Institute for Policy Research

Evidence and the Politics of Policymaking: where next?

Wed Sep 14 15:54:00 BST 2016

Date: 14th - 15th September 2016

Time: 09:30 - 5.30pm

Venue: Chancellors' Building, University of Bath

Registration in advance

How to get here: Directions to the University


The 'Evidence and the Politics of Policymaking: where next?' symposium will address current issues of critical concern regarding the ways in which evidence is used in policy, both domestically and internationally. It is being jointly organised by the Institute for Policy Research (IPR) and the Centre for Development Studies at the University of Bath, and will form part of the University’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

The symposium will focus on how research and evidence are used in contemporary policymaking, both in national and multinational contexts. Our aim is to draw together academics, politicians and policymakers to address questions such as:

  • What kind of evidence gains legitimacy in policymaking?
  • What is the implicit hierarchy of forms of evidence?
  • How do different forms of evidence, such as professional knowledge and practical wisdom, find their place alongside or against empirical, quantitative study, and the burgeoning field of data science?
  • How do policymakers use evidence, if at all, and how should they think about the relationship between evidence and policy interventions?
  • Can technocracy and democracy go together?
  • What happens to evidence when traditional policymaking structures are being reconfigured under pressure from populist political parties and other agents?
  • What is the role of policy entrepreneurs in evidence gathering and dissemination?
  • How do social movements interact with policymaking processes?

Confirmed keynote and panel speakers so far include Lord Kerslake, Former Head of the Civil Service; Douglas Alexander, former Shadow Foreign Secretary and Secretary for International Development; Professor Nancy Cartwright of Durham University and Carey Oppenheim, CEO of the Early Intervention Foundation.


Download the programme

Wednesday 14 September


 Event Room
Registration and tea and coffee
Chancellors’ Building Foyer
Level One
Welcome: Professor Nick Pearce and Dr Susan Johnson, University of Bath
Chancellors’ Building 1.12
The Rt. Hon. Douglas Alexander
The Rt. Hon. Douglas Alexander, former Shadow Foreign Secretary and Secretary for International Development in conversation with Professor Nick Pearce.
Chair: Professor Nick Pearce, IPR
Chancellors’ Building 1.12
Panel session one: Interdisciplinarity and evidence
  • Professor Graham Room, University of Bath
  • Dr David Moon, University of Bath
  • Dr Helen McCarthy, Queen Mary University of London 
Chair: Professor Nick Pearce, IPR
This panel will examine the contribution different disciplines can make to the generation and use of evidence in policymaking. A privileged place is often given to the results of quantitative studies in policymaking. If there is an implicit hierarchy of evidence in much UK policymaking, empirical results from quantitative research by economists and social scientists come at the top. But what about other research methods, the role of theory, and other disciplines, from the humanities as well as the social sciences? In this panel, our speakers will look at the critical contribution that different disciplines and theoretical approaches can make – from history and sociology, to political theory and complexity theory.
Chancellors’ Building 3.9
Panel session two: Extreme poverty and social protection: evidence and the policymaking process
  • Dr Joe Devine, University of Bath
  • Dr Theo Papadopoulos, University of Bath
  • Charles Lwanga-Ntale, Humanitarian Leadership Academy

Chair: Dr Rana Jawad, University of Bath

Social protection programmes and in particular cash transfers have been widely embraced in developing countries with increasing attention also being given to asset transfers to address extreme poverty. This policy area has been particularly strongly dominated by quantitative evidence and randomised control trials (RCTs) which have been at the core of its evidence-based policymaking discourse. This panel will reflect on the role of quantitative evidence and the dimensions of the wider policy context that this obscures, particularly in Latin America. It will present how qualitative research has been used to promote policy change in this area in Bangladesh and reflect on actual processes of policy change in both Bangladesh and East Africa.

Chancellors’ Building 3.5
Chancellors’ Building Foyer
Level One 
Panel session three: Changing what counts? Data, evidence and the reshaping of public information systems
  • Dr Tommaso Venturini, King's College London
  • Liliana Bounegru, University of Groningen and University of Ghent
  • Dr Sabine Niederer, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences
Chair: Dr Jonathan Gray, IPR

The information systems of public institutions play a crucial role in how we collectively look at and act in the world. They shape the way decisions are made, progress is evaluated, resources are allocated, issues are flagged, debates are framed and action is taken. As a United Nations (UN) report recently put it, “Data are the lifeblood of decision-making and the raw material for accountability.” 

