: using research to engage policymakers to pave the way for electric car clubs in Oxfordshire

Dr Hannah Budnitz is a Research Associate in Urban Mobility in the Transport Studies Unit at the University of Oxford. Hannah used an Oxford Policy Engagement Network (OPEN) Seed Fund grant to work with policymakers towards demonstrating the success factors that might support electric car clubs and other electric car sharing models in towns and villages.
stakeholder engagement report cover

10 recommendations for best practice stakeholder engagement

Dr Caitlin Hafferty is a postdoctoral researcher in environmental social science based at the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford. She is an expert in public and stakeholder engagement in environmental decision-making, and is passionate about championing the contributions of social sciences to nature recovery.
a photograph of Seth Flaxman and Lucie Cluver

University of Oxford researchers work together to protect COVID-19 orphans

Associate Professor Seth Flaxman, Computer Science and Professor Lucie Cluver, Department of Social Policy and Intervention worked together alongside global organisation including the World Bank, WHO and NGOs like Save the Children to change the lives of children who lost a parent or guardian due to COVID-19.
Howard Ryland standing besides Big Ben

Life as a Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) fellow

My work with patients often involves the Mental Heath Act and my academic work is inspired by the need to develop more collaborative approaches with patients.

a group of people sitting around a table talking to one another

From Research to Policy: a masterclass in engaging the UK Parliament with scientific evidence

On Monday 20 June, Oxford Population Health collaborated with the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology to deliver a special event to inspire greater interaction between researchers and policy makers.
small shark with extended snout swimming past rocks

Enhancing marine conservation and fisheries policy in Indonesia

Our oceans are a vital source of food and income. How do we protect the marine eco-system, and the livelihoods of the people who depend on them?
boys in robes singing in a church

Lessons Learned: Mission in Revision

Researchers in the Humanities Division have contributed to a wider consultation on reform of the Church of England’s ‘Mission and Pastoral Measure’ – which will help ensure church buildings no longer needed for public worship can be better protected and used.
group of people in front of large statue surrounded by smoke

Lessons Learned: Breaking Silos in Atrocity Prevention Research and Policymaking

Researchers at the Blavatnik school of government have established a network to bring together academics and policy makers from both sides of the Atlantic to ensure atrocity prevention policy is better informed by evidence and analysis.
man working o ipad with words fake news on screen

Lessons Learned: Working with policy partners to analyse disinformation in the Russian media

Researchers have analysed multi-modal information sources to understand, and help counter, Russian disinformation in the post-COVID world.
one large elephant and two juveniles in grasslands

Lessons Learned: Tackling wildlife poaching through evidence-informed policy in Zimbabwe

An Oxford Policy Engagement Network Research Fellowship has helped improve the use of ranger-collected data to inform strategies to tackle wildlife poaching in Zimbabwe.
man wearing mask tests another man's temperature using a thermometer

Lessons Learned: Supporting policy interventions on COVID-19

Researchers at the Blavatnik School of Government have captured and shared policy responses to the COVID pandemic.
small bird on barbed wire fence with red sky behind

Lessons Learned: Engaging with policymakers to challenge penal policy

Penal policy is often driven by public opinion rather than evidence. How do we ensure effective policy, particularly around sensitive issues such as the death penalty?
Lynx walking through green heather

Lessons Learned: Improving understanding of public attitudes to lynx reintroduction in Scotland

Opinions about the possible reintroduction of the Eurasian lynx to Scotland are extremely polarised. Some people argue that reintroducing this large wild cat, which disappeared from Scotland hundreds of years ago, could help support biodiversity and promote ecosystem recovery.

cigarette smoke

7 things to know about e-cigarettes and quitting smoking

In this blog, Jamie Hartmann-Boyce from the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group and Martin Dockrell from the Office of Health Improvement and Disparities share 7 things you need to know about e-cigarettes and quitting smoking, with evidence from the Cochrane Living Review of E-cigarettes and Smoking Cessation.
Professor Eyre offers a unique perspective on the history of the environmental movement, at a time when it has gone mainstream - although he commenced his interest when one of the great social issues of the day was the demand to keep coal mines open

From OPEC to Net Zero and still optimistic: Professor Nick Eyre on 34 years as an environmentalist

Impact case studies

Now (sort of) approaching retirement, Professor Eyre offers a unique perspective on the history of the environmental movement, at a time when it has gone mainstream. When he commenced his interest, one of the great social issues of the day was the demand to keep coal mines open.

Emily Jones

Preparing the UK for a new era of trade

As the United Kingdom enters a new era of trade after leaving the European Union, the government is now tasked with developing a strategic trade policy that balances multiple stakeholder priorities.