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And here’s a hard-hitting

November 3, 2008

interview with Andy Scott by journalism student Chris Fox. After discussing his tastes in movies, Scott describes his new job at UNB:

I am going to be building a network of people who are doing social policy research across the province, making the appropriate people within the government of New Brunswick aware of that work and making researchers aware of the interests within the province of New Brunswick, so those who choose to make that connection can do so. I will also assist in the preparation of applications for federal funding around this kind of research. Over time I hope to have some sort of publication or method in which people can talk to each other in an ongoing way about social issues as well and possibly have symposiums where people can get together and talk about literacy or early childhood education, and to some extent, make it more popularly accessible.

Although he would seem to be reinventing the wheel in some respects — UNB already has a research office that helps with grant applications and researchers already have many “sort[s] of publication or method[s] in which people can talk to each other,” including symposiums — he is clearly on the right track when he comments, a little further down, that “I am a disciple of the school that says social policy has to be evidence-based.” All those researchers who make a point of ignoring evidence may find their access gone and their grants declining, and good riddance, I say.

So in a nutshell, Scott is to be a conduit between social policy researchers and government. Well, kudos to him. He is taking on a significant task — clearly significant to the provincial government, at any rate, though perhaps not as significant as Nora Kelly’s job as UNB is footing the bill — and he is all the more to be admired since he candidly admits in the same interview that he has “only minimal academic credentials” and in fact still needs to “figure out how to write using new technologies.” But as the headline to the article says, “Scott takes on academia with typical can-do attitude,” and so he does.

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