How modern social science research helps shape public policy, market forces and social understanding: mapping influences and developing metrics for the digital-era

The overall aim of the HEFCE project is to improve knowledge of the impact of research in helping to shape public policy, contributing to the development of markets and enterprise and influencing the broader societal understanding of social problems and debates about their solutions. The project responds to government drives to demonstrate the impact and benefit of public (and other) funding of research, in part itself driven by the current economic climate. It also aims to help inform and underpin the probable moves towards a regime for comprehensively tracking and assessing research influence in the near future making more use of quantitative and metrics-based indicators.

SRI's contribution explores how higher education institutions link with regional and local policy-makers and economic actors. The research focuses on work to achieve the sustainability (and particularly low carbon) policies at local and regional level. SRI has a strong network of contacts with sub-national governments at regional and local levels and an engagement with local service delivery and their inputs. The research will include policy networks mapping of SRI's local and regional links to decision-makers in government, to business and to third sector organizations and sites of influence within civil society. We will seek to track and follow impacts in the key domains of local and regional sustainability practice and policy.