Two cultures: can policy makers and academic institutions ever work together effectively?

17 July 2018


A lecture by Dr David Cleevely, on how academia and government work together, and the history of CSaP over the last 10 years.

David served as CSaP's Founding Director from 2008 to 2015. His talk illustrated how academia and government can work well together, given the right conditions. Specifically, building a strong network of academics and policy makers who interact through one-to-one meetings has been the key. This is embodied by the CSaP Policy Fellowship, which is the now being used as a model by other institutions in the UK and mainland Europe.

Watch David's lecture here:

A transcript of David's lecture can be downloaded here.

From day one, David was determined not to spend time and money on primary research. Instead, CSaP focussed on asking policy makers what they needed and then arranged for them to meet with the relevant experts in academia and elsewhere.

In his talk, David explained about the practice and theory which underpins CSaP’s success including how the current framework evolved through trial and error, and how many other plausible formats failed to take off.

He ended his talk with five challenges for CSaP and the University, and proposed how the University could build on the unique insights gained over the past 10 years.

The discussion was chaired by Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, Director of the Sainsbury Laboratory, and Chair of CSaP’s Management Committee.

Questions focused on the different timescales in Westminster and Cambridge and the continuity of focus of a researcher as compared to a policy maker.

The answers were all based around the strength of the network - if a policy maker has access to a sufficiently broad and connected network they are able to seek expertise on any given subject at short notice. This is what CSaP has achieved and why the Policy Fellowship scheme continues to be so popular.

Read more about CSaP's history here.

Dr David Cleevely

Royal Academy of Engineering

Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)