An innovative series of academic blogs from LSE has found new ways of stimulating interest in the social sciences, scooping LSE Public Policy Group the Times Higher Education award for the best knowledge exchange initiative in higher education during 2011.
Judges at the THE’s Leadership and Management Awards praised the four LSE blogs for the "subtle and powerful" way they influence society and policy in stimulating comment and debate. Judges said that by encouraging hundreds of academics from the School and other unviersities to share their research and thinking with a wider audience, the blogs showed real impact.
The first of the blogs to be established, British Politics and Policy at LSE, is the highest-ranked university blog in the UK and the second-most read economics blog in the country. The Impact of Social Sciences blog - created to disseminate research from a project funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England - has grown to become a leading international forum for debate on digital scholarship, government policy and publishing models, with around 5,000 visitors a week.
The PPG team, headed by Patrick Dunleavy, Professor in Government at LSE, also runs two newly created blogs: the European Politics and Policy blog (whose brand name is EUROPP) and the LSE Review of Books. All four blogs bring together expertise from academics, policymakers and analysts in order to promote social science debate, expressed though high-quality writing and editing.
Philip Graham, business alliance manager at Queen’s University Belfast and one of the judges, said that the LSE group had illustrated that knowledge exchange can be much wider than technology transfer and taken academics out of their 'comfort zone'. He said: “Their high-quality blog highlights real and important issues.
“The comments and debates it generates influences stakeholders and policymakers in a much more subtle and powerful way than traditional lobbying. This is a real example of how social scientists do have, and can demonstrate, real impact.”
Professor Dunleavy said: "We are very pleased that the judges recognised the importance of multi-author blogs (and now Twitter) in finding new ways of connecting serious academic work with people who think deeply about social issues in business, government and the professions. It is a particular coup for the social sciences to win this award against strong competition from physical science projects with a great deal more funding than we have."
Jane Tinkler, manager of the Public Policy Group, said: "There is a huge appetite amongst well-educated graduates in the UK and overseas for reading and debating the latest thinking on public policy and social change. Our team would like to thank all the several hundred blog authors in LSE, other universities, think tanks and society who’ve helped build the readership of our blogs."
Three of the blogs are funded by the LSE’s HIEF5 programme for Knowledge Exchange, and the ‘Impact of Social Sciences’ blog is directly funded as part of a Higher Education Funding Council for England research programme.
For more details see the four blogs at:
British Politics and Policy http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/
Impact of Social Sciences http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/
LSE Review of Books http://www.lsereviewofbooks.com/
European Politics and Policy http://www.europp.eu/