Professor Alison Harcourt

Published on: 11 April 2016

Professor Alison Harcourt will be answering questions about the EU Referendum, at the ‘Ask the Experts’ event.

Professor Alison Harcourt is Professor of Public Policy, in the College of Social Sciences and International Studies. Her research specialism is regulatory change in communications markets. 

Later this month, Alison will take part in the EU referendum ‘Ask the Experts’ event; where she will be joined by a panel of experts to help people make an informed decision as they decide how to cast their vote in the UK’s referendum.

The EU event is now fully booked in Streatham Campus, however places are still available in Penryn. The event will be broadcast live on Periscope. We intend to make a recording of the event available afterwards. For more information please visit the event web page.

Join in the conversation using #EUAsk

What is your current research?

Currently, I am a Primary Investigator (PI) on the ESRC funded project 'International Professional Fora: a study in civil society participation in internet governance' (September 2015 - September 2018) with Co-Investigators George Christou from University of Warwick and Seamus Simpson from University of Salford.

The project looks at participation of different actors in decision-making within technical standard developing organisations (SDOs) with no formal state involvement. Although highly technical, these decisions very much affect the way in which citizens live and work on a daily basis.

I am also an ESRC Senior Fellow on the ESRC UK in a Changing Europe programme with the project "The impact of a proposed UK Brexit from the EU: the UK communications industries".

If the UK were to withdraw from the EU, but remain a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) or EFTA, companies would remain regulated by EU legislation under the EEA's Single Market agreement. However, the UK would no longer be participant to Brussels' decision-making. The project investigates how future Directives and / or revisions to existing Directives and other EU legislation could affect UK interests.

What is your professional background, and how has this influenced your current work?

I’m originally from Chicago, and gained a BA (Magna Cum Laude) in Politics and International Relations from Northern Illinois University, before completing an MA in International Political Economy at the University of Warwick (Department of Politics) and a PhD at the University of Manchester (Department of Government).

Prior to Exeter, I held research posts at the University of Warwick, University of Manchester and University of Oxford. I twice received Jean Monnet Fellowships at the European University Institute and was Visiting Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Common Goods in Bonn.

At University of Exeter, I served as Director of the Information Society Network and was formerly Director of the Centre for European Studies before it was merged to form the Centre for European Governance in 2008; I have acted as consultant for and participated in working groups of the Council of Europe, European Commission, and national governments and I am a member of the CPBF in addition to being a member of REF panel 27 - Area Studies in 2014.

What are the important questions we should be asking ourselves, ahead of the EU referendum?

I recommend that people should inform themselves as much as possible and consider carefully the issue at hand.

Are there any resources which you would recommend for people trying to reach an in/out decision?

Yes the UK in a changing Europe website provides a lot of detailed impartial information with links to other sources.

Do you think that it is important that you stay neutral/ balanced when speaking about the referendum?

None of the research questions asked of stakeholders or the workshops I am running on audio-visual media policy or data protection policy are arguing a certain side. They are only assessing the possible effect of a Brexit scenario on communications regulation.

Related links

» Periscope
» ESRC
» George Christou
» Seamus Simpson
» UK in a Changing Europe

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