Academics from the University and its Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences - from professors to researchers - are in demand to add their expertise to events in Britain, Europe and across the world, organised by companies and organisations from the public, private and third sectors.
In November they appeared alongside a UK cabinet minister, a former prime minister and head of NATO, and David Cameron’s top media advisor, as well as speaking to members of the largest political grouping in the European Parliament. This week, a Bath expert in public health was one of the keynote speakers at an event in Brussels, examining the latest proposals to limit advertising of alcohol and unhealthy foods to children and young people.
"Working in an environment that actively facilitates the pursuit of academic excellence is enabling me to establish myself as the ‘go-to’ person in my field", said Dr Jo Cranwell, an assistant professor in the Department for Health. She briefed members of the European Public Health Alliance and MEPs on how alcohol is presented through the media, building on her work in tobacco regulation including previously at the University of Nottingham.
"It’s also very important to me that my work has real-world relevance too, not just having research findings sitting on a shelf collecting dust. The combination of this and academic impact is what I can bring to the table and almost certainly why my expertise in demand", said Dr Cranwell.
Professor David Galbreath, Dean of the Faculty, said this was the latest example of the knowledge and experience of Bath academics being highly sought after. "Major conferences, one-off events, and smaller seminars want to have our experts injecting their know-how into the proceedings. This reflects the range of the work we do, from health to economics, education to social work, policy to psychology, and our commitment, evident every day, to work across academic disciplines to make an impact."
Dr Nick Startin, Acting Head of the Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies (PoLIS), spoke at a meeting of the think tank of the centre-right European People’s Party in Brussels on the security and defence implications of Britain’s vote to leave the EU. He followed Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the former Danish prime minister who led NATO for five years until 2014.
‘‘Our experts contribute to some really interesting and influential engagement with outside bodies in a number of politics and policy contexts", said Dr Startin. "Whether with transnational organisations, governments, political parties, civil-society groups or the business world this does not, due to its advisory capacity, always gain much publicity. It is, however, a core part of what we do and something which brings kudos to the department’
Professor Bill Durodie, chair of International Relations, began November by taking part in a Q and A session on the implications of the referendum decision to leave the European Union at a conference in London organised by global governance, risk and compliance consultants MetricStream. He spoke alongside Sir Craig Oliver, David Cameron’s former director of policy and communications, and leading business experts. Later in the month he took part in two further panel discussions on politics in the United States after the presidential election and why some people are attracted to the Islamic State group, at Kulturhuset Stadsteatern in Stockholm.
Professor Durodie said: "A common theme of many of my talks is that we live in an age when anyone wanting to believe in and belong to something has few options available to them. Despite a rhetoric of diversity in the mainstream, there is increasing cultural conformity, which pushes people to the margins when looking for change. It is a sensitivity to this process that leads to my getting invited to speak on a whole range of subjects."
Dr Susan Milner, Reader in European Politics, was invited by the Government Equalities Office to address an annual consultation meeting for non-government groups, on the theme of economic empowerment of girls and women. The keynote speaker was the Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities, Justine Greening.
Dr Milner said: "The state has the capacity to promote this economic empowerment, and the time is ripe for action: gender equality is highly visible in public policy debates, schools have been working to open up career opportunities for girls, and a large body of research evidence shows what works. Researchers have a valuable role to play not just in presenting their findings but in engaging with processes of change, such as the current debates around what will happen to equalities policy as the UK disengages from its EU obligations."