LJMU to host Universities Policy Engagement Network fringe event on EDI

Universities play a vital role in shaping public policy through research and knowledge exchange (RKE) which can be life changing for people around the globe – at LJMU this civic responsibility of making a difference to people’s lives is core to its vision and values.

As part of this commitment, the university will host an event for the Universities Policy Engagement Network (UPEN) to further their work in addressing Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) within academic-policy engagement, in turn advancing their ambition of increasing the impact of research on public policy.

The fringe event will take place on Thursday 9 May, and around 50 members of the UPEN Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Sub-Committee, including Dr Tori Sprung the Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Respect Lead for LJMU’s Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences, will gather at LJMU as a prelude to the network’s annual conference taking place later in May.

‘Identify alternative and pragmatic ways to shift our practice’

The one-day event will bring together those involved in academic-policy engagement, including academics, knowledge brokers and policymakers, to confront, learn and challenge how the higher education sector can unpack EDI principles to reshape academic-policy engagement for the better, and to develop practical insights for knowledge mobilisers to be part of the action.

Dr Sprung said: “The UPEN EDI Sub-Committee aims to understand and address deep rooted challenges relating to intersectional equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility in UK academic-policy engagement. However, addressing complex societal change has many practical implications which are fraught with tensions ranging from party-political discourse around so-called ‘woke ideology’, to systemic ‘busyness’ that undermines capacity for meaningful shifts in practice. Discussions at the fringe event will address these issues through discussion, reflection and debate and hope to identify alternative and pragmatic ways to shift our practice to advance EDI in academic-policy engagement practice.”

Event agenda

In the morning, attendees will take part in a panel discussion entitled ‘Diversifying and Democratising Knowledge in Academic-Policy Engagement’. Speakers will include Dr. Dayo Eseonu from Lancaster University whose research explores racial justice, Dr Marion Hersh from the University of Glasgow whose work focuses on assistive technology and she also sits on the UKRI panel to improve EDI in the research and innovation sector (EDI Caucus), and Anne-Lise Harding the Strategic Training Lead at House of Commons Library. This session can also be accessed remotely to enhance accessibility.

In the afternoon the group will take part in a workshop to deepen the conversation from the panel session, identifying possibilities and needs for shifting academic-policy engagement practice. This will be facilitated by Ray Cooper, Co-founder of &Breathe.

While the event is for UPEN members, it is also for those involved in academic-policy engagement, including academics, knowledge brokers, and policymakers. More information including how to register (either in person or virtually) are available via the UPEN Eventbrite page.

Research at LJMU

LJMU is dedicated to ensuring that its research has lasting and far-reaching impact, and that an inclusive research culture is embedded across the institution alongside delivering teaching inspired by research, engaging in impactful RKE with its local and international partners, plus developing an intellectually curious postgraduate research community.

More about LJMU’s research areas and insightful research case studies on the impact hub.

Further information about the Universities Policy Engagement Network (UPEN).


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