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The future of social policy research in East Asia and UK

Posted on 21 February 2019

The one day workshop, which was co-sponsored by the Social Policy Association (SPA), offered the opportunity to reflect on the origins and future of social policy research in East Asia and the UK.

The workshop was organised as a 'bridge’ event, at the University of York, between the two major international conferences organised by the SPA and the East Asia Social Policy (EASP) Research Network last summer. The one day workshop kicked off with a roundtable of international and comparative experts who identified the important contribution of UK Higher Education, and in particular Social Policy academic departments and scholars, for the development of the East Asian Social Policy (EASP) research network. The roundtable reflected on the origins and future of social policy research in East Asia and the UK including the development of the discipline internationally and the impact of marketisation in higher education globally.

Next, the roundtable reflected on secondary data from EASP and SPA conferences which explored the level and frequency of academic collaborations between East Asian and UK scholars. The analysis identified a substantive growth of East Asian PhD students in the UK Higher Education institutions over the last few years which has paved the way for continuing collaborations of East Asian with UK based academics. Chronologically, the first set of collaborative papers presented at SPA and EASP conferences focused on welfare regime classification and political economy of welfare debates. However, more recent contributions focused on meso level analysis, especially family and care policy.

The workshop continued with small group discussions reflecting on how we could be bridging cross-cultural boundaries transcending social policy research, ethics and practice. The event concluded with the importance of research collaborations in comparative social policy (e.g. meso levels analysis), the invitation for more research and academic collaborations between SPA and EASP members, and finally establishing networks of support for Research Students and Early Career Researchers.