ISSP Annual Conference

Social Science Research and Policy Making: Bridging the Divide


Bailey Allen Conference Centre, NUI Galway 10:30 :: 1st December 2009

Recent upheavals in the global economy have fundamentally challenged conventional thinking with respect to society and business. Significant structural changes are emerging that will shape the manner in which policy makers conceptualise and respond effectively to sustaining communities, balanced regional and rural development and the knowledge society. In an open economy sustaining social and economic growth will be an increasing complex task given the advances in science and technology, new collaborative models of innovation, the increasing influence of oil producing countries and Asian central banks and the changing role of management and governance. Core assumptions about society and business have been fundamentally challenged by the current economic climate.

This context presents challenges and opportunities for social science research as there is often an uneasy relationship between researchers and policy makers. Research is typically inspired by a desire to explain and understand and policy makers are usually concerned with quick solutions to current problems. There is agreement that research should have a significant role in policy making. We can, however, ask whether the way social science research is organized and presented can be effectively used by policy makers and we can also ask whether the policy making process is making the best use of researchers skills and knowledge. This conference will stimulate discussion and debate on these questions and suggest ways in which the use of social science research in policy making might be improved through the sharing of information, ideas and perspectives.


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