Translation across borders: exploring the use, relevance and impact of academic research in the policy process (Jan 2014 - Mar 2015)


Dr Catherine Durose


Steve Connelly (University of Sheffield), Dave Vanderhoven (University of Sheffield), Liz Richardson (University of Manchester), Peter Matthews (University of Stirling)

Robert Rutherfoord (Department of Communities and Local Government)


Arts and Humanities Research Council Connected Communities programme


Policy problems are widely perceived as increasing in scope and complexity. But academic research has oft been accused of a ‘relevance gap’ for policy, perceived as overly abstracted; adding complexity but not offering solutions. Frustration is clear on both sides.

This project will observe the use and translation of specific research outputs generated by Connected Communities projects and co-commissioned by a UK central government department. The research will be co-produced by a team of academics and research analysts from DCLG's Integration and Community Rights division. Its execution will involve close engagement with key users in the Division's policy team and stakeholders in the pilots of the 'Our Place!' neighbourhood budgeting programme.

Project aims and objectives

This project seeks to explore and suggest ways to address the frustrations which attempts to translate research into policy can bring. A focus of concern for academics is the fidelity of translation to their research findings. For policy-makers, the focus is often the function of the translation for the demands they are seeking to address. The rhythms of working in a political environment and implications for implementation of policy-making all further shape and   constrain the potential impact of academic research.