Generating Policy Impact from Biosocial Research

When: Fri 7 Dec 2018 09:15 am - Fri 7 Dec 2018 01:30 pm
Where: Broadway House, Tothill Street, London, SW1H 9NQ - View Map

The emerging field of biosocial research provides a potentially powerful tool for policy impact and improving health and wellbeing. This is not only in terms of examining how the “social get under the skin” but for early diagnosis of risks, better understanding of how health impacts on daily lives, planning early interventions and in the development of “precision public health policy”.

However, it presents multiple challenges for knowledge exchange and impact generation. Much of the research is path breaking and interdisciplinary. In bringing together social, biological and medical concepts the communication challenges are that much greater. The research maybe relevant for a range of social issues and to different groups of policy makers - from those engaged in social, environmental, health, employment or education policy with little or no knowledge about biology and its relevance. It combines different kinds of data that may have not been previously presented together.

This half-day training course will provide an introduction to generating impact from biosocial research. It is aimed at the new cohort of social scientists, biologists and health researchers engaged in biosocial research. Researchers both new to impact generation or those familiar with engaging policy makers but keen to develop insights into how policy makers might utilise biosocial research will benefit from the course. The half-day workshop will consist of presentations from policy makers, practical exercises and a panel session. Importantly, it will provide a forum for discussing some of the unique barriers to generating impact from biosocial research.


  • Hear from policy makers about how biosocial research is relevant to their area of work
  • Learn about the basics of impact generation and why researchers should care about it
  • Put learning into practice by producing an outline ‘impact plan’ for biosocial research projects
  • Identify and discuss the usefulness of emerging biosocial research and challenges for knowledge exchange.

Programme (maybe subject to change)

9.15am to 9.30am: Registration

9.30am to 9.40am: Welcome and introductions

9.40am to 10.40am: Usefulness of biosocial research from different policy perspectives (employment/welfare, ageing and public health)

  • Ellen Flint: Head of Strategic Research, Department of Work and Pensions
  • Elizabeth Webb: Senior Research Manager, Age UK
  • Public Health England (tbc)

10.40am to 11.10am: Putting together an outline ‘impact plan’ for your research

  • Raj Patel, Impact Fellow and Acting Director of Policy Unit, Understanding Society

11.10am to 11.30am: Tea/coffee break

11.30am to 12.15: Impact exercise (in groups)

Delegates will draw up an outline impact plan for a piece of research. Groups (of 2 to 4 delegates) will work together to come up with a plan using real examples of research.

12.15pm to 1.00pm: Presentation of plans, feedback and open discussion on key opportunities and challenges for impact through biosocial research

  • Feedback on (selective) outline plans
  • Whole group discussion on the unique barriers to communications and impact generation from biosocial research

Panel members: Ellen Flint, Elizabeth Webb, and Raj Patel

1.00pm to 1.30pm: Lunch and networking