Policy Histories

This project uses historical insights and learning from history to inform policy making: ‘looking back to look forward’.
Project status

The policy histories draw on and convene the very best expertise from across the humanities and social sciences. Each history consists of:

a) An historical analysis including a chronological and contextual overview of a policy area, and a small series of historically grounded analytical perspectives on that chronology from prominent experts in each area. The chronology helps to set the background and the analytical perspectives help interpret the chronology, set it in context, and provide views on what we can learn from the past.

b) A small evening seminar with senior civil servants, and the authors of the analytical pieces, other academics and professionals. This allows policy makers to engage directly with the academic community to interrogate the Policy History and to stimulate dialogue and discussion about what history can tell us about the future. These discussions feed into the production of the finalised Policy History.

c) A final Policy History report which pulls together all the elements of the History to provide a structured, rigorous and objective account of the history of a given policy area and the significance of key milestones in context.

Project outcomes

Lessons from the History of UK Science Policy

Policy Histories

This report is the first of the Academy’s Policy Histories and focuses on British science policy.

Trade Policy History

Policy Histories

This document provides the full versions of the expert analytical perspective contributions to the Trade Policy History Report, which concluded in 2019.

Lessons from the History of British Health Policy

Policy Histories

This report provides an analytical overview of the history of British health policy since 1848.

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