New Pilot “Buddying” Scheme by Home Office and Rights Lab

Monday, 30 March 2020

The University of Nottingham’s Rights Lab has partnered with colleagues in the Home Office’s Modern Slavery Unit to trial a pilot ‘buddying’ scheme, providing policy officials and academics the opportunity to experience and better understand each other’s work. 

This innovative scheme will see civil servants in the Home Office who work on modern slavery being paired with academics from across the Rights Lab. Policy officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development will also be invited to participate in the scheme. 

Over the course of a six-month period, selected participants will meet regularly with their assigned ‘buddy’ to discuss their work, share insights and challenges, identify and work to answer research questions of shared interest, and generate ideas for future collaboration. 

The aim of the scheme is to transform policy officials’ understanding of how to work with academia and make best use of research, and to transform university researchers’ understandings of the policy environment and how best to craft research for use by Government. 

“This is a great opportunity for academics to learn from colleagues in the civil service, and vice versa. Researchers focusing on modern slavery want their work to influence policy in order to make a real world difference, but don’t always know how to ensure it reaches the right people at the right time to be impactful. Likewise, officials in government want to develop modern slavery policies that are evidence-based but don’t always know how to find and make the best use of academic research. Enabling researchers and civil servants to spend time working with each other will help close these knowledge gaps.”
Vicky Brotherton

Imogen Schon, the Home Office lead for the scheme, said: “I’m very pleased about the opportunity that this new pilot scheme offers us in Government to get a much deeper understanding of the wealth of academic research out there on modern slavery, and the concerns, challenges and motivators of academics in this space. I’m also looking forward to increasing academics and civil servants’ mutual understandings of one another’s priorities and concerns, and hope this will enable closer working between academics and officials in future.” 

If successful, this pilot scheme could be rolled out to other universities across the UK. 

Nasreen Suleman - Media Relations Manager, Faculty of Social Sciences
Phone: 0115 951 5793
Location: C4, Pope Building, University Park, Nottingham,NG7 2RD

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Notes to editors:

The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage, consistently ranked among the world's top 100. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our 44,000 students - Nottingham was named both Sports and International University of the Year in the 2019 Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, was awarded gold in the TEF 2017 and features in the top 25 of all three major UK rankings. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer, proud of our Athena SWAN silver award, and a key industry partner- locally and globally.

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