Academic Research and the Assembly
What research is of interest to the Assembly?
Assembly Members and their staff will generally be interested in research that is relevant to topical issues that are under consideration at the Assembly or could potentially feature on the Assembly’s agenda in future.
The most relevant research will be in those policy areas where responsibility is devolved, but Members may also be interested in research on non-devolved topics, particularly where these may impact on their constituents.
Research that highlights the need for a policy change or action will also be of interest, even if this is not currently on the Assembly’s agenda.
The policy areas that are currently devolved are determined by the Wales Act 2017. This includes all or most of policy areas such as health, transport, education and environment. Policy areas are now devolved unless specifically reserved to the UK Parliament. A broad list of the reserved matters is set out here.
How is research used by the Assembly?
The Assembly’s Research Service provides impartial and independent research and information to all Assembly Members. Its staff need access to expertise and evidence and will draw upon many sources, including academic expertise.
The service is developing existing engagement practices and piloting new initiatives to strengthen links with universities and academics in Wales and beyond - with the aim of improving the service we provide to Assembly Members.
The Assembly’s Committees carry out inquiries on different topics, then write reports in which they make recommendations to the Welsh Government, which it must respond to. Academic research can feed into these inquiries.
Committees also carry out the scrutiny of legislative proposals. Academics can feed into the scrutiny of an Assembly Bill by increasing members’ knowledge and understanding of the details of a Bill or highlighting key issues and their implications and likely outcomes.
Staff that support the committees can also draw on the expertise of external researchers to help them identify topics for future inquiries, to maintain and update their subject knowledge and identify specific researchers to act as witnesses or specialist advisers.
Assembly Cross-Party Groups provide a forum for Assembly Members from different parties to meet in order to consider and discuss shared interests in particular subjects. Cross-Party Groups are not formal Assembly groupings however they host talks and also hold inquiries, both of which may be informed by academic research.
Assembly Members can use academic research to scrutinise Welsh Government policy, inform debate on topical issues and consider new legislation.
Assembly Members have support staff working for them, helping them access research and information. Academic research can help to answer queries from constituents or address issues in their local area.
Ways to engage with the Assembly
evidence to a Committee
Act as an Expert Adviser to a Committee
Work with the Research Service:
Contribute to a Cross-Party Group of Assembly Members.
Read the Campaign for Social Sciences Guide to Pathways to Impact in Wales.
Find out more about academic engagement with the UK Parliament.