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The value of public deliberation: request for proposals

By Nuffield Foundation

The Nuffield Foundation invites applications to review the evidence on the value of public deliberation for both policy decision-making and social science research, and to develop practical guidance on its effective uses.

Public deliberation covers a wide variety of activities that bring the public together with experts, allowing participants the opportunity to consider, deliberate and come to conclusions on the topics and questions presented to them. The rationale for use of deliberative approaches in research and policy is that they can improve both quality and legitimacy through early consideration of, and response to, diverse perspectives and values. Other frequently cited benefits include the potential for building consensus on polarised issues and improving civic and democratic engagement.

However, there is very little evidence on the value and limitations of public deliberation and a lack of agreed standards relating to its use. By commissioning this review, the Nuffield Foundation will build the evidence base on the value of public deliberation and inform its deployment in practice.

Required outputs

  • A literature review that considers and synthesises the existing evidence on the uses, value, and limitations of public deliberation. Applicants are free to define and propose a suitable approach for the review, but it must be rigorous, proportionate, and deploy an established and replicable methodology, such as a Systematic Review or Rapid Evidence Assessment.
  • A guidance document for a practitioner, policymaker and commissioner audience, translating and presenting the findings of the literature review in such a way as to inform practice in the deployment of public deliberation. This should aim to inform a wide range of organisations as to the benefits, limitations, applicability, and value of using public deliberation in research and policy.

    Application process

    We will accept applications from single organisations or consortia. Up to £100,000 is available for the work and the deadline for applications is Monday 24 February 2020.

    Anyone interested in applying should first read the request for proposals, which provides full details of this opportunity and guidance on the application process.

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We improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in EducationWelfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

We offer our grant-holders the freedom to frame questions and enable new thinking. Our research must stand up to rigorous academic scrutiny, but we understand that to be successful in effecting change, it also needs to be relevant to people’s experience.

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