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A University of Exeter Academic in Her Majesty’s Treasury

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I’m writing this sitting at a desk in my study in London. About an hour ago I arrived home from a day spent at the Treasury and as I gaze out of the window, I can see the lights twinkling on the Gherkin and other iconic buildings in the City. ‘How lovely’, I’m sure you’re all thinking, ‘but why isn’t she working hard in Exeter?’

The answer is that I am in the very fortunate position of being on sabbatical this year and I’m spending some of my time based with the Government Economic Service as their Senior Academic Adviser on Education. This entails a number of projects, all interesting and all contributing to better use of economics across government. One project is involved with raising economic literacy across the civil service, while another is looking at how the GES and universities can work together on furnishing analysts with postgraduate level qualifications and skills.

I’ve also been able to sit on the Social Impact Task Force, which is drawing up a framework to ensure that the wider implications of policies and projects are fully understood, and accounted for, when decisions are made. This includes issues such as sustainability, social mobility and the broader wellbeing agenda; it’s a fantastic opportunity to develop a real understanding of how policy is made and assessed.

I’m based at the Treasury, but I’m making the most of my time here- so far I’ve visited or given seminars to the Law Commission, the Department of Work & Pensions and the Foreign Office. Those of you back at Exeter will be pleased to know that there is a real appetite from all Departments for working closely with academics, and what better way to demonstrate impact?

As for the rest of my time, it’s mostly being spent writing. The manuscript for the next edition of my textbook is due with the publishers at the end of March and after that I have been asked to present at a number of conferences and events. Some of these are related to the National Teaching Fellowship that I was awarded in 2009; the prize money from that and from my Vice-Chancellor’s Excellence Award in 2007 is funding my time in London. Those of you who know me, will be glad to hear that I’m also finding time to watch Arsenal on a regular basis; as a consequence there’s going to be at least one section, in the next edition of the book, on the economics of football.

Posted by Professor Alison Wride, Associate Professor in Economics (The Business School)