The use of evaluation in six Norwegian directories

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Øyunn Syrstad Høydal, PhD candidate, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences (HIOA)

This blog post informs a talk at the SKAPE seminar on 13 December 2017

10 years ago, I started work in the communication department of a Norwegian directorate. My background was from the private sector and one of the first things that caught my attention was all the fuss about evaluations. Evaluations were presented by the leadership as some kind of new magic medicine: providing knowledge, educating the organization and its partners, changing policies and making the world a better place. All this got me interested in the phenomenon of evaluation.

At present, I am doing a PhD project in the field of evaluation research at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied . Allthough evaluation is considered an important source of knowledge in the Norwegian political administrative system, hardly any research is done on the public use of evaluations and the consequences of an increase in evaluation activity (more…)


Everyday stories of impact: interpreting knowledge exchange in the contemporary university

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Dr Peter MatthewsSenior Lecturer, University of Stirling

This blog post is based on a talk at the SKAPE seminar on 8 November 2017

Questions bout sexual and gender identity are in the news at the moment. The NHS in England has announced that patients will be routinely asked their sexual identity so services can be better tailored. The Office of National Statistics has caused a storm of controversy over proposals to change the way the census asks about gender and sex in 2021 to make it more trans-inclusive. (more…)


The expertise of experts-by-experience – Struggles over experience-based knowledge in Finnish participatory arrangements

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Taina Meriluoto, University of Jyväskylä, Finland, taina.meriluoto@jyu.fi

This blog post is based on a talk at the SKAPE lunchtime seminar on July 5th 2017.

In early 2010’s, I was employed in a Finnish Civil Society Organisation working within the social welfare sector. I was in charge of a project whose objective was to ‘bring the organisation back to its roots’ – to remind a deeply professionalized organisation about the value of volunteers and members, and more profoundly, introduce ‘a participatory approach’ in the organisation’s core activities. (more…)


Why journalists should engage with their readers: a view from Slovakia

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A blogpost by Simon Smith, Charles University*

What happens when journalists join in the discussion in the often-frightening comments section below their articles? That’s one of the questions I sought to answer in my book, Discussing the News: the uneasy alliance of participatory journalists and the critical public, published earlier this year as part of the Palgrave Studies in Science, Knowledge & Policy that SKAPE edits.

In traditional newspaper culture, journalists do not often engage with their readers. So, as a researcher I jumped at the chance of witnessing an attempt to foster a more conversational relationship between journalists and the public at the newly-founded Slovak daily, Denník N

(more…)


Sex, drugs and activism: making HIV treatment as prevention available in the UK

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Dr Ingrid Young, CSO-Chancellor’s Fellow, Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics, University of Edinburgh

This article was originally published on Sociology Lens on 12 April 2017

On 10 April 2017, the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) announced that PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) – the use of HIV treatment in people who are HIV-negative to prevent HIV – would soon be available on the NHS. This is a landmark decision for the use of HIV treatment as prevention in the UK, making Scotland the first – and currently only – country to provide PrEP through the NHS.

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Between excellence and relevance: academic research, policy and the making of research impact

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In recent years, research impact has emerged to become a part of the everyday life of UK academics. The underlying logic of the impact agenda, as reflected in policy documents, is that excellent research would lead to societal benefits (see for example RCUK). But how do these policy expectations fit with the realities of knowledge exchange and impact work? This question is at the heart of my upcoming SKAPE presentation, in which I will offer some early findings emerging from my PhD project, which studies academics involved in knowledge exchange organisations.

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Targets for climate change policy: a special case?

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Authors: Prof. Steve Yearley and Dr. Eugénia Rodrigues

A recent report by the CCC (the Committee on Climate Change) made its low-key way to Parliament (‘The compatibility of UK onshore petroleum with meeting the UK’s carbon budgets’). In it a key message: shale gas exploitation, commonly known as ‘fracking’, if it is carried out on a significant scale, will be incompatible with the UK’s climate change targets. To be clear, this means for instance that both the UK carbon budgets, and the 2050 commitment to reducing emissions by at least 80% would be compromised. (more…)


Rethinking Research Impact: How could knowledge about science and policy inform the UK’s research impact incentive structures?

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Academics working in the UK are being increasingly encouraged and incentivized to seek research impact beyond the academy and the consequences of these changes have caused alarm for some. In a new article in the Journal of Social Policy, we outline a range of concerns that have been raised in publications to date, across disciplines, and then present an interview based case study of 52 academics working on health inequalities during the decade in which the UK’s current research impact architecture has evolved. We assess these concerns in the context of impact-related guidance from research funders and REF2014 panels.  Our findings highlight a range of problems with the current approach to measuring, assessing and rewarding research impact.

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Target setting, Accountability and Defence Procurement

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Authors :  Hilary Cornish and Graham Spinardi

The recent discussion in parliament, which passed the motion to replace Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent submarines, was a rare occasion where a defence procurement decision hit the headlines. The MoD’s current estimate for four new submarines is £31bn, with a planned contingency of £10bn, a figure that has already grown from the previous £25bn estimate.  However, whether the new submarines can be delivered within this budget, and crucially within the planned schedule, is difficult to predict given the realities of major defence procurement projects, as evidenced by the problems with procurement of the astute class submarine. More generally the past record of the MoD in delivering to targets set for procurement by Public Service Agreements (PSAs) highlights the difficulties faced in achieving cost and schedule targets.

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Book Review: Publics and Their Health Systems: Rethinking Participation by Ellen Stewart

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Drawing on a detailed case study of Scotland’s National Health Service, Publics and Their Health Systems: Rethinking Participation is a novel contribution to the growing academic engagement with the institutionalisation of public participation as a routine feature of governance. Author Ellen Stewart offers a ‘citizen’s-eye view’ of the Scottish health system, challenging dominant policy narratives by exploring diverse forms of public participation around one system. Helen Pallett praises this rich empirical account, which will be vital for future theorising of public participation and for scholarly interventions into broader systems. 

Publics and Their Health Systems: Rethinking Participation. Ellen Stewart. Palgrave Macmillan. 2016.

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