Engaging with civil servants or councillors, MSPs and MPs can be an excellent route to realising the impacts of your research and practice. Whether, you submit written evidence, provide oral testimony, or act as an independent advisor there are many formal and informal ways of engaging. The direct or indirect influence of your parliamentary engagement, can affect real, positive change for regions and nations, changing the lives of millions of people.
Ways of Engaging
The Scottish Parliament outlines ways in which academics can engage with the Parliament on their website, including the following.
- Academic Fellows - The annual Fellowship Scheme enables academics at a senior (post-PhD) career level to spend time working with SPICe on a specific project which will have mutual benefit to the academic and to the Scottish Parliament.
- Respond to a current consultation. If you are providing written evidence, the Style Writing Guide is recommended reading.
- Present your research at the Scottish Parliament, including the popular Wednesday morning breakfast seminars.
- Engage with Scottish Parliament's committees. An outline of the 2018/19 Scottish Parliament committees' work programme can be found here.
- Hosting a Parliamentary Committee in August. This is an important time for committees as they set the legislation for the next year.
- PhD student policy internships - Offered through UKRI.
Universities Policy Engagement Network - UPEN
The University of Dundee is proud to be part of the Universities Policy Engagement Network (UPEN). UPEN is network of UK universities who are working together to increase the public policy impact from their research.
UPEN offers a dedicated contact point for policymakers, and a collective response to requests for evidence.
It organises knowledge exchange events with government, parliament, devolved bodies, and identifies mechanisms to take forward specific projects.
Our University membership gives us access to events for members, organised by UPEN.
Jon Urch is the University of Dundee's contact person for UPEN.
The Scottish Parliament Academia Network - SPAN
It is very clear that the clerks and the researchers of the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) are seeking the expert and impartial advice from academics across Scotland. The University is proud to partner with SPICe in the Scottish Parliament Academia Network (SPAN). This is just one of the formal and informal methods we use to engage with the Scottish Parliament.
The network was set up in 2014 between SPICe, Scotland’s Futures Forum, Beltane and Scottish Universities Insight Institute to encourage collaboration and knowledge exchange between the Scottish Parliament and the academic community. For the past 5 years the network has run 2 events a year aimed at knowledge exchange professionals, as well as academics and Parliament staff.
The University has prepared a Scottish Parliament Engagement Briefing Sept18 based on advice from SPAN. This network has also created the Ask-academia mailing list, which clerks and researchers use to share information directly with Scottish universities.
For information on our city and regional MSPs, we have also prepared a briefing sheet on the Parliamentary Work of MSPs in North East Scotland.
Jon Urch is the University of Dundee's contact person for SPAN.
Scottish Policy & Research Exchange - SPRE
The University is also a member of the Scottish Policy & Reseach Exchange. SPRE supports researchers and officials as they seek smart solutions to policy challenges. It is a network of professionals working together to deliver evidence-informed policy in practice. There activities fall in three broad areas.
- Training and mentoring opportunities delivered in conjunction with partners
- Digital platforms providing tools for researchers and policy professionals
- Bespoke tools addressing particular policy challenges