Connecting policymakers and researchers

The Office has been working with the support of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Universities New Zealand, and the Riddet Institute, on improving connections between policymakers and researchers; resources can be found here:

Tools, advice and information to build high performing policy systems: The Policy Project from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet is about building a high performing policy system that supports and enables good government decision making. It equips policy practitioners, teams and agencies with tools, information and advice to develop their skills and capability. For example, Writing for Ministers and Cabinet.

Resources from our project:

1. Recommendations for universities and government to improve knowledge sharing: the research paper ‘Connecting two worlds: enhancing knowledge sharing between academics and policy makers in Aotearoa New Zealand’ by intern Dr Cate Roy and Dr George Slim discusses some of the barriers and enablers at the research/policy interface and presents a set of solutions that are implementable in the Aotearoa New Zealand environment. It concludes with a set of high-level recommendations for universities and government to consider.

2. Policy brief guide and animation to help researchers understand the science policy interface: to help researchers learn more about the science/policy interface and begin the journey of translating their work for a policy audience, intern Dr McKerchar has developed resources for preparing a policy brief (in A3, with animated guide, examples and a template) and a short video animation. The animation, particularly aimed at PhD students and early career researchers, highlights the challenging and complex journey of connecting with policy.

3. Workshop connecting researchers and policymakers: The Office hosted a series of events to offer opportunities for researchers and policymakers to connect in an informal workshop setting. The focal point of these events was to bridge the gap between evidence and policy by cultivating robust relationships and fostering enduring collaborations. These interactive workshops brought together Chief Science Advisors (CSAs), policymakers, and researchers for discussion of the power of relationships in evidence-based policy.

Relevant resources from the workshops are listed below:

Te Whanganui a Tara | Wellington ​– 18 September 2023

Ōtautahi | Christchurch   – 27 September 2023

Tāmaki Makaurau | Auckland – 20 February 2024

Ōtepoti | Dunedin – 16 April 2024

We gratefully acknowledge the Australasian Research Managers Society (ARMS), Te Herenga Waka | Victoria University Wellington, Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha | University of Canterbury, Waipapa Taumata Rau | University of Auckland, Te Wānanga Aronui o Tāmaki Makau Rau | Auckland University of Technology, and Te Whare Wānanga o Otāgo | University of Otago for their support in making these workshops possible.

Some other helpful resources from Aotearoa New Zealand:

Rauika Māngai: A Guide to Vision Mātauranga

Rauika Māngai: A Wai 262 Best Practice Guide for Science Partnerships with Kaitiaki for Research Involving Taonga

Te Pūtahitanga: A Tiriti-led science-policy approach for Aotearoa New Zealand

Te Tiriti Articles in Practice

Mātauranga and Science – a two-part Special Issue of New Zealand Science Review

Some helpful international resources:

UK Parliament POST: How to write a policy briefing, September 2020

European Commission document to promote discussion on a better use of scientific knowledge in policy making and Joint Research Centre Science for Policy Report 

Article ‘Top 20 things scientist need to know about policy making’, Chris Tyler, The Guardian, December 2013

Evans, M.C., Cvitanovic, C. An introduction to achieving policy impact for early career researchers. Palgrave Communications 4, 88 (2018).

Clancy M., Correa D., Dworkin J., Niehaus P., Watney C., Williams H. Want to speed up scientific progress? First understand how science policy works. Nature 620, 724-726 (2023) doi:

International examples of research to policy programmes

Two notable international programs exemplify how the research policy interface can be supported: the Australian Science Policy Fellowship Program and the UK’s Pairing Scheme. Each of these initiatives offers unique approaches to integrating scientific expertise within the policymaking process.

Australia – The Australian Science Policy Fellowship Program places up to 20 early-to-mid career scientists annually in Australian Government departments as policy officers for 12 months. This program provides a pathway for early-to-mid career scientists to work in policy within the Australian Public Service, providing a pathway for scientists into policy and enrich policymaking with scientific insights.

UK – The pairing scheme matches 30 research scientists with UK parliamentarians and civil servants each year, promoting reciprocal visits and learning. The scheme supports bridging the gap between science and policy through direct engagement, fostering mutual understanding, and Encourages reciprocal visits and learning experiences between scientists and policymakers.

Last edited:  25 May 2024