Engaging with policy - resources to help scientists navigate a complex interface

13 December 2022 - Riddet Institute researcher Hannah McKerchar is on a mission to help two worlds connect: scientists and policy makers.

She says Aotearoa New Zealand scientists are a massive resource for the country’s policy makers looking to base their policy development on directly relevant evidence, but building the links between the two communities is surprisingly difficult.

Dr McKerchar is currently an intern with the Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor Professor Dame Juliet Gerrard. She is working on a Riddet Institute-funded project aimed at helping scientists better share their findings with policy makers.

Dr McKerchar says navigating the complex interface of science and policy is most effective when researchers establish relationships with people working in policy.

“A good way to start is concisely saying ‘I’m doing this science, this is what it means, and this is how it’s relevant to policy. How can I help?’" Dr McKerchar says.

To help scientists learn more about the science/policy interface and begin the journey of translating their work for a policy audience, Dr McKerchar has developed resources for preparing a Policy Brief and a short video animation. The animation, aimed at PhD students, highlights the challenging and complex journey of connecting with policy.

Find the following resources below:

  • Policy Brief video animation – How to fill in Policy Brief (mp4)
  • Policy Brief Guide and Template
  • Policy Brief example DELTA
  • Policy Brief example CellAg
  • Video animation - Challenges of connecting with policy (for PhD students) (mp4)

Policy Briefing resources

This simple guide provides a structure and template to enable the creation of a Policy Brief, clearly listing what needs to be covered to make this document effective.
An example of a two-page Policy Brief detailing the DELTA Model.
An example of a Policy Brief about the science of cultivating meat in cells.

The challenges of connecting with policy

This short animation provides some background to the challenges of getting your research under the noses of policy makers and how to make a start in developing the key relationships that are essential to this process.

Dr Hannah McKerchar has created a suite of engaging animations and print resources to help scientists prepare briefing documents and foster relationships with those working in policy development.

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