Call for papers for the Social Innovation Research Conference (SIRC). Title: Innovations in public and social policy and in public services delivery. 

Hosted by the School of International Affairs and Public Affairs

Fudan University, Shanghai, China

21st – 22nd May 2015


  • the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA),
  • the International Research Society for Public Management (IRSPM),
  • the Learning from Innovation in Public Service Environments Programme of the European Union (LIPSE),
  • the Centre for Public Services Research  (CPSR) of the University of Edinburgh Business School,
  • the UK Political Studies Association (PSA) and
  • the Dr. Seaker Chan Center for Comparative Political Development Studies (CCPDS) of Fudan University. 


The changing global context of public and social policy development and public services delivery has in recent years sharpened our focus both upon the way that these policies respond to changing needs and evolving political agendas and upon the routes to and processes of innovation in public services delivery. SIRC will be dedicated to discussing:

  • New conceptual and theoretical ways in which to understand the processes of innovation in public and social policy and in public services delivery, and
  • New empirical evidence about the contingencies and effectiveness of such innovation in policy public and social and public services delivery.

The conference is also concerned to encourage two perspectives. The first is to inspire scholars from the public management, public administration, political science, public policy, social policy, and policy analysis disciplines to engage in dialogue about their viewpoints on these processes and to encourage combinatory approaches where appropriate. The second is to enable and facilitate debate, academic interchange and learning between scholars from the East and the West. 

Call for papers

Papers for SIRC are welcomed around the following three themes:

Innovation in public and social policy formulation and implementation

  • Are our current models of policy and social policy-making robust or are there ways we can enhance our theoretical and empirical understanding of them?
  • What role does policy transfer play in public and social policy change and innovation, what evidence do we have of effective policy transfer (either across policy areas or between geographic regions), and can we identify its key contingencies?
  • Do we have resilient tools of policy analysis that might assist in our understanding of policy transfer or can we develop them further? How can they be used to evaluate key elements of the policy making and implementation process (such as policy alienation)
  • Are there emergent models of citizen participation in the public and social policy processes and what impact are they having upon these processes?
  • Are ICT, digital technology and social media changing the mechanisms and conduits of public and social policy making and with what effect?
  • What is the importance of ‘street level bureaucrats’ for innovation in public and social policy making and implementation?
  • What are the key trends of policy transfer between the east and west?
  • How might we capture and enhance learning within public and social policy processes?


Innovation in the delivery of public services

  • Are our current models of innovation in public services robust, what are the contingencies of innovation in public services, and what evidence is there about the effectiveness of innovation as a route to public services reform?
  • How can we both develop further an evidence-based approach to innovation in public services delivery and evaluate its impact upon practice?
  • What role can and does co-production and co-creation play in innovation in public services, and are there effective ways to engage citizens in innovation in public services?
  • Does the third sector have a key role to play in innovation in public services, and if so what is it?
  • How might innovation, as a process, be evaluated and enhanced?
  • What role can ICT, digital technology and social media play in the innovation process – either as innovations themselves or as an environment/conduit to stimulate innovation?
  • How might we capture and enhance learning within the public service innovation process – at a community, organizational and/or service level?
  • How are public services responding to the key issue of responding to and governing risk within the public services delivery process?



  • What models of social learning might best assist our understanding of innovation in public and social policy and in public services delivery?
  • How might performance and service evaluation drive forward innovation in public and social policy and public services?
  • How can citizens be engaged in the process of active learning about service delivery and policy formulation, and how might we capture the ‘sticky knowledge’ of service users to enhance future innovation and policy transfer?

Papers can be theoretical and/or empirical. However they should be explicitly committed either to challenging or to developing our current state of knowledge. Submissions are welcomed from established and new academics, as well as from doctoral students.


All papers presented at SIRC will be eligible for review for a special issue of Public Management Review on ‘Reforming public services and innovation: policy and management perspectives’. If sufficient papers of an appropriate standard are presented, consideration will also be given to an edited book in the Routledge Critical Perspectives on Public Management series.


The registration fee for SIRC will be 120 euros (80 euros for doctoral students) and all participants attending the conference must pay the fee. This will cover conference materials, lunch and refreshments on both days of the conference and the conference dinner. Participants will be responsible for their own travel and accommodation. All supporting services and seminar rooms will be provided by the conference sponsors.


Three bursaries of up to £1000 each are available from the PSA for paper-givers at SIRC, to use toward flights/hotel accommodation. Recipients must have been PSA members for two years at the time of the award and the conference, and must contribute a short news item on the conference for the PSA’s newsletter/blog. Contact for further information. 


Abstracts should be submitted by 1st November 2014 and will be acknowledged. Participants will be notified of acceptance within one month. Please send all abstract submissions to .

Please note that abstracts must be a maximum of 500 words, plus a maximum of five indicative references (not a full reference list) and five keywords.

Any initial enquiries about the conference should be directed to

Scientific Committee

All decisions on the programme and conduct of SIRC will be made by the Scientific Committee. Their decisions are final. The Committee membership is:Evan Berman (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand), Claire A. Dunlop (University of Exeter, England), Susan Gooden (Virginia Commonwealth University, USA), Brian Head (University of Queensland, Australia), Yijia Jing {conference co-chair} (Fudan University, China), Jae Moon (Yonsei University, South Korea), Greta Nasi (Bocconi University, Milan, Italy), Stephen P Osborne {conference co-chair} (University of Edinburgh, Scotland), Ichiro Tsukamoto (Meiji University, Japan) and Lars Tummers (Erasmus University, Rotterdam, the Netherlands)

The host

Fudan University is a top Chinese university with more than 30 schools and departments. Its political science and international relations discipline was ranked as 19th by QS 2014. The School of International Affairs and Public Affairs, Fudan University hosted the 2012 PMRC and the 2013 APPAM conferences. 

The sponsors

The American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) is the largest and most prominent professional association for public administration in the United States. Celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2014, it is dedicated to advancing the art, science, teaching and practice of public and non-profit administration.


The International Research Society for Public Management (IRSPM) is the largest global society promoting research and academic engagement about public policy implementation and public management. In addition to supporting the development of research capacity in this field, it hosts an annual conference and sponsors the journal Public Management Review.


Learning from Innovation in Public Service Environments Programme’ (LIPSE) is a research programme studying the drivers and barriers of successful social innovation in the public sector. It is one of the largest projects globally on this important topic. The research is being conducted by EU researchers from twelve different universities in eleven countries.


The Centre for Public Services Research (CPSR) at the University of Edinburgh Business School is dedicated to cutting edge research on public management and public services delivery. Recent studies have included an evaluation of public management capacity in Scotland, a five year longitudinal study of the role of the third sector in public services delivery in Scotland and the LIPSE research programme, as the UK participant.


The UK Political Studies Association (PSA) exists to develop and promote the study of politics. Founded in 1950, it is the leading Association in the field in the UK, with an international membership including academics in political science and current affairs, theorists and practitioners, policy-makers, researchers and students in higher education. This conference benefits from financial support from the PSA’s Public Policy and Administration specialist group.


The Dr. Seaker Chan Center for Comparative Political Development Studies (CCPDS) of Fudan University has a mission to contribute to public welfare by fostering democracy, rule of law, good governance, and social progress by researching challenging issues in contemporary comparative politics, especially major national and regional changes and reforms in the era of globalization.


For more information, see the site of Fudan University 

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