Professor Judith Phillips, Deputy Principal (Research)
It is my pleasure to write the first post for the University of Stirling Public Policy Blog. The blog will be a centre of expert comment and analysis on matters of interest to politicians and policymakers in Scotland, the UK, and around the world. Drawing on the expertise of the University’s researchers, blog posts will provide insights into topical policy debates from individuals and groups whose research is challenging thinking, and changing lives.
Some politicians might suggest that we have “had enough of experts”, but the reality is that the world needs expertise more than ever before. The challenges facing policymakers across the globe are immense and complex, from food security and climate change through to the disruptive influence of digital technologies and automation. How do we plan for an ageing population? How do we maintain economic growth when the world’s resources are finite? In this context, how do we create policies that are fair and effective?
These are the critical questions that we must answer. Working with governments, politicians and stakeholders, our researchers are well placed to provide insights and evidence to develop policies that make a genuine difference to individuals and communities.
The University’s research is encompassed within three overarching themes: Cultures, Communities and Society; Global Security and Resilience; and Living Well. Together, these themes encompass the significant contribution that our researchers are making to both policy and practice, helping to understand the changing world around us and to develop effective, timely interventions.
Exciting developments at the University will enhance this contribution. As part of the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal, the University is establishing a £5m Research and Policy hub as part of an International Environment Centre. Working hand in hand with businesses, regulators and practitioners, the cutting-edge facility will focus on environmental regulation and governance, offering innovative solutions to policymakers and businesses to place responsibility and sustainability at the centre of the drive to be more productive.
The potential for academic research to inform effective, evidence-based policy has never been stronger. However, the road to success requires meaningful dialogue between those conducting research, and those developing policy proposals. This blog will play a small but significant role in driving that conversation. We welcome comments and discussion of the ideas and proposals set out in our posts, and encourage those who want to work closer with us to get in touch.
If the past few years have demonstrated anything, it is that politics is nothing if not unpredictable. Whatever direction future debates may take, I know that researchers at the University of Stirling can make a significant contribution to developing robust and workable policies that have a measurable impact. To put it simply, our research makes the difference.