The LSE IQ podcast, produced by a small team in LSE Communications Division, has won a 2018 Guardian University Award.
The monthly podcast where LSE academics, and other experts, answer one pressing, intelligent question per episode about economics, politics or society has rapidly gained a large following since it was launched in April 2017. Each episode is now averaging 8,000 to 10,000 downloads in the first month, far exceeding set targets. It is consistently in the top ten of the Higher Education chart on Apple Podcasts and receives unanimous five star reviews.
It won the award in the category of ‘best marketing and comms campaign’ for ‘an imaginative university marketing or press campaign that imparts a clear message to engage its target audience and raise the profile of the university, or show it in a new light.’ The judges were specialists from within the Guardian and across the higher education sector in the UK.
With a limited budget but a lot of enthusiasm, a small team of originally five people (now seven) from LSE Media Relations and Film and Audio has so far produced 13 half hour episodes. Recent issues it has tackled include, ‘Why haven’t we won the war on drugs?’, ‘Why is social mobility declining?’, ‘What makes a great leader?’ and ‘What’s the secret to happiness?’
It is one of the few scripted podcasts in higher education to bring academics together from different disciplines, using their own research as the basis to discuss a topical issue. The aim is to highlight the relevance of academic research – and the social sciences in general – in thinking about and dealing with important societal issues. The School aims to be a leader in issue-oriented social science and to use the promotion of its research to influence public understanding and debate. This is especially important with the Research Excellence Framework’s emphasis on the idea of 'impact'.
Adrian Thomas, LSE's Director of Communications, said: “This is a fantastic achievement from the LSE IQ team. In a competitive news and funding environment, it’s vitally important we find new and interesting ways to highlight social science research - and show the enormous impact it can have.”
The podcast is available for download on LSE’s website: http://lse.ac.uk/iq as well as SoundCloud and all major podcast apps.