BAM Policy 2020 Year in Review

BAM Policy Year in Review                  

2019 AGM – 2020 AGM

BAM’s policy function has had a productive and successful year, and there is much to report on our activities since BAM’s last AGM despite a wider political environment that has been deeply disrupted by Brexit planning, a General Election, and the Covid-19 pandemic. Our work over the last year has been both public-facing, with responses to large scale public consultations on issues of great import to the business and management (B&M) community, and behind the scenes, with outreach to directly engage policymakers, build partnerships with B&M community stakeholders, and to connect our scholars to policymakers.


Public Consultations and Political Events

At the time of last year’s AGM, we had just responded to the ESRC’s Flinders Review on the future of researcher development and research leadership in the social Sciences’ (2019).  When the Flinders review was published in June, we had a nice confirmation of BAM’s growing recognition in the policy world.  The report (Fit for the Future: Research Leadership in the Social Sciences) highlighted a pull-out quote from our submission on p. 15, and also highlighted a pull-out quote from BAM Council Member Stefanie Reissner on p. 8, which references BAM.  Moreover, the Review Team wrote to thank us for our input, as our submission was highly relevant and on-point, and as the BAM Framework in particular was very helpful in shaping their thinking.

Over the last year, we provided evidence on behalf of BAM to several other government consultations important for both our membership and the future of our organisation. In November 2019, we led a joint submission with CABS to the Migration Advisory Committee’s consultation on the salary threshold and points-based system proposed for the UK’s future immigration system. In it, we pointed out that at least 1 in every 3 business and management academics are of international origin, and we provided detailed evidence of the numbers of international staff in business and management by contract type, and by the UK region in which they work.  We highlighted why these international staff, who often bring with them number and data skills that are in short supply in the UK, would be difficult to replace from the current pipeline of UK post-graduates. We also argued (in concert with the Academy of Social Sciences (AcSS) and several other organisations) that removing the proposed £30K annual pay threshold for skilled migrants would be a key move needed to ensure that the future immigration system is fit for purpose.  It should be noted that the government thankfully subsequently backed down from the 30K threshold.  

In January 2020, we made another joint submission with CABS to the Consultation on Future Approaches to the External Quality Enhancement of UK Higher Education Transnational Education (TNE), with the help of our MKE Vice-Chair Lisa Anderson.  CABS asked us to work on this consultation with them, an excellent sign of our ever-improving relationship and partnership on policy issues.  In March, we responded to the Chancellor’s 2020 Budget by welcoming the increased public investment in research, while highlighting the need for increased funding for the B&M community as part of the multi-disciplinary work that will be needed to successfully tackle the biggest challenges that we face as a society, and to successfully deliver future innovations and government research plans.

In May, BAM also responded to UKRI’s review of Open Access (OA) publishing. This is a critical issue for both BAM members and BAM’s future as a learned society, and we must continue to make our voice heard on the many issues surrounding the move to greater OA.  As a learned society, BAM supports the B&M research community in ways that would be difficult to replicate or replace by government. And while we strongly support greater OA, we remain deeply concerned the current proposed UKRI model (of only either Gold-OA or zero-embargo green-OA) will threaten the key ways in which we provide that support to the B&M research community, and to evidence-based policymaking in the UK.  In May, Madeleine also wrote an urgent letter to the Secretary of State for Education on the MBA/MSc and the Level 7 Senior Leader Master’s Degree Apprenticeship in coordination with (and support of) the critical arguments being put forward by CABS on the issue.

In August we responded to the survey conducted by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on the UK’s Research & Development Roadmap. We argued, in concert with the AcSS, that breakthroughs in research knowledge require a more inclusive understanding of science and research that explicitly recognizes the role of the social sciences (like business and management studies) and the importance of multi-disciplinary working. We welcomed the Roadmap’s recognition of the importance of collaboration and cocreation in inclusive research, but also encouraged more practice-based knowledge to be included in the UK’s push to improve its knowledge base and research outcomes, citing the cutting-edge research in UK business schools that comes from practitioners and co-creation with businesses.