Every information system renders certain aspects of the world visible and lets others recede into the background. Datasets highlight some things and not others. They make the world comprehensible and navigable in their own way – whether for the purposes of policy evaluation, public service delivery, administration or governance.

This panel looks at different initiatives to render public institutions sensitive to different kinds of issues and concerns by generating new data or reshaping public data infrastructures. It will look at how such initiatives engage different publics to reshape practices of measurement, monitoring and deliberation around public policy.

Chancellors’ Building 3.9
Panel session four: Social movements and policy change
  • Dr Ana Dinerstein, University of Bath
  • Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, Centre for policy Dialogue, Bangladesh
  • Dr Patta Scott-Villiers, Institute of Development Studies, Sussex

Chair: Professor James Copestake, University of Bath

This panel will examine the ways in which social movements and civil society organisations influence policymaking processes and what insights these offer for understanding processes of policy change. It will draw on experience from Bangladesh, Kenya and Latin America to examine the types of evidence and claims that are made through advocacy, voice and protest; how these claims and evidence are interpreted and responded to by policymakers; and their resulting outcomes. It will also open up questions about how social movement action and practice is translated and made (in)visible by policymakers, so necessitating new collaborative approaches to co-construction requiring permeable modes of governance.

Chancellors’ Building 3.5
Chancellors' Building Foyer 
Level One

Keynote one: Predicting Policy Outcomes: What Can the Evidence Do for You?
Professor Nancy Cartwright, University of Durham

Chair: Dr Susan Johnson, University of Bath 

Chancellors' Building 1.12 
17.10-17.20 Closing remarks: Dr Susan Johnson, University of Bath Chancellors' Building 1.12 

Thursday 15 September

Time Event Room

Welcome: Professor Nick Pearce, IPR

Chancellors’ Building 1.12

Keynote two: The UK's constitutional crisis and the essential need for greater devolution
Lord Kerslake, Former Head of the Civil Service

Chair: Professor Nick Pearce, IPR

Chancellors’ Building 1.12

Tea and coffee

Chancellors’ Building Foyer
Level One


Panel session five: Migration

  • Dr Emma Carmel, University of Bath
  • Tim Finch, Founding Director of Mirgation Communications Hub
  • Marley Morris, Research Fellow, IPPR

Chair: Professor Nick Pearce, IPR

Migration is the one of the most salient and divisive issues in contemporary public policy across advanced economies. What evidence do policymakers listen to, if any, when framing migration policies? Why do so many voters distrust or ignore “statistics” and “facts” on migration, and how are popular attitudes to migration formed and changed? Are these central to migration policymaking, rather than empirical evidence on the causes and consequences of migration? How are normative principles weighed in migration policy alongside political and other considerations? How are migration and refugee policies best governed, from local to transnational levels?

Chancellors’ Building 3.5

Panel session six: Wellbeing and the politics of policy

  • Professor Sarah White, University of Bath
  • Dr Will Davies, Goldsmiths University of London
  • Professor Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, The New School, New York

Chair: Professor Allister McGregor, University of Sheffield

The appeal of wellbeing in policy is two-fold. On the one hand it is comprehensive, offering a form of thought and action that spans departmental, sectoral and disciplinary divisions. On the other hand it is personal and democratic, providing direct access to the real impact of policy as experienced by people themselves. In both cases, however, the implementation of wellbeing in policy may be rather different. Breadth and inclusiveness can be difficult to manage, both conceptually (what is not relevant to wellbeing?) and practically, where resources are distributed by sector and no-one has responsibility for the sum of the parts. People may draw on their own values and feelings in assessing levels of wellbeing, but few would naturally choose a Likert scale as the means to describe their experience. The democratic potential of subjective wellbeing is further challenged by the fact that data analysis requires statistical expertise, so debates over the meaning of results are restricted to an expert few. Perhaps most critically, in an age of austerity the person-friendly guise of wellbeing can swiftly transform into a much less progressive form: shifting responsibility – and blame – for wellbeing onto individual attitudes or psychology as a justification for cuts in the welfare budget. This panel considers the contradictions that may underlie the wellbeing agenda and the kinds of approach that may help to enable its progressive promise to be realised in practice, as policy is pursued at international, national and local scales.

