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Ashiqun Nabi

Ashiqun's thesis title is "The politics of demand for evidence in policymaking: the case of knowledge utilisation in making non-communicable disease policies in Bangladesh."

His primary supervisor is Prof Sarah Hawkes.

To get in touch with Ashiqun, please email him at ashiqun.nabi.16@ucl.ac.uk.

About Ashiqun

I studied Environmental Sciences for my Bachelor (2001-05) and Master degree (2006-07) which led me to a career in climate policy research in the most prominent and international award winning policy think-tank of Bangladesh. In later years, my area of research expanded towards economic and developmental policies particularly on macroeconomic issues, social protection, education, information for development and global environmental issues. 

The experience of working at think-tanks that advocate for informed and inclusive public policies made me interested in the role that knowledge and deliberation can play in facilitating public decisions. My MSc in Public Policy from UCL School of Public Policy (2016-17) opened up the window to the science of policy process. Via this, I became interested in the question why and how policymakers make policy decisions and what this political gameplay means for knowledge-policy linkage – which ultimately became the theme for my PhD research. 

Over my research career, I have published a number of journal articles, book chapters and policy briefs. For more info on my education, experience, publications and awards, please visit my profile at www.linkedin.com/in/nabi-ashiqun

Thesis summary

This study attempts to explore the policy decision making process to explain how politics shapes and incentivises policymakers’ demand for evidence. The underlying assumption is that the messy nature of public policymaking process does not allow a straight forward translation of knowledge into policies. As a result, increased supply of evidence does not ensure that policymakers will use them in decision making. Rather, it is important to understand the demand for evidence which is essentially a function of political aspect of the policy process driven by power, influence, ideas, beliefs and interactions among public and non-public policy actors. 

Taking non-communicable disease (NCD) policies of Bangladesh as a case, the study will employ an ethnographic approach mixed with a social network analysis to: (a) map the policy process, actors, their characteristics, interactions, power and influence; (b) model actors’ decision making behaviour and characterise the type and source of information or evidence that underlie those decisions; and (c) identify incentives for info/evidence use. 

The study expects to contribute to the scholarship of research-policy linkage. Unique contribution of the study is in its focus on the political aspect of demand for evidence, particularly for the case of NCD policies in Bangladesh. In application, the study can inform the much hyped drive for evidence-based policymaking by pointing out where the action is taking place, which actors to focus on and what strategy to take while facing the politics of policymaking.