Report (pdf)

This report was produced following a workshop at the Institute of Languages, Cultures and Societies on 18 October 2023 organised in collaboration with the Cross-Government Languages Group (formerly the Cross-Whitehall Languages Group). The report comes at a time when there are tremendous new opportunities to promote and facilitate collaboration with, on the one hand, the creation of an academic engagement subgroup of the Cross-Government Languages Group and, on the other hand, the increasing imperative for modern linguists to demonstrate the impact of their research in shaping policy and how society develops. 

Section 1 of the report sets out the current situation regarding collaboration. In section 2 the breadth of research in languages, societies and cultures is presented, with many academics having expertise and research-informed evidence to offer across a wide range of key issues and government portfolios. Section 3 discusses the different ways of working of academics and civil servants and other obstacles to effective collaboration. Section 4 underlines the importance of the published Areas of Research Interest (ARIs) for understanding the main research questions facing government departments, while Section 5 presents some of the key ways to engage with the UK and devolved parliaments. Section 6 lists the funding opportunities and training available for academics wishing to embark on policy engagement with their research. Finally, Section 7 considers how the different sectors might come together to promote the value of languages more generally across society.  

While the report presents the many challenges experienced by both academics and policymakers in engaging with each other, it also outlines the opportunities for engagement currently offered. Moreover, it makes recommendations as to how further engagement might be facilitated and improved to strengthen the use of languages in the evidence-informed policy system and to sustain relationships between academia and policy bodies.