Opportunities for Knowledge Brokerage within the new Research and Innovation Bill

Last week our CEO Dr Inez Bailey gave her view on the next steps for research and innovation policy and funding in Ireland at the Westminster Policy Forum for Ireland conference. Here’s a summary of what she said.

“At CES we’re very interested in how research and evidence can inform policy and bring about improvements in public services, and social development.  

The new proposals outlined in the Research and Innovation Bill present an opportunity to enable this further.  

The importance of ‘knowledge brokerage’ in bridging the gap

Our research system produces a lot of new knowledge, but bringing the right knowledge, at the right time, and in the right format to policy makers has been a persistent challenge.  

Knowledge brokerage makes evidence more usable by policy makers and enables them to access evidence from a variety of sources.

The complex problems addressed by policy makers require a variety of evidence from different disciplinary areas and sources. While civil servants and policy makers may have expert knowledge on policy and some contextual knowledge on a specific area, it is extremely difficult for them to have a depth of knowledge across an array of disciplines and sectors.  

And while universities and academic researchers are always generating new knowledge and evidence, it may not align with the immediate goals and requirements of policy makers.  

To bridge this gap, knowledge brokers need to understand the information needs of policy makers as well as the format, language and timing elements of those needs. In parallel, knowledge brokers need to understand the variety, type and format of knowledge generated by knowledge makers in the university and research sectors and be able to interpret and augment that knowledge for use in practice by policy makers. 

Knowledge brokerage makes it easier to apply a multidisciplinary approach to support more effective policy development. It can also be used to support universities and academic researchers in developing research with high societal impact.  

CES role in the research ecosystem

The R&I bill is an important step in the emergence of a new research ecosystem, and CES wants to bring our rich experience as a knowledge broker into this ecosystem as it develops.

We have been involved in knowledge brokerage since 2008, working with government departments and agencies in Ireland and Northern Ireland to address questions and information deficits, using and building upon knowledge and evidence developed by universities and other research organisations. We work with several universities on the translation and implementation of evidence. This places us at the interface between knowledge producers and knowledge users and enables them to create meaningful impact for people in our community.  

At CES we believe that everyone can and should have excellent public services and we want to play our part in that. We are looking forward to seeing how the proposals in the R&I Bill develop.”

For more information on how CES can help bridge the gap between knowledge production and knowledge use in policy and practice please contact us at newprojects@effectiveservices.org


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