Chancellors’ Building 1.12


Chancellors’ Building Foyer
Level One



  • Carey Oppenheim, CEO, Early Intervention Foundation 
  • Marc Stears, Chief Executive of the New Economics Foundation
  • Professor Allister McGregor, University of Sheffield   
  • Judith Randel, Executive Director, Development Initiatives
Chair: Professor Nick Pearce, IPR
Chancellors’ Building 1.12

Symposium round up: Professor Nick Pearce, IPR

Chancellors’ Building 1.12

Drinks reception

Chancellors’ Building Foyer
Level One

Keynote, Panel Member and Chair biographies

The Rt Hon Douglas Alexander
Former Shadow Foreign Secretary and Secretary for International Development

The Rt Hon Douglas Alexander is Senior Fellow at Harvard University's Kennedy School and Visiting Professor at King's College, London - as well as a Council Member on the European Council of Foreign Relations. Having served as Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for Her Majesty's Official Opposition between 2011 and 2015, in numerous senior UK Ministerial positions including Minister for Europe, Minister for Trade and Investment and Foreign Affairs, and as Secretary of State for Scotland and the UK's Governor of the World Bank, he has considerable experience in a number of spheres of policy. This acumen has led to his acting as Strategic Adviser to Pinsent Masons, and Adviser to Bono on development and investment within and beyond Africa to drive economic growth, together with technology investment. @D_G_Alexander

Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya
Centre for Policy Dialogue, Bangladesh

Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, a macroeconomist and public policy analyst, is a Distinguished Fellow at the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) – a globally reputed think-tank in Bangladesh – having already served as its first Executive Director. He was the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the WTO, UN Office, and other international organisations in Geneva and Vienna. He was the Special Adviser on LDCs to the Secretary General, UNCTAD.

He currently chairs two global networks: Southern Voice on Post-MDG International Development Goals – a network of 49 thinks tanks from Africa, Asia and Latin America, which serves as an open platform for discussions on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and related issues – and the LDC IV Monitor, a partnership of eight development organisations seeking to provide an independent assessment of the delivery of the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA) for the LDCs.

Dr Debapriya is engaged in high-level policy designing and advising for the national government and various bilateral and international development agencies at home and in a number of developing countries. He also serves on the editorial boards of many reputed journals (including Oxford Development Studies).

Liliana Bounegru
University of Groningen and University of Ghent

Liliana Bounegru is a researcher specialising in data journalism and new media studies. She is affiliated with several universities in Europe and the US, including the universities of Amsterdam, Groningen and Ghent, Sciences Po, and Columbia University. Previously she founded and led the Data Driven Journalism initiative at the European Journalism Centre and co-edited the Data Journalism Handbook. @bb_liliana

Dr Emma Carmel
University of Bath

Dr Emma Carmel is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social & Policy Sciences at the University of Bath. A prolific researcher specialising in the governance of public policy in the EU, with a particular focus on migration, welfare and labour market policies, Emma’s current project is TRANSWEL, a 3-year cross-national study of the way the welfare and social rights of migrants from within the EU are regulated and experienced transnationally.

In addition to a range of articles, papers and book sections, Emma published Migration and Welfare in the New Europe: Social Protection and the Challenges of Integration – co-authored with Dr Theo Papadopoulos and Dr Alfio Cerami – in 2011. She has supervised and co-supervised more than 10 PhD students, and has an excellent track record in on-time completions. Most of these students have gone on to significant research and academic posts.

She is also a member of the editorial board for the Italian Journal of Social Policy, and has been Editor and Co-editor of the Journal of European Social Policy.

