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Presentation at the PSA's Universities Matter event 26 September 2013 at the LSE
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Presentation at the PSA's Universities Matter event 26 September 2013 at the LSE

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  • Source: Bastow, Dunleavy and Tinkler (2014). Taken from HESA Statistics, 2010-11. Notes: Government Research Councils includes MRC, EPSRC, BBSRC, ESRC, NERC, STFC, and AHRC, plus the Royal Society, British Academy and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. So when we started to look at this issue, we began by looking at how much money government spends on academic research as one aspect of how much it values it. When we look at the total funding received by university research, we can see that around 12% goes to the social sciences. Of this, the biggest chunk at around 8% is from government from research council grants but also via directly funded contracts. But this is dwarfed by the 85% of funding that goes to the STEM subjects
  • Source: Bastow, Dunleavy and Tinkler (2014). Totals taken from Departmental websites or FOI requests.We then wanted to unpick a bit more the funding coming from government but not via research councils. So at the money that government departments choose to spend on research that they had commissioned or where they partnered with academic institutions.
  • Source: PPG (2008). Note: These data are based on a study that we carried out for the British Academy in 2008 on impacts of humanities and social science research.This gives a snapshot picture of which departments in UK central government showed most linkages or references to universities, academic research centres and labs in early 2007. Must remember that government bodies rarely link policy ideas directly to academic sources.
  • Source: Bastow, Dunleavy and Tinkler (2014). Google web searches found around 850 references in government and public sector domains in the UK and abroad to academics included in our dataset, amounting to 3.5 per cent of all references to them. As you can see, UK social science is being used extensively by overseas governments. In total we found 66% of references to our academics were from overseas.
  • Source: Avery and Desch (2011) Policymakers Survey. The Carnie Policy Relevance Project. http://www3.nd.edu/~carnrank/policymakerssurvey.htm. Policymakers were also asked what they used evidence for. 71% said it was to provide intellectual background, 17% to help provide a common language and only 12% said they used it directly. Interesting point for the What Works Centres as to what the demand for evidence is within government, how well used it will be and really difficult issues such as what will policymakers do when the evidence goes against the policy.
  • Source: Adapted from Avery and Desch (2011) Policymakers Survey. The Carnie Policy Relevance Project. In the era of big data, the most useful methods were case studies and qualitative narratives rather than quantitative evidence.
  • Source: Bastow, Dunleavy and Tinkler (2014). Visualisation by Amy Ricketts.But there are clearly still disconnects between social science researchers and policymakers. One key problem that we identified was the size of the community that helps to communicate and translate academic work to those within government, or business or civil society. This we call the ‘mediating middle’ and as you can see the STEM subjects have a greater percentage of mediating middle references. The science communication industry is large and well funded. And this is one place where learned societies such as PSA can play such a valuable role.
  • Source: Bastow, Dunleavy and Tinkler (2014). But just to end, the distinction and divisions between the social sciences and STEM disciplines are growing less relevant as the issues that research is dealing with become more complex and interdependent. We see a move towards human-dominated systems with social sciences at its heart.
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    • 1. How government utilises social science research Jane Tinkler LSE Public Policy Group 26 SEP Universities Matter: How Academic Social Science Contributes to Public Policy Impact © Bastow, Dunleavy and Tinkler 2013
    • 2. The Impact of the Social Sciences project • Three year research project looking at how academic research has impacts on government, business and civil society • The Impact of the Social Sciences blog (http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences) shares good practice from the research community on key topics of interest • All data here taken from a book by Simon Bastow, Patrick Dunleavy and Jane Tinkler (2014) The Impact of the Social Sciences: How academics and their research make a difference. London: Sage. (http://www.uk.sagepub.com/booksProdDesc. nav?prodId=Book241492)
    • 3. Over half of funding for social science research comes from UK government Source: Adapted from Figure 1.6 from Bastow, Dunleavy and Tinkler (2014) The Impact of the Social Sciences: How academics and their research make a difference. London: Sage.
    • 4. DEFRA Education DCLG DfID DWP 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 ExpenditurebyUKgovernmentdepartmentson socialscienceresearchfromUKuniversities(£m –deflatedat2012prices) But within individual departments funding trends are generally downwards (with one radical outlier) Source: Figure 6.11 from Bastow, Dunleavy and Tinkler (2014) The Impact of the Social Sciences: How academics and their research make a difference. London: Sage.
    • 5. Usage of academic research varies across Departments, 2008 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90100110120 Innovation, universities & skills HM Revenue and Customs Communities and Local Government Ministry of Justice Business & enterprise Culture, media and sport HM Treasury Transport Environment, food, & rural affairs Education Health International development Work and pensions Home Office Research activity score Research reports carried out by academic institutions Source: Figure 6.6 from Bastow, Dunleavy and Tinkler (2014) The Impact of the Social Sciences: How academics and their research make a difference. London: Sage.
    • 6. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 Computer Science History Comm & media studies Physics Law Psychology Medicine Social policy Economics Average number of external references foundUK Local or regional government UK Central Government International government Core social science disciplines are used most extensively, 2013 Source: Figure 6.7 from Bastow, Dunleavy and Tinkler (2014) The Impact of the Social Sciences: How academics and their research make a difference. London: Sage.
    • 7. Daily Few times a week Few times a month Few times a year Never 19 26 27 21 7 How often do you relate social science arguments to the work you do for the US government? (%) Daily Few times a week Few times a month Few times a year Never 8 19 32 33 7 How often do you use social science evidence in the work you do for the US government? (%) In US, national security policymakers were asked . . . Source: Avery and Desch (2011) Policymakers Survey. The Carnie Policy Relevance Project. http://www3.nd.edu/~carnrank/policymakerssurvey.htm.
    • 8. Percentages Very and somewhat useful Not very and not at all useful Net score Area studies 97 3 +95 Contemporary case studies 97 3 +94 Historical case studies 96 4 +92 Policy analysis 93 7 +87 Quantitative analysis 70 30 +40 Operations research 64 36 +28 Theory 55 45 +10 Formal models 40 60 -20 These policymakers saw some types of academic methods as more useful Source: Avery and Desch (2011) Policymakers Survey. The Carnie Policy Relevance Project. http://www3.nd.edu/~carnrank/policymakerssurvey.htm.
    • 9. One key problem for the social sciences is the relative lack of ‘mediating middle’ networks and organisation Source: Figure 2.14 from Bastow, Dunleavy and Tinkler (2014) The Impact of the Social Sciences: How academics and their research make a difference. London: Sage.
    • 10. The future is integrated Source: Figure 1.12 from Bastow, Dunleavy and Tinkler (2014) The Impact of the Social Sciences: How academics and their research make a difference. London: Sage.