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Government-funded research : A researcher’s perspective Professor Mike Hough 28 September 2003 PowerPoint Presentation
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Government-funded research : A researcher’s perspective Professor Mike Hough 28 September 2003

Government-funded research : A researcher’s perspective Professor Mike Hough 28 September 2003

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Government-funded research : A researcher’s perspective Professor Mike Hough 28 September 2003

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  1. Government-funded research:A researcher’s perspectiveProfessor Mike Hough28 September 2003 ICPR INSTITUTE FOR CRIMINAL POLICY RESEARCH

  2. What I plan to do… • A researcher’s view of government-funded research • A balance sheet • Based on experience as • A Home Office researcher • A Home Office research manager • A user of research – as a policy civil servant • An academic researcher and manager

  3. The best and the worst of funders Best, because ……. • Opportunities for influence • Intelligent customer • Keen to work in partnership • Commitment to evidence-led policy (?) • Supportive (eg in opening doors) • Deep pocket • Visible publications

  4. The best and the worst of funders Worst, because ……. • They want too much too quickly • Increasingly hard to work in partnership • Reducing trust • Growing over-anxiety about reports • Failure to engage with ‘political’ issues • Over-controlling about reports • Increasingly slow in publishing reports • Problems with ‘spin-off’ publications

  5. Explanations for the bad bits • Capacity problems • Increasing demands and expanding budgets • Skills and knowledge gaps • Loss of collective memory • Pressures for policy-led evidence at this stage in the electoral cycle • Narrowing of research questions & methods • “What works at what price?” • Research managers’ institutional powerlessness • Contracts culture and imbalance of power • Insecure world of contract researchers

  6. Looking to the future • Lack of innovation in government research • Reducing credibility of government research • Govt. frustration with contractors • Contractors’ frustration with Govt. • Need for counterbalancing policy research community • Researchers who can risk foregoing government money

  7. Researchfunded by charitable foundations:A researcher’s perspectiveProfessor Mike Hough28 September 2003 ICPR INSTITUTE FOR CRIMINAL POLICY RESEARCH

  8. The other side of the coin… • My experience of research funded by trusts • Based on experience of funders such as • Joseph Rowntree Foundation • Nuffield Foundation • Esmée Fairbairn Foundation • Atlantic Philanthropies • Community Fund • Best trusts are the best of all funders

  9. What is good about the best? • Commitment to improving policy • And quality of debate about policy • Whilst respecting independence of researchers • A sense of a shared endeavour • Room for innovation • Levels of support when this is needed • Realistic timescales for research • Speed of publication • Skills in media handling

  10. Limitations of charitable foundations • Many have short pockets • Research priorities necessarily limited • Idiosyncratic trustees • Issues of transparency and accountability

  11. Looking to the future • Can government learn from the charitable foundations? • Growing need for independent research • To counterbalance and supplement government research • And to reach the parts that government research cannot reach