Annual Policy & Politics prizewinners announced!


Competition winners pictured: Madeleine Pill, Valeria Guarneros-Meza, Christopher M. Weible & Paul Cairney 

Written by Sarah Ayres, Steve Martin and Felicity Matthews, Co-Editors of Policy & Politics

The Bleddyn Davies Best Early Career prize has been awarded to: Madeleine Pill and Valeria Guarneros-Meza for their article on Local governance under austerity: hybrid organisations and hybrid officers  

In this excellent paper, Madeleine Pill & Valeria Guarneros-Meza explore what austerity means for participation in city governance. 

The optimistic view is that making governance more participatory can help overcome the hurdles of bureaucracy, with government ceding control to enable capacity to address complex problems.  The pessimistic view is that city governance remains dominated by state elites, with third sector and community partners co-opted to compensate for the decline in state provision, compromising their ability to advocate to ensure that communities get decent services.  In their case study of Cardiff, Wales, they uncovered attitudes and practices somewhere in between these two views. 

They found that austerity had accelerated the city council’s use of its governance structure to share the risk and responsibility of service delivery with other public and third sector community organisations.  Communities were certainly having to take more responsibility for delivering their own (formerly public) services. However, they found that community-based organisations had some room for manoeuvre in developing forms of co-production that were innovative and maintained their community-focused mission, as well as responding to the strictures of funding cuts. 

Their research showed how devolution, decentralisation and downloading’ of ‘austerity urbanism’ (Peck,2012) encouraged hybridity at a scalar, organisational and individual level. It demonstrated the potential for transformative alternatives in the everyday and the small-scale – highlighting the need for state support rather than constraints in these processes.    

This is an excellent article from a worthy winner of this year’s Early Career prize. 

The Ken Young Best Paper prize has been awarded to: Christopher M. Weible & Paul Cairney for their article on Practical Lessons from Policy Theories  

In the excellent introductory article to their special issue on Practical Lessons from Policy Theories, Christopher M. Weible & Paul Cairney seek to challenge public policy scholars to adopt a new and more scientific approach to communicating new research-based knowledge on public policyTheir challenge behoves scholars to ensure a common understanding of the existing body of knowledge to date, and to clarify how new and future research fits with this knowledge. They task scholars with communicating new research-based knowledge far more widely than is currently the practice, to ensure that its meaning and benefits extend as broadly as possible, and certainly beyond the Academy. 

Their new agenda, they suggest, will require scholars to think differently and to communicate their ideas differently from the current customary output formats which are often restrictive and narrow, involving jargonfilled expositions of their ideas, without clear meaning. They take on their own challenge in the rest of their special issue where they synthesise and communicate state of the art knowledge for eight of the most popular frameworks used in the pursuit of new knowledges about public policy, inviting scholars to join the debate. 

Policy & Politics seeks to publish work that combines both scientific excellence with the principle of ‘engaged scholarship’. This article is a great example of that. It makes a clear contribution to the academic debate, while also providing insights and lessons of practical value to policy makers and practitioners. 

Congratulations to Madeleine Pill, Valeria Guarneros-Meza, Christopher M. Weible and Paul Cairney for their well-deserved awards. 

You may read the original research in Policy & Politics:

Pill, Madeleine & Guarneros-Meza, Valeria (2018) ‘Local governance under austerity: hybrid organisations and hybrid officers‘, Policy & Politics, DOI:

Weible, Christopher M & Cairney, Paul (2018) ‘Practical lessons from policy theories‘, Policy & Politics, DOI:

If you enjoyed this blog post, you may also be interested to read:

Three habits of successful policy entrepreneurs

Narratives as tools for influencing policy change

Using cultural theory to navigate the policy process

The lessons of policy learning: types, triggers, hindrances and pathologies

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