This month marks a year since Policy Scotland started our COVID-19 urgently-needed insights programme to support the rapid mobilisation of knowledge in this new and unprecedented situation.
As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic threatened the wellbeing of individuals, families, communities, cities, regions and nations, we highlighted the urgent demands to understand the implications of the sudden economic and social changes.
In the first UK lockdown Policy Scotland rapidly pivoted to an online programme to enable the speedy sharing of experiences, knowledge and solutions to the urgent public policy issues arising from the pandemic. We undertook to work with others to develop and share insights into the policy issues, not only in the emergency response phase but also as the world adjusted to operating under continuing restrictions.
One year on, what was the outcome?
Professor Chris Chapman, Director of Policy Scotland, said:
“This has been an extraordinary period, and the impacts of the pandemic on society and the economy will be felt for many years to come. This year has demonstrated the capacity of social scientists to mobilise their expertise to help policymakers understand and mitigate these effects.
We have been privileged to work with a wide network of academics and practitioners to rapidly accumulate expert evidence and commentary and get it to policymakers at local, Scottish, UK and international levels. There’s going to be a lot more work to do, and we look forward to continuing the collaborations, and developing new ones, in the coming months and years.”Chris Chapman, Director of Policy Scotland
Facilitating COVID-19 rapid response research
As well as our own research, we’ve published and shared the work of colleagues from the University of Glasgow and other institutions focused on education, communities, welfare, the economy, housing, and more.
You can see the contributions under our COVID-19 work themes:
- Community resilience and addressing disadvantage
- City economies
- Education, children and families
- Housing and infrastructure
Supporting practice and policymaking
We set up new networks to bring together practitioners, policymakers and researchers to inform and analyse COVID responses:
- More Different Futures Network – bringing together housing policy professionals in the UK, Canada and Australia for a series of seminars.
- Crisis Response in Education Network – reimagining the approach of school inspections
- University of Glasgow’s Third Sector Knowledge Exchange Collaborative – improving the sustainability of Glasgow’s third sector in collaboration with the Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector.
We’ve reached decision-makers at different levels, through:
- Professor Chris Chapman, Policy Scotland Director, sitting on the Scottish Government’s coronavirus advisory group on education and children’s issues.
- Working collaboratively with many agencies in Glasgow, including Glasgow City Council, the Glasgow Economic Recovery Group, and the Social Recovery Taskforce.
- Providing evidence to UK and Scottish parliamentary committees in relation to the impact of COVID on economic and welfare issues.
Public engagement and knowledge exchange
We’ve continued our public engagement focus through high profile and well-attended events including:
- In conversation: Ken MacIntosh, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament
- ESRC Festival of Social Science: Radical Policy Rethinking after COVID-19
- A Conversation with Hilary Benn MP, Chair of the Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union in the House of Commons, on Brexit and what it means for Britain’s future.