IPPO Newsletter No.1: Our first webinar, a call for contributions, and launch of the IPPO ‘Living Map’
Welcome to the first newsletter from the International Public Policy Observatory (IPPO), a collaboration of UK academic institutions and global networks established to help UK policymakers address the many social impacts of COVID-19 using the best-available evidence from around the world.
Whether you are a policymaker seeking more evidence to inform difficult decisions, or a researcher seeking to inform the decision-making process with your work, we hope you will want to get involved with IPPO.
Here’s a quick round-up of our upcoming events and latest evidence products, plus a call for contributions and an update on our work to date. If you have a question about any aspect of IPPO, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Webinar: how should we tackle the social impacts of COVID-19?
The first in a series of webinars held in conjunction with The Conversation will take place on Tuesday 30 March at 2pm BST (more details here). Panellists include Sir Geoff Mulgan (IPPO project lead and Professor of Collective Intelligence, Public Policy and Social Innovation at UCL); Hetan Shah (Chief Executive of the British Academy); and Deidre Heenan (Professor of Social Policy at Ulster University).
Other upcoming events
A key element of IPPO’s work is hosting regular (virtual) roundtable meetings featuring policymakers from all of the UK nations as well as topic specialists and other leading experts. The next two on our calendar are:
How should the UK improve adult training and job placement to aid its recovery? A joint roundtable with the Economics Observatory (IPPO’s sister Observatory) on Tuesday 20 April (3.30-5pm). You can register for this event here.
Online education: What will we take forward from the pandemic? This roundtable event, which forms part of a longer-term systematic review of evidence in this area, is on Monday 26 April (4-5pm). If you are interested in attending, please email us at email@example.com (adding online learning in the subject line).
Launch of the IPPO ‘Living Map’
We’re pleased to announce the launch of the IPPO Living Map: an easy-to-search, regularly updated database of systematic reviews of research evidence on COVID-19. The Living Map is being continuously maintained by a team of researchers at the EPPI-Centre, UCL. Its global scope is social sciences research evidence on COVID-19, including (but not limited to) IPPO’s priority topic areas: mental health, education, housing, care, Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, vulnerable communities, and online life.
Version 1 of the Living Map is focused primarily on identifying systematic reviews of research evidence on COVID-19 and mental health and wellbeing. An updated version will be published on the last Friday of every month. For a more detailed explanation of how to use the IPPO Living Map, click here.
Call for contributions on vaccine passports and ‘unequal freedoms’
Over the next few months, many countries will face a common and tricky challenge: how to start freeing things up in ways that recognise that some of their population has had the vaccine, or a past COVID-19 infection, and should potentially be treated differently from those who haven’t. These issues are now very live; getting decisions wrong in the next few weeks could make 2021 a much grimmer year than we had hoped, particularly if vaccine supplies are seriously constrained. If you have evidence-based ideas on how to answer these questions, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org (adding vaccine passports in the subject line).
Read Geoff Mulgan’s blog on vaccine passports and ‘unequal freedoms’
Join IPPO’s specialist network
A key element of IPPO’s strategy is to develop a network of topic specialists who can advise on, review and even author our various content streams – ranging from expert blogs and ‘rapid answers’ to in-depth evidence briefs and systematic reviews. If you are interested in joining this network (and haven’t yet responded), simply fill in this short survey and we will get in touch with more details. Please also feel free to circulate this notice amongst your research communities, and encourage them to join the IPPO specialist network too!
A quick update on IPPO’S work to date
In the first phase of IPPO’s work since the website launched in mid-February, we have focused much of our efforts on gathering policy needs and evidence relating to the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health and wellbeing of different population groups – in particular, schoolchildren and young people, and care home residents and staff.
Our roundtable discussion on the wellbeing needs of schoolchildren led to us to do more work synthesising evidence on what a summer support programme should look like, and to hold a follow-up discussion that drew up specific, practical plans for policymakers in all four UK nations. These will be published on our website this week in a ’10-point plan for children’s summer support’.
A parallel IPPO workstream has looked at the impact of COVID-19 on street homelessness in the UK and around the world, including amassing the latest data on pandemic policy responses in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England. Our roundtable discussion on this issue focused on what should be done next, with much of the emphasis on prevention measures as well as interesting new developments in the use of real-time, individual-level data.
Finally, a theme running through all of IPPO’s work is the question of how best to align the needs of policymakers with the outputs of researchers more closely, in order to achieve policy decisions that are informed by the latest and most robust evidence within the urgent timescales demanded by COVID-19. The questions and challenges this raises were explored in this recent blog by Professor Stephen Reicher – and we would value your feedback on this issue whichever part of the process you work in. Email us at email@example.com, adding COVID policy in the subject line.