The University of Bath was successful in securing a Policy Support Fund of over £200k from Research England, supporting universities to undertake research with local, regional, national and international regulatory organisations, such as parliament and central government. This builds on the Quality-Related Strategic Priority Fund (QR SPF), awarded to the University from Research England over the last two years.

Towards the end of 2021 academics at the University were invited to apply to the annual Fund for project support and a total of 24 applications were received, with a strong response from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. A panel met on 15 December to review and score the applications and funding has now been awarded to nine projects, including some led by Early Career Researchers.

Projects funded through the 2022 Policy Support Fund will be led by the following academics:

Department of Psychology

  • Professor Lorraine Whitmarsh MBE will work with the Scottish government and Climate Outreach to develop an evidence-based public campaign toolkit on car reduction, with a £5k contribution from the Scottish government
  • Dr Jo Daniels will be working with the Royal College of Emergency Medicine on their policies relating to wellbeing and staff attrition, developing and implementing procedures that increase staff retention through psychological informed ways of working

Department for Health

  • Dr Fiona Gillison and researchers from across the University will work with the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust to embed research to improve remote consultations in hospital policy
  • Dr Tania Griffin, with academics from Health and Social Policy Sciences, will work with the Office for Health Improvement Disparities and the World Health Organisation (WHO) to assess the feasibility of extending the WHO Child Obesity Surveillance Initiative to England

Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering

  • Dr Victoria Stephenson will work with Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES) to produce new insight into achieving energy reductions in existing buildings within B&NES to ensure progress towards net-zero carbon for the region
  • Dr Paul Shepherd will create a ‘Digital Twin’ infrastructure which the University and B&NES can use for evidence informed policy making, a goal of the ‘Our Shared Future’ initiative
  • Professor Andrew Heath, in conjunction with Amy Thompson IPR, will design and deliver a bespoke Policy Fellowship Programme on Sustainable and Automated Transport to connect those engaged with this Bath Beacon with policymakers in central and local government

Institute for Policy Research

  • Professor Nick Pearce, Director of the IPR, will lead a team to work with the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) to compare regional policy capabilities in England to develop recommendations for policymaking in WECA

Department of Social and Policy Sciences

  • Dr Mathilde Maitrot will work with the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS), the Bangladesh Planning Commission, and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Extreme Poverty to strengthen evidence-based policy on extreme poverty in Bangladesh

Dr Denise Cooke, Head of Business Partnerships and Knowledge Exchange in Research and Innovation Services (RIS) at the University who led the administration of the Fund, says:

It was very encouraging to see such a strong response to the Policy Support Fund when it opened to all academics at the end of last year – highlighting our strengths in both policy research and Knowledge Exchange at the University. Successful applicants not only demonstrated how they were engaging with external policymakers but also how they were aligned with the University strategy and strategic initiatives, such as Bath Beacons and Our Shared Future. We will work with those who were unsuccessful to discuss their application and improve future chances to the Policy Support Fund which is now proving to be awarded on an annual basis.

For more on engaging with external organisations contact the Business Partnerships and Knowledge Exchange team in RIS.