Making science work for development

Conference on evidence-based policymaking - keynotes from the Cabinet Office and POST

9 March

The seminar is bringing together stakeholders in higher education, business and the third sector with key policymakers from across Whitehall, the devolved administrations and local authorities, and has attracted significant interest from across a number of Government departments and agencies. Officials from BEIS; Civil Service; CPS; DCDC; DCMS; Defra; DfE; DfT; DH; DIT; DWP; FCO; Food Standard Agency; Government Office for Science; HMRC; HM Treasury; Home Office; HSE; IPO; Libraries Taskforce; MoD; MoJ; National Crime Agency; NCA; Office for life sciences; Office for Low Emission Vehicles; Office for National Statistics; Office Of The Sentencing Council; Ofgem; The Insolvency Service; the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government have already booked to attend.

Areas for discussion include:

  • Breaking down barriers to a culture of evidence-based policymaking
    • Key challenges for embedding evidence-based policy across Government;
    • Managing culture clashes - how can academics better understand the needs of policymakers and their processes?
    • Communicating the evidence: when science-backed policy meets politics and public opinion; and
    • Engaging citizens in the demand for evidence-based policy.
  • Demonstrating research ‘impact’: how can academics influence better policymaking?
    • Is REF driving academics to focus on informing policy?
    • Case studies on achieving ‘impact’ in public policy;
    • Holding Government to account on evidence-based policy: opportunities for academics to utilise Select Committees; and
    • Reflections, from researchers, on giving evidence to a Select Committee.
  • Embedding evidence-based working within Government
    • Using data and evidence to improve local government decision-making;
    • The case for greater use of Randomised Controlled Trials in policymaking and the barriers to their use;
    • Going beyond data - using behavioural insights to achieve policy goals; and
    • What Works Centres - their role in policymaking, the impact so far and what more can be done.


The draft agenda is available to download here. The seminar is organised on the basis of strict impartiality by the Westminster Higher Education Forum. Follow us @WHEFEvents for live updates.