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Government & Public Policy Having an impact

We're making a real difference to society.

That's why everything we do within the School of Government & Public Policy is academically rigorous, innovative and relevant.

We're producing high-quality, industry-ready graduates, and our research looks at the effectiveness and efficiency of public policy and how it's used in real life.

Here's where our research is having an impact:

National government & agencies

We're helping many national government policymaking bodies in several policy fields.

In regional policy, our European Policies Research Centre has helped by sharing its research with civil servants in different countries. 

We've also provided advice to a range of European governments, including Finland, Germany, Ireland, Poland, and the UK.

For example, our researcher, Fiona Wishlade, Director of the European Policies Research Centre, has been involved in advising the Madeira Region on state aids and tax competition, along with advising on regional aid for government bodies in Austria, France, Ireland and the UK.

Another of our researchers, Wolfgang Rüdig, is looking at elite attitudes to energy policy issues, which was the central theme of the British-German Environment Forum on 'Energy Policy for the 2050s'.

International organisations

Several of our researchers work in advisory roles for the European Commission. This has included advising on the effectiveness and efficiency of EU Cohesion policy, proposals for policy reform, and reform of the EU Regional Aid Guidelines, along with the European Court of Auditors on options for using performance assessment. They've also been involved in advising EU Council Presidencies on regional development.

Our Head of School Robert Thomson took part in an EU Jean Monnet project - 'Decision Making Before & After Lisbon' - which involved engaging policymakers in European institutions to discuss policy implications of the Lisbon treaty changes.

Our research also has a global impact.

Our own Professor Richard Rose is looking at global experiences of corruption and measurement indicators, with a four year study through the Centre of the Study of Public Policy, in partnership with Transparency International.

Dr Fabrizio De Francesco’s research has led to the design of quality assurance mechanisms for development programmes, via the ‘Better Regulation for Growth’ Programme of the International Finance Corporation and World Bank. In the same field, Dr Mark Shephard has contributed research on Westminster practices for a review of World Bank legislative oversight and budgeting.

In October 2014 Dr Neil McGarvey was the invited international speaker at the Australian Institute of International Affairs reviewing the outcome of the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum.

Our staff are regularly seen and heard in domestic and international broadcast, print and social media. Members of staff can regularly be seen and heard on broadcast outlets such as the BBC, Channel 4, Al Jazeera, Bloomberg and ITV.  School of Government and Public Policy academic staff also write online blogs to disseminate their research for numerous respected online blog sites including The Conversation, the Political Studies Association and The LSE: the London School of Economics & Political Science

Other organisations

Our research is also helping non-governmental organisations, and society itself.

Based on their work on the organisation, membership, working practices and impact of youth parliaments across Europe, Dr Mark Shephard and Dr Stratos Patrikios were asked by the Scottish Youth Parliament to investigate the individual experiences of their parliamentariants.

In 2013, Dr Shephard also led a consortium of think tanks and children's organisations on the participation of young people in British democracy. This led to him being asked to contribute to the Scottish Youth Parliament work plan for 2013-2016.

John Curtice chaired an independent commission which looked at how the Scottish Youth Parliament election procedures should be improved and made key recommendations, eg internet voting, lowering of the voting age to 12, and these recommendations were subsequently enacted by the Scottish Youth Parliament Board of Trustees.

Professor John Curtice was responsible for overseeing the official UK General Election exit poll used by BBC, ITV, Sky and other media outlets in May 2015. Over the course of election night he was BBC’s chief analyst as the constituency election results came in. You can read his analysis and commentary on What Scotland Thinks. He was co-director of the British Election Study from 1983 to 1997 and has been a consultant on the British Social Attitudes Survey since 1985. He is also President on the British Polling Council

In 2015 Dr Neil McGarvey undertook research on behalf of the Scottish Local Government Boundary Commission to research and investigate the factors impacting on local councillor workload. This involved engaging with the chief executives and councillors from all of Scotland’s 32 local authorities. His research will feed directly into ongoing boundary reviews that recommend councillor numbers and local council ward boundaries to the Scottish Government.

We're informing legislature

Several of our researchers are involved with informing parliamentary committees at multiple levels of government.

Within the UK government, Professor Richard Rose has worked with the Foreign Affairs Committee on the EU's priorities along with the House of Lords European Union Committee on EU enlargement. Professor John Bachtler has also presented evidence to the House of Lords European Union Committee on the future of European Structural Funds.

Professor John Bachtler has also helped the Scottish Government by contributing to the European & External Relations Commitee on the EU budget review, while Dr Mark Shephard has provided evidence on the strengths and weaknesses of committee operations for the Scottish Parliament Convenors Group.

At a European level, John Bachtler along with Dr Carlos Mendez and Fiona Wishlade, have advised the European Parliament's Regional Development Committee on options for cohesion policy reform, and Professor Robert Thomson's research on the institution of the EU Presidency has been used to brief various legislature.

In July 2014 Dr Neil McGarvey addressed the European Union Committee of the Regions in Brussels on the subject of EU Economic Governance and the Scottish Independence Referendum.