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Reflecting on the Innovation Caucus Strategic Engagement Masterclasses

We had an excellent turnout for our Strategic Engagement Masterclass series last month, with over 200 attendees for the final session on 24 February.  On each of the four sessions, a fantastic panels of expert speakers offered to social scientists, at any stage in their career, advice and an in-depth exploration of themes including engaging funders, the role of innovation intermediaries and policy makers at a strategic level in the innovation space, and how to translate research in the business space. The sessions addressed key areas covered by the new Innovation Caucus multi-authored book, How To Engage Policy Makers with your Research

Session 1 (3 February)

In the first of our masterclasses, we explored the opportunity to engage with funders on a strategic level, focussing on understanding their role in the research and innovation landscape beyond funding, and how social science researchers can get involved.  A lively audience Q&A session followed presentations by Mel Knetsch (Deputy Director of Impact and Innovation, UKRIand Nick Bassett (Associate Director for Innovation, BBSRC).

Session 2 (10 February)

The second of our masterclasses focussed on helping social science researchers understand the role of innovation intermediaries in the research and innovation landscape. Our expert speakers, Dr David Wilkes (Director, Innovation Ecosystem, Innovate UK), Jon Kingsbury (Director of Strategic Development, Innovate UK KTN), and Alexandra Jugureanu (Knowledge Transfer Manager – Social Science Business Innovation, Innovate UK KTN) shared their perspectives on what social scientists can do to understand and complement the vital role that the intermediaries play in the innovation ecosystem.

Session 3 (16 February)

In the third of our masterclasses, our expert speakers, Professor Muthu de Silva (Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Birkbeck, University of London) and Stuart Morrison (Policy and Research Executive, British Chambers of Commerce) explored how to translate social science research in the business landscape.  In this fascinating presentation, valuable insights were shared on how to move beyond transferring knowledge to businesses or doing research ‘on’ business, to co-creating ‘with’ businesses, and the benefits that this transformation can bring to both partners.

Session 4 (24 February)

In our final Masterclass, we had an exciting set of highly informative presentations from Sarah Chaytor (Director of Research Strategy & Policy, UCL), Tash Mutebi (Social Science Adviser, POST, UK Parliament), Siobhán Conway (Knowledge Exchange Manager, Knowledge Exchange Unit, UK Parliament).  Our expert speakers explored strategic engagement with policy makers to foster innovation in policy-making and scrutiny of policy, exploring routes for social science researchers to inform and impact policy thinking.


We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our expert panellists for their generosity in offering invaluable insights and perspectives on current thinking in innovation policy, and how social science researchers can understand the needs of and engage with funders, innovation intermediaries and policy makers in the innovation space.  Follow the Innovation Caucus twitter feed at @InnovCaucus for more opportunities for knowledge sharing and exchange in the coming year.