Most recently, BAM responded to the ESRC’s Review of the UK Social Science PhD in September. Our submission focused on all doctoral programmes offered by UK universities and business schools in the diverse field of business and management, including traditional PhDs (by thesis), PhDs by publication, and the Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) – recognising and highlighting how each route faces different challenges and requires different remedies to make them fit for the future.  The submission was crafted from the detailed input and contributions of BAM’s leadership and membership, including: Professor Lisa Anderson FBAM (Liverpool); Professor Emma Bell (Open University); Professor Nelarine Cornelius FBAM (Queen Mary); Professor Stephanie Decker (Bristol); Professor Qile He (Derby); Professor Katy Mason FBAM (BAM Chair, Lancaster); Professor Elena Novelli (Cass); Professor Savvas Papagiannidis (Newcastle); and Professor Martyna Sliwa (Essex). It was a wonderfully collaborative effort, and I hope that we continue to see such widespread and enthusiastic input for future consultations.


Outreach and Engagement

In addition to this public-facing work, we do a large amount of outreach and engagement on behalf of the BAM community that is often carried out ‘behind the scenes,’ but which is vital to growing our profile among policymakers and stakeholders.

Indeed, we continue to attend (and contribute to) meetings as part of our outreach and engagement with the wider community – whether in person or virtually (due to the pandemic). In tandem with our submission to the ESRC’s PhD Review in September, for example, we met with those in the ESRC and CFE carrying out the Review to discuss the DBA. Attendees included members of BAM’s Executive and Council with deep expertise on DBA programmes, as well as DBA graduates who were able to share their personal experiences. The key takeaway from the meeting was that the ESRC is keen to learn more about professional doctorates like the DBA, and to include them in their Review. We will continue to work with the ESRC to determine how the DBA might be better supported in the future.

Members of the executives of both BAM and the Chartered ABS continued to meet with policymakers and other stakeholders, as part of our joint Campaign for Greater Investment in Business and Management Research. I also continue to meet with (and build relationships with) parliamentary clerks, relevant civil servants in Whitehall, and other policy officers in our sister learned societies, the national academies, and the large research funding bodies.  This work also includes regular participation in policy forums, like the Royal Society’s Science Policy Catch-ups (focused on UK research policy) and the Wellcome-led Network of Networks (focused on UK policy towards science, immigration, and international collaboration). 

Our engagement also includes “knowledge mobilisation” work, where we respond to direct inquiries from policymakers, civil servants, and other stakeholders (such as funding bodies and the media) to connect them to the right experts on a given topic, or to highlight engagement opportunities with them to interested members of our community. Since last year’s conference, for example, we have responded to numerous direct requests from the Cabinet Office’s Open Innovation Unit and the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST). I also participated this summer in a British Library research project about how government and official information is used, at their request.

Our outreach work  also includes regularly updating the BAM policy pages not only with links to our public-facing policy work, but also with information on pertinent consultations and inquiries (to help our members engage and increase the impact of their research), funding opportunities, and other relevant policy news and resources. 

Because the business and management community has a large role to play in successfully tackling the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, we also started work in March to help make the experts in our community aware of how they can get involved in the response to the pandemic and share their expertise with policymakers. In addition to targeted outreach efforts through email, twitter, and LinkedIn, we launched a new and regularly updated hub on the BAM policy site called Coronavirus (Covid-19): How the BAM Community can help. This site lists numerous opportunities for engagement – from how to sign up for the Government’s database of experts and contribute to POST’s new research repository, to a list of the many public consultations and inquiries on Covid-related matters, and relevant Covid-related research funding opportunities. We also should note that shortly after this policy initiative, POST published a list of those researchers who had joined their database and responded to their survey of COVID research priorities, and we are proud to say that at least three BAM Fellows and thirteen BAM members answered the call.

Finally, we continue to work with the Executive Committee, Council, and the SIGs on longer projects of outreach and engagement with the policy community.


Thank You, BAM Community

None of this would be possible without the input of our community or their continued enthusiasm and engagement. And for that I wish to end this update with a sincere “Thank You” for all that you have done, and to say that I look forward to working with you even more in the future.

We have done well to grow our profile through these unprecedented times and can once again be very proud of our record over the last year. Providing evidence for policy making is an important role for us to play – not just to be ‘good citizens’ as a learned society and raise our profile with policy makers, but also to ensure that the expertise and concerns of our members are heard on issues of importance to the wider business and management (B&M) research community. If you wish to speak with me more about our policy work, or want to get more involved with it, please do not hesitate to contact me at [email protected].


Warm regards,

Dr. Ashley Lenihan

Head of Policy & Engagement, BAM