Earlier this month, in partnership with the Institute of Social and Economic Research and the ESRC Research Centre for Micro-Social Change based in the University of Essex, we held four online seminars, giving eight world-leading academics the opportunity to speak about the impact of COVID-19 on gender and racial inequalities, focusing on the UK but also referencing international examples. Our experts addressed a range of topics, from housing to mental health, to harassment and perception of social cohesion.
To prepare for these sessions, and make the research as applicable as possible to a government audience, we discussed the academic's research with them beforehand and explored the best way to highlight key messages and potential policy implications. We also advised on ways to structure their fantastic research to maximise engagement with an unfamiliar audience.
The Open Innovation Team (OIT) prides itself on creating and strengthening networks between academia and policy, so we were very happy to see a high level of engagement on all sides and saw around a total of 400 government officials attend these special events.
It was fantastic to have OIT's guidance and feedback when developing the talk, which really helped me feel confident speaking more freely outside my own immediate research and more broadly about the field in general. It was heartening to see such a large audience and the level of questions was excellent too. I would be delighted to do something like this again in the future."
Professor Renee Luthra
The info about collaborating with academics sounded interesting. The Q&A section was good and [it was] useful that enough time was given to that - this helped bring the focus to discuss what government [and] the Civil Service can do in relation to the research - UK Government Official.
The series was carefully curated to appeal across departments and to cover as much as possible of our recent research on the inequalities of the impact of COVID across the population. The questions from the audience were exceptionally engaged and pertinent. This has been a really important channel for us to put evidence in front of government - Emilia Del Bono, Director of MiSoc.
With special thanks to Ben Etheridge, Birgitta Rabe, Susan Harkness, Sonia Bhalotri, Angus Holford, Amy Clair, Renee Luthra and Magda Borkowska for presenting their research.