Lindsay Walker, Lindsey Pike, Marsha Wood, Hannah Durrant
Access to reliable and timely evidence is essential for parliaments to effectively execute their four main functions of scrutiny, legislation, debating and financial oversight. Sources of evidence can be diverse, with academic research only one type of information that is used in parliamentary processes.
A substantial recent study, led by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST), examined the role of academic research in the UK Parliament. Findings revealed that, while research in its broadest sense is useful for parliamentary work, challenges remain, with academic research still “not cutting through”. General surveys and follow-up interviews – including with MPs, MPs’ staff, parliamentary staff and peers – identified lack of accessibility and poor communication as challenges to the use of academic research. For example, evidence in academic sources was commonly thought to be presented in a complicated way, with one MP commenting: “Academic research is usually not that user-friendly from our point of view as users”. An earlier study of UK parliamentary staff also found that academic research was seen to be “too abstruse.” Continue reading
Science can inform how society is run so research can have implications for public and private policy. But how? How can research feed into policy-making, i.e. evidence-based policy? For those who don’t have a clue about parliamentary actions or how they relate to academics’ work the “Research, Impact and the UK Parliament” event series is a good way to get to grips with Parliament and research.
Starting at 10 a.m. we pinned name badges to our shirts and busied ourselves by riffling through the Houses of Parliament tote bags placed on our seats. Thankfully the event did not require much prior knowledge since it was assumed the majority of attendees were ignorant about the workings of Parliament and so the first presentation was a 30 minute crash course on the subject. Continue reading
Cressida Auckland, a Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) Fellow
Chandy Nath, acting Director of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST)
What could Brexit mean for UK science? What impact will it have on UK fisheries? Could Brexit be bad news for emissions reductions? These were just some questions discussed at a Parliamentary conference last week, organised by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST), the Commons Library and Parliament’s Universities Outreach team.
MPs researchers, Parliamentary staff and academic researchers from across the country came together to consider some of the key policy areas affected by the UK’s decision to leave the EU.
The 2015 general election portends an era of ‘dangerous’ women having undue influence on British politics come May the 8th, if the print and social media are to be believed. Nicola Sturgeon – variously depicted as Miley Cyrus’ ‘wrecking ball’, Putinesque, the woman ‘holding all the aces’ and the ‘most dangerous woman of all’ will be pulling Ed Miliband’s strings. The women’s hug at the end of the Opposition leader’s debate epitomises an apparently ‘red sisterhood’ that will leave the Labour leader defenceless in the face of their collective seductive powers. To make matters worse, Ed’s ‘girly laugh’ (as Guido Fawkes put it) renders him insufficiently manly for the Premiership. All of this might be discounted as election banter, colourful to be sure, but nonetheless underpinned by legitimate concerns about post-election governing arrangements. Be that as it may. Such depictions also re-present Westminster politics as male, opposing and privileging the ‘male-politician-norm’ with the ‘female-politician-pretender’.