Public engagement and research impact

Our ambition is for research to achieve impact through dissemination activities, and engagement with academic, professional and wider publics.

Our research is theoretically informed, empirically grounded and politically and socially relevant. Our findings, especially from problem-oriented projects, have a high potential for influencing public debates and policies.

Public engagement and dissemination as an important part of the research process in SPAIS. Researchers from the School make regular contributions in the media, in Britain and internationally, contributing to debate and disseminating their research. Some contribute to policy making, and feed into thinking within third sector organisations and NGOs. Others are public intellectuals, active as opinion leaders in public debates.

One important example where research from within the School has shaped the understanding of a public problem and changing the law is the Innocence Project led by Dr Michael Naughton. This initiative has produced leading academic publications and transformed legal debates and practices about the criminal justice system, by bringing to light perceived problems in the evidence used to convict prisoners.

Further examples, include:

  • The regular role of Professor Tariq Modood as a public commentator on Multiculturalism on television, radio and in the press.
  • Professor Sarah Childs scholarship, media work and contributions in policy circles on the question of gender and political representation.
  • Sixteen SPAIS staff contributed to Thinking Futures Festival in November 2012. Contributions to the public events included discussions of the Eurozone crisis, international development, multiculturalism, racism, security challenges.
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