Professor Nancy Cartwright
University of Durham

Professor Nancy Cartwright is a philosopher and methodologist of the natural and social sciences. The first half of her career was spent at Stanford University, where she worked primarily on philosophy of physics; the second half, before moving to Durham University 3 years ago, at the London School of Economics, where she has focused on the economic and social sciences. She has made contributions on issues of scientific realism, modelling, causal inference and evidence. Her most recent work centres on evidence and policy. She has written six books, the most recent published by Oxford University Press, with Jeremy Hardie: Evidence-Based Policy: A Practical Guide to Doing it Better. She is a Fellow of the British Academy and the Leopoldina (the German Society for Natural Science), a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society (US's oldest scholarly academy) and has been the recipient of a MacArthur fellowship.

Professor James Copestake
University of Bath

Professor James Copestake has been a Professor of International Development at the University of Bath since 2010. His research and doctoral supervision span the following fields: agrarian change and rural development; development finance and impact evaluation; wellbeing and poverty assessment; and the political economy of international development. Recent research income has come from the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Department for International Development (DFID). These projects have entailed field work in Ethiopia, India, Malawi and Peru. He has performed a wide range of teaching and management roles within the University and is currently Director of Studies for the Professional Doctorate in Policy Research and Practice, as well as an advisor to Gorta Self Help Africa and a trustee of INTRAC.

Dr Will Davies
Goldsmiths University of London

Dr Will Davies is Co-Director of the Political Economy Research Centre, Goldsmiths, University of London. He is author of The Happiness Industry: How the government and big business sold us wellbeing (Verso, 2015) and The Limits of Neoliberalism: Authority, Sovereignty and the Logic of Competition (Sage, 2014). @Davies_Will, @GoldsmithsUoL

Dr Joe Devine
University of Bath

Dr Joe Devine is Head of the Department of Social & Policy Sciences at the University of Bath. Between October 2002 and September 2007, Joe was the Country Coordinator (Bangladesh) for the Wellbeing in Developing Countries ESRC Research Group – an experience which influenced his main research interests in wellbeing, poverty and inequality and his particular focus on the cultural construction of poverty and people’s struggles to deal with it.

The author of many articles and several book chapters on these core issues, Joe has also examined through previous research the relation between policymaking discourse and everyday practices of organisations, communities and individuals in the fields of coastal management, HIV/AIDS, land distribution and human rights.

Dr Ana Dinerstein
University of Bath

Dr Ana Dinerstein, a political sociologist, is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social & Policy Sciences at the University of Bath. Having earned her first degree in Politics from the University of Buenos Aires, and her MA and PhD degree at the University of Warwick, Ana came to Bath in 2002. She has published extensively on Argentine and Latin American politics, autonomy, subjectivity, labour, social and indigenous movements, emancipatory struggles and the politics of policy, and is well known for her work as an Open Marxist.

She is a member of the Associate and International Advisory boards of Historical Materialism (London), Sociología del Trabajo (Madrid) and the Observatorio Latinoamericano (Buenos Aires), as well as Research Partner of the TNI New Politics Project (2016-2020) and Convenor of the research-activist group Women on the Verge. @CDinerstein

Tim Finch
Migration Communications Hub

Tim Finch is the founding director of the new Migration Communications Hub which is helping migration organisations to put the positive case for migration to the UK more effectively. He helped to set up the National Refugee Welcome Board with Citizens UK and leads its work on community sponsorship of refugees. He is a former director of communications and head of migration research at the think tank IPPR and was previously director of communications at the Refugee Council. For many years, he was a senior journalist at the BBC, latterly working at the Political Unit in Westminster. He is the founding chair of the migration and arts charity Counterpoints Arts and a trustee of Asylum Aid. His novel on a refugee theme, The House of Journalists, is published in paperback by Vintage and he’s contributed to a newly published anthology of writing on the refugee crisis called A Country of Refuge. @TimaaFinch

Professor Sakiko Fukuda-Parr
The New School, New York

Professor Sakiko Fukuda-Parr is Professor of International Affairs at The New School. Her current research focuses on the effects of global goals on international policy agendas, and on social and economic rights. Her recent publications include Fulfilling Social and Economic Rights (with T. Lawson-Remer and S. Randolph, OUP 2015) which was awarded the 2016 Best Book in Human Rights Scholarship Prize by the APSA; MDGs, Capabilities and Human Rights: The Power of Numbers to Shape Agendas (coedited with A. Yamin, Routledge. 2015); Human Rights and the Capabilities Approach: An Interdisciplinary Conversation (co-edited with Diane Elson and Polly Vizard; 2011) and Food Security in South Africa: Human Rights and Entitlement Perspectives (co-edited with Viviene Taylor, UCT Press 2015). 

