Researchers have many incentives to make sure that the work they do is relevant to policymakers and implementers. First, it may secure them funding; second, ‘impact’ is part and parcel of academic evaluations; and third, researchers are often attracted by the prospect of doing work that matters and that contributes towards social justice. Moreover, the mandate and urge to be relevant are central to governments’ capacity to formulate effective and just policies, but this may also constitute an epistemological challenge by creating blind spots. In this article, I explore key challenges that emerge from the relationship between policy and research. I take as a starting point my own experiences as a migration scholar, who mainly conducts research on migration to Norway and the development and implementation of Norwegian migration policies, and use these to reflect on the consequences of external and internal pressures on research to be relevant and have an impact.
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