Hope for the Future shared our training with the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR) from Sheffield Hallam University. CRESR is a leading UK policy research centre which “seeks to understand the impact of social and economic disadvantage on places and people, and assess critically the policies and interventions targeted at these issues.” One of their areas of focus is fuel poverty which is of particular interest to Hope for the Future (see our resources on fuel poverty and climate change here), and they were interested to learn from us how academic research can make more of an impact on policy.
Hope for the Future specialises in effective communication and engagement with politicians, in particular MPs. We talked about how to break through the ‘glass wall’ to reach the listening ears of MPs and took the CRESR team through the training we deliver to climate campaigners, highlighting areas that would help them when presenting their research to MPs. For example, researching the MP before hand, framing arguments in the MP's political values and finding areas of common ground to build a good working relationship (read our lobbying advice here).
Aimee Ambrose, a senior research fellow at CRESR said;
“The talk we received from Jo and Sarah at Hope for the Future was incredibly insightful. As a group of applied academics working within a leading UK policy research centre, we need to ensure that our research reaches and resonates with decision makers within government. It is not enough to simply produce new evidence on key policy issues and hope it gets seen by the right people. We need to be proactive in engaging with politicians and Jo and Sarah gave us vital insights into how we might go about building fruitful relationships with MPs and those who support them and communicate key messages effectively and objectively.”
We also valued our time with CRESR hugely as it fed into our knowledge of fuel poverty; how improving the energy efficiency of housing to reduce carbon emissions can also have the benefit of combating fuel poverty. (More info here). Fuel poverty is a key issue with regards to climate policy as communicating effectively with MPs must involve demonstrating how transitioning to a low-carbon economy will have other benefits alongside those to the climate. For example, demonstrating how investment in renewable technology will lead to economic benefits and how reducing air pollution and instances of fuel poverty will lead to improved health and less pressure on the NHS. You can read Government whip and Conservative MP, Graham Stuart’s, encouragement for us to use the strong economic case of climate change mitigation here.