BAM Policy Year in Review September 2018 – 2019
At last year’s conference, BAM’s policy function was brand new – and while we had only been up and running for about 6 months, there was already much to report. We had agreed a short- and long-term strategy for BAM’s new foray into policy with the Executive Committee. We had made our first successful submissions as an institution to a parliamentary inquiry (on an Immigration System that Works for Science & Innovation) and a government consultation (on the Subject Level TEF). We had fostered two individual submissions by BAM Fellows to the parliamentary inquiry on Small Business & Productivity, which resulted in media and other inquiries. In collaboration with CABS, we had even produced a one-page infographic outlining key elements of the BAM-CABs Position Paper, which was then sent out to over 1700 stakeholders as part of our new joint Campaign for Greater Investment in Business & Management Research.
BAM 2019 now offers a good opportunity to take stock of our accomplishments over the last year, which has been a busy one for us and for the UK policy world in general. Brexit preparations have equally caused furious activity on some policy issues that affect the business and management (B&M) research community, and paralysis on others. Like many learned societies, for example, we have chosen to wait before commenting fully on the outcome of the Augar review, as the political situation is not yet stable enough for us to know its future – though we continue to gather views from our leadership and membership to inform a future response when matters become clearer. The end of Theresa May’s government, the start of the Boris Johnson government, the continued uncertainty surrounding the outcome of Brexit, and the remaining possibility of a general election have all created a challenging landscape in which to work. It is, however, a deeply interesting political environment – and as in most periods of uncertainty there are many areas in which we can be active, and even more opportunities on which we can capitalise. The below gives just a flavour of some of our more public facing activities since BAM 2018.
Over the last year, we have responded to eleven parliamentary inquiries, government consultations and policy events. We made a statement on relevant aspects of the Autumn Budget (November 2018) and welcomed the ESRC Announcement of £3.8 million in Funding Awards for Management Research (January 2019). In terms of Parliament, we have made evidence submissions to the House of Commons Science & Technology Committee’s inquiry on the Balance & Effectiveness of Research & Innovation Spending (October 2018) and to their ‘My Science’ inquiry (November 2018), as well as to the Liaison Committee’s inquiry on the Effectiveness and Influence of the Select Committee System (June 2019). We made numerous submissions to government consultations, including those on the TEF Independent Review (March 2019), the KEF Review (March 2019), and the consultation on future frameworks for international collaboration on research & innovation that will inform the Sir Adrian Smith Review (May 2019). We responded to the consultation of cOAlition S on the open access ‘Plan S’, which we also submitted to UKRI to inform their preliminary consultation on the issue (February 2019). Though it was not a formal consultation, we also made a lengthy (and welcomed) submission of evidence to the Government Office for Science concerning the impact of the proposed new immigration system on the science, research and innovation community (June 2019). Most recently, we responded to the ESRC consultation on the Flinders Review: ‘Fit for the Future? Researcher Development and Research Leadership in the Social Sciences’ (August 2019).
We can be very proud of this 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.
We also continue to attend and contribute to meetings as part of our outreach and engagement to the wider community. Members of the executives of both BAM and the Chartered ABS continue 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 even other policy officers in our sister learned societies, the national academies, and large research funders. Most recently, I attended the celebration of global ‘Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises Day’ or ‘MSMES Day’ on June 27th at United Nations headquarters in New York, helping to introduce BAM to a new audience. The event was sponsored by the UN ECOSOC and SDG, Argentina, the International Trade Centre (ITC), and the International Council for Small Business (ICSB) – and helped to create new ties for us on the policy side to the global business and management community.
This year we also added a new policy page the BAM website (https://www.bam.ac.uk/policy). This site collates information on our public-facing policy and engagement work, as well items that might be useful to our membership. We provide links to policy news that impacts the B&M community (such as the current impact training sessions being offered by parliament), as well as to targeted research funding opportunities (such as the ESRC call for the Canada-UK Artificial Intelligence Initiative that is part of UKRI's Fund for International Collaboration). Each of our institutional responses to inquiries, consultations, and events are published there as soon as we receive clearance, and summaries may also be found in our regularly posted ‘policy updates,’ which are available on both the policy page and its archives (https://www.bam.ac.uk/policy-archives). We highlight the work of BAM Fellows who we have helped to make their own evidence submissions to recent parliamentary inquiries and consultations. Finally, we provide links to useful resources, such as our BAM-CABS infographic on the added value of business & management research, and guides on how to best engage with policymakers and make your own written submissions of evidence to parliament.
Finally, we continue to work with the Executive Committee, Council, and the SIGs on longer projects of outreach and engagement with the policy community. In order to fully understand some of the expertise at our disposal, for example, we implemented a survey of the Fellows College this year, in which we also asked about their desire to engage in various ways with policy. We hope to role this survey out to Council in the months ahead.
I hope to see many of you at the BAM 2019 conference in Aston this September, where I will be chairing sessions with ESRC on writing better grant proposals and reviews, and the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology (POST) on engaging with policy. 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 find me at the conference, or to write me at email@example.com.
Dr Ashley Lenihan
Head of Policy & Engagement
British Academy of Management