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Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing

Translating social science into public policy: challenges and opportunities

Celebrating 50 years of Sociology at Manchester: Sociology at Manchester in association with MICRA.

Social scientists can play a significant role influencing the direction of public policy. Researchers are now urged to demonstrate that their work has been taken up and used by policy makers, and practitioners, or has led to improvements in services or business. But getting social research into the public arena raises challenging issues in terms of changing dominant narratives around particular problems, influencing elite groups and opinion formers, and challenging vested interests.

This Symposium addressed these issues by taking two case studies of attempts to influence policy agendas, these involving issues around social exclusion in later life, and ethnic inequalities in health. The Symposium also considered the broader debate around the 'public value of social science' and future developments in this area.

Monday 8 December 2014


  • Professor Thomas Scharf, Visiting Hallsworth Professor (Professor of Social Gerontology, NUI, Galway) - 'Social Exclusion in Later Life: Developing an Impact Narrative'
  • Professor James Nazroo, Professor of Sociology, The University of Manchester - 'Ethnic inequalities in health: Reframing the debate, but what impact on policy?'
  • Professor Chris Phillipson, Professor of Sociology and Social Gerontology, The University of Manchester - 'The 'uses' of sociology: public issues and private troubles'
  • Chair: Dr Wendy Bottero (Senior Lecturer in Sociology, The University of Manchester)