From 1995 to 2004, she was lead author and director of the UNDP Human Development Reports. She serves on a number of boards and advisory committees with the UN, NGOs and academic associations, such as the UN Committee on Development Policy, the Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Access to Medicines, the International Association for Feminist Economics and Board of Knowledge Ecology International. @SFParr, @TheNewSchool

Dr Jonathan Gray

Dr Jonathan Gray is Prize Fellow at the Institute for Policy Research, University of Bath. His current research focuses on the politics of open data and public information. He is also Research Associate at the Digital Methods Initiative, University of Amsterdam; Research Associate at the médialab at Sciences Po; and Tow Fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Columbia University. More about him can be found at and he is on Twitter at @jwyg

Dr Rana Jawad
University of Bath

Dr Rana Jawad is Senior Lecturer in Social Policy at the University of Bath’s Department of Social & Policy Sciences, as well as Admissions Tutor for Undergraduate Social Science Programmes and Director of Studies for the Masters in International Public Policy. Her main research interests are in the social policies and the welfare systems of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, with particular emphasis on the Arab and Muslim populations there.

Rana is involved in a variety of academic research, consultancy and outreach activities on social policy in the MENA region. She has recently completed work as Principal Investigator on an ESRC standard grant, and was the founder of the  MENA social policy network, which she now convenes.

She is also a member of the editorial board of Sociology and co-convener of the Social Policy Association’s International and Comparative Social Policy Working Group. She was Treasurer of the UK Social Policy Association between 2005 and 2012, and a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Social Policy between 2009 and 2013. 

Dr Susan Johnson
University of Bath

Dr Susan Johnson is Associate Professor of International Development and Director of the Centre for Development Studies at the University of Bath. She has a background in economics and agricultural economics and worked in development organisations before joining academia. She investigates the means through which social and cultural factors influence the economy and markets especially their embeddedness in social relations. She has researched and published extensively in the field of microfinance and financial access, analysing their gender dimensions, the role of informal financial services and the impact of interventions on poverty.  

Lord Kerslake
Former Head of the Civil Service

Lord Bob Kerslake has been Chair of London’s King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust from 1 April 2015. He joined Peabody as Chair on 1 June 2015. He was announced as the new Chair of the Centre for Public Scrutiny (CfPS) in early June 2015, and was officially appointed as President-Elect of the Local Government Association at their annual conference on 30 June 2015. 

A former Head of the Civil Service, Lord Kerslake led the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) from November 2010, stepping down in February 2015. 

Prior to his DCLG role, Lord Kerslake was the first Chief Executive of the Homes and Communities Agency, where he was responsible for promoting new and affordable housing supply; supporting the regeneration of cities, towns and neighbourhoods; improving existing housing stock, and advancing sustainability and good design. 

Before joining the Civil Service Lord Kerslake received a knighthood for his services to local government, spending eight years serving the London Borough of Hounslow and then a further 11 years leading Sheffield Council. In early 2015, he was made a life peer, taking the title Baron Kerslake, of Endcliffe in the City of Sheffield. @SirBobKerslake

Charles Lwanga-Ntale
Humanitarian Leadership Academy

Charles Lwanga-Ntale is currently the Kenya Academy Centre Director for the Humanitarian Leadership Academy. He is also Associate Director for East Africa for the Chronic Poverty Advisory Network. Previously he served as Africa Regional Director for Development Initiatives. In 1997 he founded Development Research & Training, a Ugandan policy research organisation that dedicates its work to understanding poverty issues and devising poverty-responsive policies. He has over 25 years of experience in policy research and engagement focusing on poverty, risk, vulnerability and social protection. This includes six years of continuous support to the Uganda Government’s Participatory Poverty Assessment Process (UPPAP). He has also worked on disability, decentralisation, and on capacity sharing in Uganda, Lesotho, Rwanda, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, South Africa, Iraq, and Tanzania. His most recent publications have specifically focused on inequality, barriers to social protection uptake, and poverty and policy processes. @AcademyHum

Dr Helen McCarthy
Queen Mary University of London

Dr Helen McCarthy is Senior Lecturer in the School of History at Queen Mary University of London and author of two books: The British People and the League of Nations: Democracy, Citizenship and Internationalism c 1918-1945 (Manchester, 2011) and Women of the World: The Rise of the Female Diplomat (London, 2014). Helen's current project is a social and cultural history of working motherhood in twentieth-century Britain.

