Presentation on theme: "A View from the Learned Societies April McMahon. Promoting dialogue …between the academic and government communities But where do the learned societies."— Presentation transcript:
Promoting dialogue …between the academic and government communities But where do the learned societies (like the British Academy and Royal Society of Edinburgh) fit in? (It sometimes seems academics see learned societies – and Research Councils – as government, while government sees us as academics).
A (somewhat caricatured) view from academe Why are you making us work in groups? Research only works if its driven by what the researchers want to do – we know our subject best! You cant be creative to order Why should I fit in with a theme? Even in science you cant predict what research will lead to (economic or other) impact.
A (somewhat caricatured) view from government This is public money, and its right for public bodies to have a say in how it is spent. If the learned societies agree this research is so vitally important, why is it going to take you 18 months to commission it? Why cant we have an answer by next Tuesday?
Brokerage Government, universities and the learned societies are all engaged with the production of high-quality research The learned societies (and the Research Councils) have a crucial brokerage role to play, in connecting researchers and government They share aspects of this role with bodies like the Scottish Policy Innovation Forum
Advantages offered by the learned societies There can be barriers – real or perceived – to contacting universities directly Particular research questions may need a network approach, not just a good contact in a single department (though this can be vital for certain projects) The learned societies provide quality control through their established peer review mechanisms (and unlike the Research Councils, recognise researchers, not just projects).
Towards a co-production model Knowledge Transfer to Knowledge Exchange A two-way flow of ideas increases strength and depth through building relationships between communities Government may set many of the most interesting questions for policy-relevant research; funders (like the learned societies and Research Councils) can formulate an appealing programme / theme and bring in unexpected disciplinary dimensions.
For the future What models are there for developing programme proposals and reaching funding decisions more quickly in priority areas? Engaging academics: sometimes the learned societies have to lead their communities Developing funding opportunities for cooperative working, and for public engagement.
Current positive steps (Knowledge Exchange beyond the sciences – University of Edinburgh Knowledge Exchange Strategy for the College of Humanities and Social Science) Research Council funding – impact and beneficiaries British Academy Research Development Awards (BARDAs): from individual to project working Royal Society of Edinburgh pilot research awards for the arts and humanities – for workshops and networks.