Mobilise your research in the policy landscape with CLOSER’s Policy Hub

Jay Dominy, Public Affairs Manager at CLOSER, introduces CLOSER’s policy hub, a tool to help researchers with engagement and policy impact.

2024 is an important year for the research-policy landscape. With a UK General Election likely to be called later this year, it is now even more important for researchers to understand the complexities of the policy landscape and how to use their research to inform and shape public policy.

It’s crucial to ensure that researchers do not stop once the conclusion of their research paper is written. As UKRI’s strategy makes clear, publicly funded research must inform the development of policies that improve population health, prevent future illness, and tackle health inequalities.

Two common challenges arise here. First, engaging with policymaking can be difficult and complex, requiring a specific skillset. On top of this, researchers are time-poor, and therefore need tailored guidance and support to ease their learning curve in policy impact. As the organisation representing the UK’s world-leading longitudinal population studies, a key part of CLOSER’s mission is to ensure scientific evidence reaches and influences policymakers. As such, we are well placed to share our experiences and the lessons we have learned from mobilising academic research.

Build your policy engagement capabilities with CLOSER’s Policy Hub

The policy landscape is complex, involving many actors, and it’s often difficult to find and select the most effective engagement opportunities. By learning about UK policymaking systems, researchers can understand how different engagement opportunities can result in real change. Find out more in CLOSER’s guide to the policymaking process. This resource helps users understand how policymaking is done in practice across various governmental and parliamentary bodies. It also introduces policymaking initiatives and organisations that are particularly aimed at researchers, such as Areas of Research Interest and the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology.

This knowledge better equips researchers to identify the opportunities available to mobilise their evidence and insights. However, that does not make sifting through the numerous engagement opportunities, both in Westminster and the devolved regions, any less onerous! For that reason, the Policy Hub contains bespoke trackers for Areas of Research Interest, Parliamentary committee inquiries and government consultations, highlighting the opportunities that would benefit most from longitudinal data and research.

Practical guidance and tools to simplify policy engagement

The realities of policy engagement are best understood through experience. The Policy Hub offers practical guidance on how to get research in front of policymakers. This includes the importance of building a profile amongst policy actors, and how to build a reputation as a trusted and reliable source of evidence. It also helps with small, but important, details, such as how to address letters to parliamentarians and where to find their contact information.

One of the best and most direct ways to ensure research informs and shapes policymaking is through written evidence submissions to Parliamentary committee inquiries. However, the format that committees request differs in several ways from academic papers or policy briefings. For that reason, we have created an interactive written evidence submission form where you can enter your own information and research findings to receive a fully formatted document, specifically tailored and ready to submit to a parliamentary committee inquiry.

Let us know what you think!

The Policy Hub is an evolving resource and we already have some exciting ideas for additions and improvements. But we want to be guided by feedback and would greatly appreciate input on what additions would be most valuable to the research community. If you have any suggestions of how the Policy Hub could improve, please get in touch at

About the author

Jay Dominy is Public Affairs Manager at CLOSER, working to ensure data and research from the UK’s longitudinal population studies are used to inform policymaking. He also supports longitudinal researchers in developing the skills necessary to conduct effective policy engagement of their own.

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