She is also deputy director of the Mile End Institute, Queen Mary's centre for public policy research and debate, a member of the British Academy's Public Policy Committee, and a senior editor at History & Policy, an initiative which works for closer dialogue between historians, policymakers and the media. In these capacities, Helen has become interested in the challenges facing humanities scholars, and particularly historians, in developing and demonstrating the policy relevance of their research. She has written about the value of history in framing questions about gender equality for the Historians in Residence initiative here. @HistorianHelen, @QMUL

Professor Allister McGregor
University of Sheffield

Professor Allister McGregor is Professor of Political Economy in the Department of Politics at the University of Sheffield, and before that was leader of the Vulnerability and Poverty Reduction team at the Institute of Development Studies, Sussex. Throughout his career he has used his background in economics, politics and social anthropology to study how the formulation and implementation of development policies impact on poor people. He has worked extensively in South and Southeast Asia and has had a long-term research agenda in coastal and fishing communities looking at the interplay of vulnerability, sustainability and governance.

He has written extensively on the concepts and methodologies for understanding human wellbeing and operationalising it for public policy and practice. He was Director of the ESRC-funded Research Group on Wellbeing in Developing Countries (WeD) and was a lead author in and co-editor of Wellbeing in Developing Countries (Cambridge University Press, 2007). He has acted as advisor and consultant to a wide range of national and international organisations including UK DFID, UNICEF, OECD, OXFAM and the Rockefeller Foundation. @McGregorIDS

Dr David Moon
University of Bath

Dr David Moon is Lecturer in Politics and Director of Studies in the Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies (PoLIS) at the University of Bath. His research aims to combine the insights offered by contemporary political theory with the analysis of day-to-day politics. This research has an overarching focus upon power relations within political parties, in particular those operating within multi-level systems of governance. Current research projects focus upon post-devolution UK politics, specifically studying the Welsh Labour Party and Scottish Labour Party.

Further research focusses upon political oratory and rhetoric – with a co-edited collection on Democratic Orators from JFK to Obama (2016, Palgrave) – and poststructuralist and agonist political theory. Dr Moon is Reviews Editor for the journal Parliamentary Affairs and convenor of the Political Studies Association specialist group for Politics and History. His research has appeared, among other places, in Public Policy and Administration, Local Economy, Contemporary British History and Politics. His latest publication, ‘Welsh devolution and the problem of legislative competence’ is forthcoming in British Politics. @David_S_Moon

Marley Morris
Research Fellow, IPPR

Marley Morris is a research fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), where he specialises in migration and integration policy. He is currently leading the IPPR’s work on EU freedom of movement and Brexit, and has written extensively on migration and asylum issues.

Before joining the IPPR in 2015, Marley was a senior researcher at Counterpoint, where he led a range of projects on populist parties in Europe, political narratives and frames, and the human rights debate in the UK. Marley's research and analysis on migration policy and the European populist right has been widely covered in the national and international press, including the Financial Times, Telegraph, Guardian, the BBC, Libération, and Neue Zürcher Zeitung. @MarleyAMorris, @IPPR

Dr Sabine Niederer
Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

Dr Sabine Niederer is Research Director of the School of Design and Communication at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, where, in 2014, she founded the Citizen Data Lab. She is a researcher with the Digital Methods Initiative at the Department of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam, where she obtained her PhD in 2016 with her dissertation titled 'Networked Content Analysis: The case of climate change’. @SabineSabine

