Nicholas Webster is a Senior Analyst for the Administrative Data | Agricultural Research Collection. Here he discusses how the project is forging new connections across government, academia and the agricultural sector to meet future evidence needs.
In previous blogs my colleagues have highlighted the challenges facing farm households over the coming years and the need for better evidence to inform future policy changes. We’ve explained how the ADR UK-funded AD|ARC (Administrative Data | Agricultural Research Collection) is using administrative data to meet these emerging evidence requirements.
In this edition, I wanted to highlight and celebrate some of the connections formed by the project so far. We’ve built a unique research partnership across the four UK nations – and this will help us address the evidence needs of this devolved policy area. To date, AD|ARC works across:
- six government departments,
- four research organisations (and has engaged with more than 10),
- over 30 additional organisations across the UK.
What is the value of these connections?
This level of collaboration and engagement requires a lot of additional administration. However, this is easily made up for by the skills, experience and passion brought together by such a partnership. From crofters on the Scottish Islands to vineyards in the South of England, farming across the UK is a diverse tapestry. As a result, the interests and expertise of our partners are wide-ranging.
By bringing these different perspectives together from across government, academia, third sector organisations, and farmers themselves, we are fostering a collaborative environment for innovative research. As we combine the data, resources, and skills of government and academia with the knowledge and practical experience of farmers, there is great potential to gain new insights across a wide range of policy interests.
On a personal note, it has been a huge pleasure to work with such a group of highly skilled and committed people over the past year. We are united by a desire to build something that will generate tangible benefits for farming households.
As we continue to develop the AD|ARC data resource, we want to further develop this network to:
- work with more farmers and farming organisations to ensure all our research is relevant and useful to those we’re trying to help,
- build an even wider agricultural research network of those using the AD|ARC resource, continuing to facilitate new, innovative research from academics across the UK, and
- continue to grow our relationships with policymakers to provide high impact research which will lead to meaningful outcomes for farming households.
Farming and beyond
Although AD|ARC is first and foremost about farming, the relationships formed with partners across the UK provide useful experience of undertaking research that involves stakeholders in all four nations. Structures, processes and data can vary to some extent but there is also much that is common – mostly notably a desire to enhance capacity for UK-level research.
ADR Wales want to use AD|ARC as an exemplar project of how government, industry and academia can work together more effectively. This will enable us to continue to develop ADR UK’s core mission of unlocking the potential of administrative data research.