“…[academic] research can provide policy makers with relevant factual knowledge, provide typologies and frameworks that help policymakers and citizens make sense of emerging trends, and create and test theories that leaders can use to choose among different policy instruments.

Academic theories can also be useful when they help policy-makers anticipate events, when they identify recurring tendencies or obstacles to success, and when they facilitate the formulation of policy alternatives and the identification of benchmarks that can guide policy evaluation.

Because academic scholars are free from daily responsibility for managing public affairs, they are in an ideal situation to develop new concepts and theories to help us understand a complex and changing world.”

Source: Walt (2012) International Affairs and the Public Sphere

These reasons – about why we should facilitate the transmission of knowledge from experts (such as academic scholars) to decision makers (such as those working in policy) – are all compelling and reasonable.

But just because we know something is the right thing to do, does not mean it will be done. There are always costs involved.

The question is what trade-offs are we willing to make? And which should we not compromise on?

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