Speech on research to policy at University of Sri Jayewardenepura

Posted on November 9, 2016  /  0 Comments

The University of Sri Jayewardenepura is organizing an International Conference on Humanities and the Social Sciences, 10-11 November 2016. A principal focus is taking research to policy. That was why I accepted their invitation to be the Chief Guest and to moderate the media symposium.

Here is a short excerpt from what I plan to say tomorrow. Hopefully the full speech will be published.

We need to have a clear understanding of the principal problems facing our society. I have given you two that I consider important. There are others. Many would argue that education, including higher education, is in crisis. Others would point to ethnic reconciliation or our unacceptable rates of child abuse.

Once we recognize the challenge best suited to our specific skill sets, we then need to engage in rigorous research. That research then has to be taken into the public discourse that is today dominated by myths and falsehoods.

If we are to empower our young people, we need to remove the barriers they face. Markets that are not open; capital that is not available, knowledge that is not in usable form.

Given all politicians, according to Keynes, are governed by what they learned when in their twenties, some of us have to engage in the hard job of changing their obsolete mindsets.

We must do these hard things, subjecting ourselves to the highest levels of quality control. Peer review is seen as the gold standard, but has many shortcomings. In the policy arena, it’s not always practical to wait for peer review to be completed. Sometimes we have to build peer review into the discourse itself.

Announcing the event in Sinhala website.

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