Organized by the Scholars Strategy Network (SSN), in partnership with the William T. Grant Foundation, this interactive workshop provides researchers and data scientists the opportunity to learn best practices for developing reciprocal relationships with civic intermediaries and policymakers. In the pursuit of its mission to bridge the gap between universities and the policy process, the network has identified the knowledge and skills that researchers need to use their expertise more effectively in the policy realm. The centerpiece is an approach that emphasizes relationships and research-practice partnerships between academics and practitioners, rather than the traditional model of one-way information dissemination.
This workshop aims to provide concrete tools to empower researchers to foster long-term, reciprocal relationships with policymakers. These relationships — which are most formally organized as research-practice partnerships, but can take many other forms — have the potential to address policy crises and opportunities when they arise, as well as to promote policy improvement over the long-run. Skills taught in the training include: how to develop ongoing, reciprocal, trusting relationships with policymakers and civic intermediaries; how to assess policymakers’ resources, needs, and opportunities; the timing of the policy-making process; how to make effective use of intermediary groups; how interaction with policymakers can help researchers determine better research questions; and how ongoing policy engagement can be a part of researchers’ academic success.
The Global Value Chain (GVC) Initiative at Duke’s Center for Globalization, Governance and Competitiveness is at the forefront of researching areas of opportunity and risk in an ever-more interconnected global economy. Led by Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center, Gary Gerreffi, the GVC Initiative publishes original research analyzing sector-specific economies to understand how value is created through the industrial process.
A value chain differs from a conventional supply chain by focusing not just on traditional inputs and outputs, but looking at where, how and by whom value is added as a product goes from development to production. While some products may be confined by geography, the vast majority are inextricably connected to other states, countries, or regions – creating complex networks that require a more sophisticated framework of analysis. The GVC Initiative uses GVC mapping and analysis to uncover areas for value creation and better inform policies for growth and development. From exposing weak points in Russia’s wheat value chain to delving into the Tourism Value Chains in East Africa, the initiative conducts GVC research with real life policy implications.
Whether it be helping countries identify opportunities to enter new GVCs or mitigating potential risks, GVC analysis is a useful tool for policymakers who need to understand economic networks and the interactions of interrelated products and services. While much of the GVC work focuses on developing countries, uncovering opportunities for growth and recommending targeted action, the North Carolina in the Global Economy website provides an example of GVCs in our own state. Seven specific industries are featured with interactive maps and charts to understand how North Carolina ties into the global economy.
In the wake of the controversy surrounding North Carolina’s House Bill 2, a Global Health Professor approached the Policy Bridge for help crafting a policy brief that outlines the deleterious effect of the bill on the health of North Carolinians. The Policy Bridge provided guidance on the structure and presentation of this professor’s main points, as well as suggestions for how to disseminate the piece.
A Duke law professor asked the Policy Bridge for help identifying policymakers and practitioners in North Carolina who were experts on a specific K-12 education policy question that the legal clinic was considering addressing.