The Assembly’s Research and Information Service (RaISe) jointly delivers KESS with the Queen’s University of Belfast (QUB – co-founder 2011), Ulster University (Ulster – 2012) and The Open University (OU – 2013).  It is the first of its kind in the United Kingdom, formally partnering a legislative arm of government – the Assembly – with academia.  Aiming to promote evidence-led policy and law-making, KESS provides a forum in which academics present their research findings in a straightforward format, on issues that are relevant to governance in Northern Ireland.  It seeks to bring those findings to the attention of key participants and decision-makers, including MLAs, the wider public sector and others, in a “safe space” that encourages discussion, fosters improved understanding and seeks to enable opportunities for more in-depth engagement in future.

Each spring there is an open call for submissions at each of the university partners.  Throughout the summer, the KESS Panel, which includes representation from RaISe and each university partner, considers submissions received from academics and formulates the annual KESS Programme, which is launched in the autumn in Parliament Buildings.

Embedded in the KESS model are: the local universities via their academics; Assembly committees via their Chairpersons; the Assembly’s RaISe via its Researchers; and, a broad spectrum of attendees.  As in the past, when there is an absence of Assembly Committee Chairs due to political circumstances, the KESS model is adapted; with the Researcher delivering the Welcome and the Opening Remarks.  Attendees may include: MLAs and their staff; political party staff; Assembly and Departmental officials; others from the public and private sectors; academics; voluntary and community groups; and, members of the public.

Seminars are free and are held on Wednesdays from October 2017 through June 2018. Each seminar starts at 1.30pm in Parliament Buildings, located on Stormont Estate. Most seminars cover a range of themes under one broad heading – see programme for relevant dates and timings. On arrival, delegates receive a seminar pack that includes the academics’ policy briefings and power point presentations, including contact information.

Tea/coffee is provided following presentations and discussion. Free parking is available to all. Kindly allow time to pass through Assembly Security upon entry to Parliament Buildings; and ensure that you specify your special needs (for example, wheelchair accessibility) when registering. The Assembly is committed to fulfilling its equality-related roles and responsibilities and will take reasonable efforts to meet requests relating to them.

If you wish to reserve your place at a seminar, please register at: https://kess.org.uk/register/

Thanks for supporting KESS.