The influence of research in policy and practice

The rationale behind the Research Unit for Research Utilisation (RURU), established in 2001, is the belief that the ways in which research is combined with other forms of evidence and knowledge is likely to have important impacts on the nature, distribution, effectiveness, efficiency and quality of public services. RURU, comprising Professor Sandra Nutley, Professor Huw Davies and colleagues in the School of Management, has focused on increasing understanding of research use in public policy and practice settings, and has helped to transform thinking from ideas of one-way ‘knowledge transfer’ towards more situated and interactive models, which aim to influence organisational as well as individual behaviour.

The book, ‘USING EVIDENCE: How research can inform public services' (2007), and other publications and interactions have influenced and encouraged more effective research policy, better public policy making and improved public service delivery. Those influenced include research funding bodies and government departments in the UK, Australia, Canada, USA and Scandinavia. The result has included more effective research and evaluation investment and redesigned knowledge sharing activities. Using evidence and a subsequent paper, What counts as good evidence?, was picked up by UK Cabinet Office advisors on the operation of the What Works centres, which have been established to guide decision-making on £200 billion of public spending.