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Policy events and roundtables

Policy events and roundtables to enable networking, two-way learning and to disseminate your research findings.

The value of events for policy engagement

Engaging in and hosting events, such as briefing sessions and roundtables, can be a useful way to bring relevant people together to consider research–policy findings. Some of these will be public events, where you might attend as a speaker or as a delegate; others might be private events, such as invite-only roundtables.

As with other mechanisms (e.g. evidence requests, media, policy briefs), events and roundtables should be part of a wider plan for policy engagement. They can help to build your policy networks, raise your profile and, when timed well, can help to inform upcoming policy areas and debates.

Hosting a policy roundtable

A ‘roundtable’ meeting is a forum for in-depth conversations on key issues, mostly held in private under ‘Chatham House Rule’. They can be useful for policy engagement in helping to foster discussions and inform debates and research outputs (e.g., policy briefs).

You may be invited to be part of a roundtable, or you may choose to host one.

Attending and speaking at events

Attending and speaking at events online or in-person are useful ways to build your policy networks and build your reputation. There are numerous events at the interface of academic research and policy which you might contribute to, and UPEN and the IPR regularly advertise these.

You can host public events to help disseminate your findings. These can be effective at stimulating broader discussions but there are practical steps and costs involved with hosting an event.

You could also attend events such as report launches organised by other policy actors and think tanks.

Hosting a policy event

If you host an event aimed at engaging with policy audiences there are various practical and logistical steps to consider:

  • Purpose: What is the scope of the event, what are its objectives and what outcomes do you hope to achieve?
  • Venue: Where will you host your event? Often it can help to do this in major cities where most policy actors are based or, alternatively, to host virtually.
  • Guest list: Identify individuals and organisations you want to invite to your event. Do you have pre-existing connections?
  • Speakers: Identify speakers and moderators who are balanced and can help to stimulate debate.
  • Timings: Most events require at least six weeks' lead time in planning and promotion.
  • Background: Set an appropriate agenda and prepare materials and questions in advance to ensure your objectives are met and that participants benefit from attending.
  • Facilitation: For your event, identify a moderator to chair the event. This could be you.
  • Logistics: Will you need catering, A/V or Wi-Fi? Have you ensured that the event is accessible to disabled attendees?
  • Actions: Take notes and write up discussions. Share summaries, key take-aways, commitments, outputs and deliverables. Consider publishing a collaborative briefing or report based on discussions.

If you intend to host a roundtable as part of your research, it is important that you appropriately cost this in your funding applications.

  • See: How to cost policy engagement (COMING SOON).


  • Use events as opportunities to expand your policy networks, whether invited to attend or where you are hosting.
  • If you plan to host events as part of your policy engagement activities, be sure to appropriately cost this in your research funding bid, and plan logistics.
  • Use events as platforms to present new research findings and build wider engagement through social media and media where applicable and appropriate.
  • Attend external events hosted by organisations working on related policy topics. These can be invaluable for building new connections.
  • Log your policy event activities in Pure.

Further information

Learning from others

Read about Bath academics who have experiences in attending or running policy events as part of their research:

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