Carey Oppenheim
Early Intervention Foundation

Carey Oppenheim has been Chief Executive of the Early Intervention Foundation, a charity and What Works Centre for early intervention for children and families, since 2013. Carey’s previous roles include Co-director of the Institute of Public Policy Research and Special Advisor to Tony Blair in the Number 10 Policy Unit between 2000-05, specialising in employment, social security, childcare and poverty. Carey has also been a senior lecturer in social policy at the South Bank University and deputy director and head of research at the Child Poverty Action Group; chaired the London Child Poverty Commission; and advised the Treasury on welfare reform and the Department for Education on childcare and early years strategy. She recently trained to be a teacher and taught history and politics at an inner-city London school for three years. @EIFCOppenheim, @TheEIFoundation

Dr Theo Papadopoulos
University of Bath

Dr Theo Papadopoulos is Lecturer in the Department of Social & Policy Sciences at the University of Bath. A dedicated teacher at undergraduate and postgraduate level, Theo also conducts a portfolio of research focussing on three key areas: the varieties of welfare capitalism in relation to labour commodification and social (in)security in the EU and internationally; the political economy of familism in semi-peripheral capitalist countries; and governance and democratic institutional innovations in market societies. Along with a range of papers, articles and book chapters on these subjects, he has also published a book; Migration and Welfare in the New Europe: Social Protection and the Challenges of Integration was co-authored with Dr Alfio Cerami and fellow Bath academic Dr Emma Carmel.

Professor Nick Pearce

Professor Nick Pearce is Director of the Institute for Policy Research, and has extensive experience of policy research and government policymaking in the UK and internationally. He is an author and regular commentator on public policy in broadcast and print media, and writes on a wide range of issues from social justice, public service reform and identity politics to the changing nature of political leadership.

Nick was formerly Director of the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), where he led a team of over 45 staff producing public policy research in the key areas of public services, economic reform, the welfare state, migration, energy and environment and politics and power. He co-edits the  IPPR journal of ideas Juncture.

Nick has also been Head of the  No.10 Downing St. Policy Unit, with responsibility for the formulation of policy advice to the Prime Minister. He led and managed the work of the Prime Minister’s 13 policy advisers, coordinating policy development across government departments and liaising with external stakeholders.

In addition, he has worked as special advisor in the  Home Office, Cabinet Office and former Department for Education and Employment. Nick was formerly chair of the advisory board to the UK Chief Scientist's Foresight Programme and served on the Equalities Review and the Teaching & Learning 2020 Review. @IPR_NickP

Judith Randel
Development Initiatives

Judith Randel is the co-founder of Development Initiatives, an independent organisation set up to use data and information to end poverty. All her work is done together with DI co-founder Tony German and includes reports on aid, global humanitarian assistance and the data used to monitor G8 commitments. Engagement and consultancy with donors and CSOs has covered financing modalities, data and analysis and evaluations of policy, strategy and advocacy.

Transparency and access to information has been a consistent theme for Judith, exemplified in the establishment of the International Aid Transparency Initiative and her work on transparency in domestic and international resources and access to information. She is a regular speaker and moderator on issues around data and poverty and she and Tony are now working on the P20 Initiative: data to leave no one behind.

Judith has a distinguished masters from the University of Bath and is on the Council for the Institute of Development Studies; she was part of the Chronic Poverty Research Centre for ten years, served on the Africa Partnership Initiative, DAC Expert Panel on the future of ODA and is currently serving on the Programme Committee for the first UN World Data Forum. @DevInitOrg

Professor Graham Room
University of Bath

Professor Graham Room is Professor of European Social Policy at the University of Bath. He is author, co-author or editor of thirteen books, the most recent being  Agile Actors on Complex Terrains: Transformative Realism and Public Policy (Routledge, 2016). He is a member of the Academy of Social Sciences and, in addition to being Founding Editor of the  Journal of European Social Policy, was Director of the Institute for Policy Research until December 2013.

