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By Loes van der Graaf

Due to the world-wide pandemic, the past months were characterised by office closures, cancellation of business trips, and by virtual meetings and teleworking. In most sectors, any aspects of work that included face-to-face contact were affected.

In the research world, a significant portion of work includes interviews, focus groups, meetings and conferences, which were all to a certain degree affected by the restrictions. However, the transformation of our work may have seemed minor. Most researchers are already used to conducting meetings and data collection activities online and therefore barely notice any change. …

By Loes van der Graaf

Whether you conduct a formal interview or catch-up on gossip in the office corridor; the most reliable information can only be obtained in a confidential setting where people feel comfortable to share their opinions and insights. This applies to interviews with children as well; a child standing next to their parents may not provide you an honest answer on any topics, in particular sensitive issues ranging from shenanigans at school to violence at home. Therefore, UNICEF strongly recommends conducting interviews with children individually. …

By PPMI team

1. Plan ahead

Before you sit down to write, ensure you have a detailed plan. By assembling your sources and thinking through your arguments beforehand, you can concentrate your mental energy on explaining them in the most effective way. For each paragraph, create a list of bullet points, each one covering a sentence. These will provide a framework by identifying the things you really want to talk about. Use your planning stage to exclude unnecessary ideas.

2. Say it accurately

Decide exactly what you mean, and say it. Choose your words carefully to avoid ambiguity.

3. Keep…

By Justinas Lapienis

In the first part of this series on big data in innovation policy research I have covered that global public R&D expenditure is nearing $2 trillion a year. However, its impact is difficult to track, and therefore policy officers are having a hard time with effectively allocating this funding for the optimal benefit. Big data may help.

In PPMI we have been working on this direction for a while already. Recently some of our senior colleagues have presented some of the development progress in the 23rd International Conference on Science and Technology Indicators (STI 2018).

Briefly, the…

By Justinas Lapienis

Discussion on whether public funding on R&D bears fruit is lasting for centuries already. One of the noticeable observations are tracing back to 17th century, when Sir Francis Bacon argued that Spain seized its domination through scientific research, meaning, that the exploitation of the American colonies was possible thanks to the discovery of mariner’s needle. Research was established as a public good.

The idea was further reinforced in the 20th century, when Richard Nelson and Kenneth Arrow argued that copying is easier and cheaper that original research, therefore private R&D funding is not a financially attractive venture…

By PPMI team

Policy is a complex affair. No wonder public policy consultancies and think tanks are among the top organizations attracting brilliant minds. It takes years to master a field, and in the meantime hard skills play a major role.

In designing research, gathering and analyzing data, and leading teams or tasks broad understanding of various methods and its tools is an asset. Here we present some of tools we would recommend keeping an eye on and plan on mastering.

R / Python

Two big names of open-source programming languages. Both have vast online communities, thus there is always…


PPMI is a leading European public policy research centre, connecting ideas and experiences to build a world where policies work.

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