Gemma Harper, chief social researcher for Defra: Putting people at the heart of policy-making

5 February 2013, 1.00 PM - 5 February 2013, 1.00 PM

Room 4.10, Graduate School of Education, 35 Berkeley Square, Bristol
Gemma Harper

Dr Gemma Harper, Defra

Dr Gemma Harper, chief social researcher for Defra, will be visiting the University and will present a talk about social research in Defra which will cover:
  • Government Social Research (GSR)
  • Social research and the policy cycle: open policy making
  • Taking a multidisciplinary approach to Defra's priorities
  • Influencing change and knowing what works
  • Key challenges and opportunities
  • Evidence Investment Strategy

Gemma is the Chief Social Researcher at Defra, where her responsibilities include:

  • liaising with policy makers to translate their queries into specific and actionable research questions
  • interpreting quantitative and qualitative evidence to assess where evidence gaps exist
  • drawing on a variety of research methods to design projects that provide robust evidence to answer these questions
  • collaborating with analytical colleagues.

Nb.  This event is only open to University of Bristol staff and students.

For any UoB researchers interested in meeting with Gemma, we are proposing three sessions between 2 pm - 5 pm, covering Defra's priority research areas:

2 pm - 3.15 pm - Sustainable food production

3.15 pm - 4.15 pm - Climate change adaptation and mitigation

4.15 pm - 5 pm - Environment and biodiversity

If any UoB researcher is interested in joining one of the research presentation sessions or meeting with Gemma, please contact expressing your research interest as soon as possible.

Gemma Harper biography

Dr Gemma Harper is Defra’s Chief Social Researcher and Deputy Director for Animal and Plant Health Evidence and Analysis (Aphea). She is responsible for:

  • ensuring social research is of the highest standard across Defra’s remit; is focused on helping to deliver Defra's priorities; and has impact on strategy, policy and delivery
  • providing advice on multidisciplinary evidence strategy, quality and impact to the Director of Animal Health and Welfare: Disease Control and the Director (Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer) responsible for Animal and Plant Health
  • increasing the impact and effectiveness of analysts across the Department and the Network and fostering analysts’ career development 

Gemma studied social psychology at LSE, and conducted her post-doctoral research in the Department of Agricultural and Food Economics, The University of Reading, where she contributed to a range of research projects for the EU, MAFF and DfID, and consultancy for FAO/WHO, EU-CAFP, and USDA.  Gemma joined the Home Office in 2002 as Principal Research Officer and led on offender management research. She continued to develop the evidence base for criminal justice strategy, policy and delivery as Senior Principal Research Officer for the Home Office and Ministry of Justice. Before joining Defra in April 2010, Gemma was Acting Deputy Director of Offender Management and Sentencing Analytical Services (OMSAS), responsible for providing analytical leadership to deliver the Ministry of Justice’s strategic objective to protect the public and reduce reoffending. Gemma is a member of Government Social Research (GSR) Leadership Board and the Cross Government Evaluation Group (CGEG).

Dr Gemma Harper, Defra

Dr Gemma Harper, Defra

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