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Officials and Scholars Working Together

The Scottish Policy and Research Exchange supports researchers and officials as they seek smart solutions to policy challenges. It is a network of professionals working together to deliver evidence-informed policy in practice.

Who We Are

The Scottish Policy and Research Exchange (SPRE) is a network of researchers and officials based within Scottish universities, research centres and policymaking institutions.

We represent many disciplines, professional backgrounds and methodological approaches, we work to different timescales and face different demands but we are united around the belief that rigorous and impartial research has a vital role in the policy process.

What We Do

SPRE helps researchers and policymakers to collaborate more effectively. We aim to expand the evidence base and range of expert voices available to the policy community and to help scholars – especially within the social sciences – to maximise the impact of their research. Our activities fall into three broad categories:

  • Training and mentoring opportunities delivered in conjunction with partners
  • Digital platforms providing tools for researchers and policy professionals
  • Bespoke tools addressing particular policy challenges

Why We Do It

We believe that research-informed policy is better policy. We are committed to the idea that the effective use of research and evidence can improve both how policy is made and the outcomes it produces.
We believe in the benefits of increasing the diversity of the voices contributing to the evidence base for policy. We understand the need for researchers to demonstrate the impact of their research and are committed to recognising the role they play.

The Network

The Scottish Policy and Research Exchange is a network of individuals but receives support from the universities, policymaking institutions and learned societies in which those people work. Strategic guidance for the project is provided by a steering group comprising experts from the academic and policy communities.

Staff

Nick Bibby

Director

Scottish Policy and Research Exchange

Nick is a policy engagement professional with a background in journalism and higher education. He helped establish SPRE and was appointed as the project’s first director at the beginning of 2019.

Governance

Rebekah Widdowfield

Chair

SPRE Steering Group

Rebekah is Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. She has a background in academia and government, researching housing and homelessness, rural and environmental science and analysis, social research (as Scottish Government Chief Researcher) and higher education.