James Georgalakis is the director of communications and impact at the Institute of Development Studies and is director of the ESRC-DFID Impact Initiative for International Development Research.
Here he asks: are scholars really so out of touch with the real world or do we need to look again at this tired narrative that doesn’t reflect the reality of modern academia?
Explaining my work as a director of communications and impact in an academic institution can sometimes prove challenging.
A case in point was a recent conversation with a new acquaintance about work that went something along the lines of: “So, what is it you do again. Something about research isn’t it?” To which I replied: “Yes, that’s right. I work with academics helping them make sure that their research is put to good use – you know, informing policy, changing attitudes – so it doesn’t just end up in some journal that no one ever reads.”
“Getting them out of their ivory towers, then” came the reply, at which point I nodded vigorously and gave them a knowing smile. Continue reading
Professor Matthew Williams and Dr Pete Burnap are directors of the ESRC-funded Social Data Science Lab that continues the successful COSMOS programme of work. The Lab forms part of the Data Innovation Research Institute, which will be housed within the new Social Science Research Park at Cardiff University.
Together with colleagues (Dr Luke Sloan and Professor Omer Rana) they recently presented their intriguing findings about the power of pulling large sets of data from social media in front of 150 policymakers, academics and industry experts at the Data Science and Government Conference. The event, organised by the Behavioural Insights Team, looked at how emerging techniques in data science can best be used to support policy agendas in a range of areas.
Professor Matthew Williams and Dr Pete Burnap
Many would say there has been a lot of hype about the promise of Big Data and Data Science in government circles in recent years. The Data Science and Government Conference gave one of the first opportunities for presenters, from government and academia, to demonstrate how very large datasets are being put to use in real-world policy contexts to address a range of pressing questions and to introduce new efficiencies. Recently the Cabinet Office developed a set of guidelines for the ethical use of big data in government projects.
Matjaz Vidmar is a postgraduate research student in The Institute for the Study of Science, Technology and Innovation; part of Science, Technology and Innovation Studies Subject Group in the School of Social and Political Science and Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group of Business School; at The University of Edinburgh
His main area of research is acceleration of business incubation and development of Space Sector in the UK and specifically in Scotland.
His piece ‘One Morning in 2065…’ finished in the top 10 of the ESRC’s writing competition, The World in 2065– in collaboration with academic publishers, SAGE. You can read it below:
One Morning in 2065…
‘Beep, beep, beep…The alarm goes off ringing – my personal assistant, Thor, is scheduled to wake me up as ever for 7.30am. Would be easy to hit the red button now, kill Thor off, and enjoy some more peaceful slumber next to my wife, but I knew it was not to be.’