Most health researchers focus on learning things that have the potential to prevent, treat or cure illness. But they rarely have the opportunity to think about the real-world changes that might be needed to turn those discoveries into widespread practice — the parliamentary debates, the budget negotiations, the change in regulations about hiring civil servants, the incentive structures that undermine one approach or promote another.
In our policy work, we try to look at scientific knowledge in a wider context. We look at the social, cultural and political strucutres that shape a problem and that constrain or facilitate potential solutions. We can provide advice for very specific situations, for example by identifying the potential reputational risks for a large biobank as norms surrounding genebased therapies change. We also enjoy the challenge of analysing more general issues such as the links between market incentives for medicine production and transnational crime. Much of this work is privately commissioned and we can’t easily share the results. For examples of policy work in the public sphere, please see the Data Sharing section.