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Samantha Page and Marilyn Strathern

As part of my ‘impact editor’ role for Anthropology in Action I approached Professor Marilyn Strathern to seek her personal reflections on the impact agenda related to her own experiences working as head of department, at Manchester and Cambridge Universities, as member and then chair of two Research Assessment Exercise panels, her anthropological research in Papua New Guinea and her work on audit culture. I wanted to find out how Professor Strathern’s work has been engaged with policy and practice or has influenced it. I also discussed my own PhD research with Professor Strathern, including the challenges of being an early career researcher, as well as seeking advice about the best way to disseminate research findings to inform policy and to have ‘impact’.

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Christine McCourt, Samantha Page and Natali Valdez

In this issue, we introduce a new strand of contributions that are focused on careers and opportunities for anthropologists in applied fields, and on issues around the impact of anthropology in public discourse and policy matters. We start with a reflective and analytical account from Pat Caplan, based on her experience of undertaking consultancy work with an NGO. Her article presents something of a cautionary tale, illustrating the complexity of undertaking such work, and the unforeseen challenges and ethical dilemmas that can be presented to researchers.