What we do

Video transcript


NARRATOR: Have you ever wondered how it all fits together? We did. The first and only initiative of its kind – we improve how governments and academics work together – a UK and Ireland comparative policy research and knowledge exchange initiative, understanding and researching policy differences across our nations.

JOHN DARCY: We feel this is really important given the challenges facing the world at the moment, that politicians and policymakers and academics can learn from each other.

NARRATOR: At PolicyWISE, we are ready to help you.

KESI MAHENDRAN: I think comparative policy analysis is when you work across different contexts. If you're working in government and you've been asked to develop the evidence base for a policy, you might be asked to work relatively quickly. And yet, in your first scan, you realise that the evidence base is pretty sketchy.

NARRATOR: We create space for you. We share ideas and insights with you. We help policymakers focus on evidence-informed solutions.

KESI MAHENDRAN: And the great thing about PolicyWISE is it acts as an intermediary between those people who build research, and then that step where you would understand research is evidence, and then the building of an evidence base.

NARRATOR: We aim to be forever curious, connected, and collaborative in all our work – independent non-partisan, committed to excellence, and making an impact, ambitious for citizens and supporting policymakers across the nations of the UK and Ireland. So, what do those in governments and parliaments think?

STEPHEN ALDRIDGE: I believe it offers real potential benefits to policymakers, for academic enquiry, the chance to explore across countries and devolved governments and administrations, what is happening in terms of economic, social, and public service performance to improve understanding of the key drivers of improved outcomes and to learn from different policy approaches and innovations.

NARRATOR: Here are our key initiatives – rapid policy analysis and briefings, connecting research and researchers to policymakers, training for both researchers and policymakers, unique comparative policy guides, cross-nation and government knowledge exchange. And we know that these are needed.

HANNAH JOHNSON: I think this ultimately leads to better decisions being made, based on a full understanding of the evidence of how things have worked in real-life situations in different places. I think knowledge exchange is incredibly important in this process because this sort of research and analysis needs to be in the hands of those decision makers and not just sitting on a shelf.

KESI MAHENDRAN: Before I became an academic, I was a policy analyst and researcher in the Scottish government. I felt strongly at least that there was a need for a think tank or initiative, standing in a centre point and bringing in evidence from these different national contexts, and providing a resource to people who were like me and sitting in government offices having to pull together an evidence base. So that was one of the reasons why I became involved.

NARRATOR: Sign up to our newsletter. Get in touch about your research needs and look at our training options.


PolicyWISE is a unique UK and Ireland comparative policy research and knowledge exchange initiative that changes and improves how governments and academics work together in, and across, the nations to help solve policy challenges.

We are UK and Ireland by design (working across The Open University’s unique four nations base), supporting policymakers and researchers across the nations to develop relationships, respect and knowledge.

PolicyWISE was developed by The Open University in collaboration with Cardiff University, Trinity College Dublin, Queen’s University Belfast, The University of Edinburgh, and University College London. We engaged with the Irish Government, Northern Ireland Executive, Scottish Government, UK Government and Welsh Government in developing our mission and we continue to work with our cross-nation government partners.

Wise in 5

Wise in 5 is a snapshot comparative guide to public policy issues across the nations of the UK and Ireland. It helps you to be PolicyWISE (Wales, Ireland, Scotland and England) in 5 (it takes just five minutes to read). It includes a summary of the latest policy developments across the nations, as well as related research from PolicyWISE, The Open University and PolicyWISE’s university partners.

Our offer

PolicyWISE works cross-nation on comparative research and knowledge exchange which will change and improve how governments and academics work together in and across nations to solve policy challenges.

Rapid response capability

We work at pace to support policy analysis, development and consideration.

Comparative and collaborative analysis and understanding

We are a partner of choice for collaborative and comparative projects, and we work across The Open University’s four nations.

Wise in 5

The only regular snapshot comparative guide to public policy issues across the nations of the UK and Ireland.


Utilising our distinct focus and skills, we deliver impactful and dynamic training for any audience interested in learning how a comparative policy analysis and knowledge exchange can benefit their work.

Interested? Please contact us

Our partners

  • Logo for the University of Edinburgh
  • Logo for the Wales Centre of Public Policy
  • Logo for University College London
  • Logo for Queens University Belfast


Rydym yn croesawu gohebiaeth yn y Gymraeg ac yn y Saesneg. Rydym yn datblygu cynnwys a tudalennau Cymraeg ar gyfer y wefan, fydd hyn ar gael cyn bo hir.