Higher Education Research, Practice, and Policy: Connections & Complexities

SRHE International Conference 2023
4th December (online) and 6-8th December (in person at Conference Aston, Birmingham, UK)

The SRHE International Research Conference aims to emphasise the value of higher education research and higher education itself, from multiple perspectives, both within the UK and internationally. SRHE embraces the full research and innovation portfolio and encourages scholarly rigorous analyses of the key issues facing higher education research, policy, and practice.

Policy which is grounded in research and evidence is widely considered optimal, but as academics, policymakers, and other practitioners attest, academic-policy engagement is challenging. With academic research and policy development operating to different paces, scales, and access to resources, it can be difficult to incorporate even highly relevant research findings into policy. How can research into policy be embedded into mechanisms of scrutiny and evaluation? In terms of fostering academic-policy engagement, what works? It must also be acknowledged that there are potential drawbacks to forging closer links between academia and policy, and that there can be disagreement about what constitutes an acceptable evidence base. Can we maintain research integrity and support curiosity, while also responding to policy issues?

When it comes to higher education research, who is at the forefront generating new knowledge, and who is leading the development and evaluation of practice? How can we establish effective and generative connections between research, teaching, evaluation, and learning? Which knowledge systems are prominent in the research and practice of higher education – and are there knowledge bases or epistemologies we have yet to recognise?