The Initiative for Managing Policymaker-Academic Cooperation and Knowledge Transfer (IMPACKT) is an interdisciplinary project based out of Swansea University that aims to create sustained and proactive dialogue between policymakers and academics working in a variety of fields. It looks to establish an iterative dialogue between government, universities, industry and other partners, drawing on expertise from politics, public policy, medicine and engineering. It wants to explore the types and nature of current collaboration across sectors, barriers and opportunities for further collaboration and institutional and network mechanisms that exist to facilitate collaboration.

The Initiative has two main objectives:

  1. It will provide academics with the tools necessary to facilitate and increase policy impact of their work, an important consideration in both securing research funding and in proving the worth of research projects. This project will forge sustained dialogue between STEM subjects and policy-makers to improve the relevance and utilisation of scientific research in public policy in Wales. Importantly, this will focus on academics and industries outside of the politics and public policy realm, creating an interdisciplinary dialogue on the relationship between science, expert engagement and political legitimacy. The work builds on pre-existing linkages between the researchers and different levels of UK government and industry.
  2. This work will entrench engagement between policymakers, industry and academics over time by providing direct linkages between scientists and policymakers and ensuring that policy practitioners are aware of the needs and goals of scientists in various disciplines. When a leading politician claims that ‘Britain has had enough of experts’, the role of academics and other experts comes into question and needs to be considered within the wider scientific community and by the public at large.

The project has immediate and local impact in Wales and for Welsh universities, as well as the potential for longer term and broader impact at UK and EU levels. This work will act to expand dialogue between policy-makers and academics, as well as expand interdisciplinary research in a meaningful way. Previous work on policy engagement has tended to focus on outcome-oriented engagement between the two groups, resulting in ad hoc connections related to specific projects or policies. Related to this, while there is a strong push for increased interdisciplinarity in research, there has not been a significant exploration of sustained interdisciplinary research not directly tied to specific projects, or what makes for successful interdisciplinary work. This work aims to look at how longer term relations can be built between the hard sciences and policy-makers, and how sustained interdisciplinary collaboration without outcome-oriented results can be developed.

It aims to establish a bottom-up dialogue between academics, policy-makers and industry, drawing on expertise from politics, public policy, medicine and engineering. The project will create a digital and physical space for interaction between different stakeholder groups that goes beyond specific projects to create a more sustained dialogue across sectors and disciplines. The project has developed out of the Welsh Crucible programme and has received financial support from the EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account and the Swansea University Research Grant Enabler fund.