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Five things I’ve learnt about working with policymakers…

In this blog Harriet Barker, Impact and Knowledge Exchange Manager at the Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research, shares some insights about bringing together academic researchers and government policymakers.

Last month I accompanied a researcher to meet with a policymaker in government, supporting them to work together to develop a research project. Afterwards, I asked the researcher (who was new to co-producing research questions in this way) how they’d found it.

They remarked: “It was great to meet them in person and get to know each other’s needs. The main thing I realised was that all the research questions I had previously thought would be relevant and useful for policy, in fact aren’t as aligned as I’d thought.

“But now I have a better understanding and know where they’re coming from, so I can design projects with this in mind and help maximise the benefit. ”

Working in impact and knowledge exchange for the Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research, and as part of the ADR Scotland team, I have been privileged to work within Scottish Government part of each week. We are focused on bringing researchers like this one together with policymakers more often, aiming to better support and understand how academic research can influence policy.

A complex context

The areas we are working on are administrative data and data linkage. The first aspect appears to be fairly straightforward – administrative data is data routinely collected by the public sector such as…


Continue at the Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research


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