Rapidly exploring application design through speed dating


It wasn’t just about researchers packaging up their research.The academics wanted to understand more about how the civil servants do their work.

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Professor Gowan Dawson from the University of Leicester shared insights from Victorian efforts to involve people in scientific research – an early forerunner for today’s citizen science.Using a speed-dating format, we designed a two-hour event that gave policy officials and researchers seven opportunities to meet, each lasting six minutes each.They used this time to exchange information about their work, sharing their policy challenges (from the civil servants) and their research findings and methods (from the researchers).Government websites present documents for consultation, or names of senior civil servants, or short summaries of policies.

But typically it is not easy for people with research findings, proposals or methodologies who are not already connected to government to identify potential collaborators or “users” for research inside policy contexts.

Generally arts and humanities research receives less public funding than other areas.