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Barcelona Symposium 2018

barcelona-gaudi1-720x320 Symposium:

New Directions in Academic-Practitioner Research Collaborations

Barcelona (Spain), 13th and 14th December 2018.

Hosted by the Observatory of Analysis and Evaluation of Public Policies at University of Barcelona (OAP-UB

The promise of social science research is a better understanding of the world around us and, through application to practice, to contribute to improving the human condition. Perhaps nowhere is this applied promise greater than in the public policy and management fields, where improvements in the practice of governance can alleviate our most important social challenges.  While many scholars agree with these goals, the means to achieving them has long been subject to debate with much discussion on which social science research methods can best improve policy and administrative practice.

No longer is social research the sole providence of academics: governments, nonprofits, and even businesses are conducting their own social science research, often using sophisticated research designs.  The potential synergies from academic and practitioner research collaboration have never been higher. Advances in research methods, such as improved field experiments, research designs using quasi-random exogenous shocks, and exploiting big data sources have improved causal inferences in applied field research.  New technologies and infrastructure have lower research costs. Meanwhile, tightening public budgets and pressures to increase accountability are pushing governments and public managers around the world towards more evidenced-based policy and management decisions. Within this scenario, the challenge is to identify how and when different research approaches can be best deployed for practical and scholarly value.

 Aims and Scope of the Symposium

The overarching theme of the workshop is to discuss how advances in applied social science research methods can be used to harness synergies in practitioner-academic collaborations.  Candidate papers for this symposium will exemplify the promise of practitioner-academic collaborations. We welcome empirical papers that apply or discuss established and innovative research methodologies to address policy issues in collaboration with practitioners. In particular, we encourage research that uses novel methodologies that both include and generate insights from and for policy makers, and analyse the benefits, challenges, and reasoning of academic-practitioner’s synergies.

Potential topics for papers included can come from any area of public policy analysis and management. Specific insights on improving collaboration could address areas such as:

  • The promise and limitations of research methods in applied settings, such as field experiments and big data analysis.
  • How to identify research questions with scholarly and practical relevance?
  • Addressing the rigour relevance gap: translating research findings into policy advice.
  • How to coproduce research with organizations across sectors?
  • Specific examples of the added value that coproduction in research between scholars and practitioners has.
  • How to increase the impact of public policy and management research on the design and implementation of public policies?

Important dates and submission instructions

  • Authos are invited to submit their abstracts to no later than September 3, 2018.
  • Information on acceptance will be sent to authors by September 30th, 2018.
  • Confirmation of attendance to be included in the final program should be recieved by October 15th.
  • The Symposium will be held on 13 and 14 of December, 2018.

Final Program

 13th December

14h30 Registration

14h45 Welcome address

15h00 Session I: How to collaborate

  • Bert Fraussen (Leiden University) “Finding common ground between academics and practitioners? Co-producing research questions.
  • Ole Helby (Roskilde University) “Experimental Approaches in Collaboration between Research and Practice: A Methodological Guide”
  • Gregg Van Ryzin (Rutgers University) “Beyond quasi and natural experiments: a new taxonomy to improve understanding between researchers and practitioners.
  • Katerina Ciampi (European Commission) “Public policy evaluation in theory and practice: evaluating smart specialisation strategies to feed the European Cohesion policy cycle”.

16h30 Coffee break

16h45 Session II: Collaboration examples

  • Sarah Anderson (University of California, Santa Barbara)”Saving Water: Behavioral Strategies for Encouraging Household water conservation”
  • Nick Kelly (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT), “Expanding Choice in Housing Opportunities: A Boston Housing Authority and MIT Collaboration”
  • Brenda Philips (University of Massachusetts) “Living Labs as a Method to Foster Practice-Relevant Research”

18h00: End

 20h30 Workshop Dinner (city center)

  14th December

10h30: Session III: Co-production examples

  • Allison Bridges (Columbia University) “Co-producing indicator frameworks for sustainable urban development in China”
  • Brigham Daniels (Brigham Young University) “Transparency and Community Monitoring Activate But Do Not Deliver Accountability”
  • Nathaniel Wright (Texas Tech University) “Co-Production in a New Criminal Justice-Academic Mental Health Collaborative”

11h45 Coffee break

12h00 Session IV: Other Selected Topics

  • Il Hwan Chung (Soongsil University) “Predicting Municipal Fiscal Bankruptcy: Machine learning approach”
  • Adam Levine (Cornell University) “The Psychology of Matchmaking: How to Build Successful Relationships Between Researchers and Practitioners”
  • Sam Tabory (University of Minnesota) “Operationalizing Public Manager Engagement as Academic Work”

13h15 Speech by Matt Potoski on Special Issues.

13h30 Lunch (University Building)


OAP-UB will cover meal and lodging costs for one author per paper.

Organizing Committee

Matthew Potoski, UC Santa Barbara

Marc Esteve, University College, London

Germa Bel, University of Barcelona

Daniel Albalate, University of Barcelona

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