Dr Patta Scott-Villiers
Institute of Development Studies, Sussex

Dr Patta Scott-Villiers is a research fellow and convenor of the Power and Popular Politics Cluster at the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex University. Her work asks how subaltern people and societies engage the mainstream of development, and her current focus of inquiry is the popular politics of food and the essentials of life. She co-leads the Life in a Time of Food Price Volatility Study looking at mechanisms of micro and macro transformation in precarious work, food and care after the global food price crisis. She is also part of the Food Riots and Food Rights research project, a study on the popular politics of food, which explored how ruptures in the moral economy played out in different countries between 2007 and 2012. @IDS_UK

Marc Stears
The New Economics Foundation

Marc Stears is Chief Executive of the New Economics Foundation. Prior to that he was Professor of Political Theory at the University of Oxford, and also acted as chief speechwriter to Ed Miliband MP during his time as Leader of the Opposition. Marc’s primary interest is in the relationship between democratic politics and the experience of everyday life. He is the author of two books, Progressives, Pluralists and the Problems of the State (Oxford UP) and Demanding Democracy (Princeton), as well as being the editor of several more, including The Oxford Handbook of Political Ideologies (Oxford UP). He has recently led the New Economics Foundation through a major restructure with the aim of designing a think tank that talks primarily not to politicians and civil servants but to community groups, campaigners, business leaders and trade unionists. The Foundation will relaunch along these lines in October 2016. @MDS49, @NEF

Dr Tommaso Venturini
King's College London

Dr Tommaso Venturini is Lecturer in the Department of Digital Humanities at King's College London. He is also Associate Researcher in Sciences Po Paris' médialab, which he coordinated for six years.

He has been the leading scientist of the projects EMAPS (EU FP7) and MEDEA (ANR). His research focuses on Digital Methods, STS and Social Modernisation. He teaches controversy mapping, data journalism and information design at graduate and undergraduate level.

Dr Venturini was trained in sociology and media studies at the University of Bologna, before completing a PhD in Society of Information at the University of Milano Bicocca and a post-doc on social modernisation in the University of Bologna’s Department of Philosophy. He has been visiting student at UCLA and visiting researcher at the CETCOPRA of Pantheon-Sorbonne University. During his studies, he founded a web design agency and led several online communication projects. @TommasoVenturini, @KingsCollegeLon

Professor Sarah White
University of Bath

Professor Sarah White is Professor of International Development and Wellbeing at the University of Bath. Her research concerns the ways that social identities, culture and relationships are engaged and represented in development processes. 
Since 2002 the main focus of her research has been on wellbeing in developing countries, including ‘Wellbeing and Poverty Pathways’, an ESRC-DFID funded study in Zambia and India, 2010-2014. In 2016-17 she holds a British Academy/Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowship for work on relational wellbeing. Recent books include  Culture and Wellbeing: Method, Place, Policy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) and  Wellbeing and Quality of Life Assessment. A Practical Guide (Practical Action Publishing, 2014).

Keynote abstracts

Keynote one: Predicting policy outcomes: what can the evidence do for you?
Professor Nancy Cartwright, University of Durham

Abstract: Nothing is ever evidence in and of itself. Evidence is a 3-place relation. The second place is the hypothesis that a fact (or putative fact) is supposed to be evidence for. The kinds of hypotheses discussed here are ones about policy effectiveness in situ: that this policy will achieve these specific outcomes if it is implemented. The third place is the vast network of scientific and local knowledge and practice that fits the evidence into an argument for the hypothesis. 

I begin with the conventional anti-Baconian dictum: fact gathering by itself gets you nowhere in supporting new hypotheses. This is true even if the facts are about causes – despite the fact that there is a widespread assumption that causal claims, by their very nature, must hold generally – and regardless of whether the facts are tables of well-measured data, the results of finely-tuned experiments or the outcomes of RCTs. 

I shall discuss three reasons why the evidence cannot speak for itself. First, we need to know the right concepts in which to express the evidence, and often the concepts that figure in general truths are highly abstract by contrast with the concepts with which our facts are recorded. Second, as the current mantra emphasises, context matters. It is the detailed structure of the context that produces specific local causal chains from the operation of what might be totally general principles. Third, different standards and methods yield different hypotheses, where these standards and methods are themselves supported by different networks of background assumptions and practices.

So the right question is not ‘what can the evidence do for you’, but ‘what can be done with the evidence to help you?’ And the answer is: the evidence can contribute to building a close-knit body of scientific and local knowledge that you can call on to construct a local model to predict what will happen in your case.

James Harle at the IPR.