Empowering MedTech scientists to be advocates for research

Friday, 23 September 2022

University of Galway
At the launch of the ‘Science Advocacy in MedTech’ White Paper were (L-R): Denis Naughten TD, Oireachtas Friends of Science & Technology; Leonora Harty, Evidence for Policy Unit, Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science; University of Galway Vice President Research and Innovation, Professor Jim Livesey; CÚRAM Scientific Director Professor Abhay Pandit; and White Paper authors Dr Brendan Dolan, Postdoctoral Researcher at CÚRAM, and Dr Caroline McGregor, Professor at the School of Political Science and Sociology, University of Galway. Credit: Aengus McMahon.

CÚRAM launches White Paper exploring how MedTech researchers and research centres can work to help bridge the research-policy gap 

CÚRAM SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices, based at the University of Galway, has launched their ‘Science Advocacy in MedTech’ White Paper at a public event entitled Pathways to Policy.

Key recommendations of the White Paper include the need for more training support for researchers in effectively communicating and engaging with policy audiences, raising awareness of the policymaking process in Ireland and internationally, and providing networking and knowledge exchange opportunities for researchers and policy audiences. 

The White Paper was developed through a collaboration between CÚRAM and the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at University of Galway. Emanating from six years of research at CÚRAM, the White Paper takes lessons learned in other countries and other research fields with more experience connecting their research to policy and practice, e.g. environmental science and social sciences. 

Lead author, Dr Brendan Dolan explains: “One of our underlying drivers when developing this White Paper was to look to see how other fields, ones with perhaps more obvious links to policy development, work to connect their work with policy audiences, including political representatives, civil servants and community organisations. To this end, the project's interdisciplinary nature has proven incredibly beneficial.

“We see Science Advocacy as active support of science, technology, engineering and maths, with researchers directly informing policy audiences about their research and engaging with the policymaking process. To this end, we focus more on individual researchers' role in advocating for their research.”

The launch event brought together leading researchers and policymakers for keynote talks and a panel discussion on creating more effective research-policy interactions and collaborations. 

The event was hosted by Professor Abhay Pandit, CÚRAM Scientific Director. High-profile speakers and panel participants for the event included University of Galway President Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh; Denis Naughten TD, Oireachtas Friends of Science & Technology; Kate Morris, Campus Engage; University of Galway Vice President Research and Innovation Professor Jim Livesey; Leonora Harty of the newly established Evidence for Policy Unit at the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science; and Dr Karen Doyle, CÚRAM Funded Investigator.

Speaking at the event, University of Galway President, Professor Ciaran Ó hÓgartaigh said: “It is increasingly important that public policy be evidence-based and that our researchers are empowered to have a positive policy impact on society. True to our values of openness and excellence, our researchers will continue to break down barriers and connect with non-academic audiences so we can help create a better informed and engaged society.”

Speaking at the event, Professor Abhay Pandit said: “National centres such as CÚRAM can begin to embed and develop a culture of science advocacy through providing training, networking and knowledge brokerage opportunities with policy audiences, incentives for science advocacy efforts, even simply through highlighting the work already carried out by their researchers in this realm. The research-policy ecosystem needs more pathways to policy for researchers, but efforts are being made to bridge this gap.”

The full White Paper and a two-page infographic summary are now available here.

Ends

Keywords: Press.

Author: Marketing and Communications Office, NUI Galway
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