How Can Academics and NGOs Work Together? Some Smart New Ideas
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Just finished ‘Interaction’, a thought-provoking report on ‘How can academics and the third sector work together to influence policy and practice’. Written by Mark Shucksmith for the Carnegie UK Trust, the report has some good research and new suggestions on a hoary old topic.
First up, a striking stat that underlines the imbalance in size and resources between academia and the third sector (voluntary organizations, NGOs etc): a total of 200,000 academics work in UK universities. Wow.
But that is not translating into influence. Based on a survey of 484 policy makers and practitioners, the report reaches this overall finding:
‘Evidence from university research was the most trusted (always or usually trusted by 68% of respondents), but one of the least-used sources of evidence (frequently used by only 35% of respondents). Instead, evidence tended to be gleaned from the internet and the media, even though these sources were much less trusted. Third-sector organisations’ research (and especially that of think tanks) was less trusted than university research, but their outputs were more likely to be read than those from academia.’
Implication? ‘There is clear scope for universities and third-sector organisations to explore working together to influence policy and practice, building on the trust enjoyed by university research, while also capitalising on voluntary and community organisations’ apparently greater success in reaching policy and practice.’