It is not uncommon to hear descriptions of the academic profession as an activity that takes place in an ivory tower. Academics, so the argument runs, are too focused on scientific work, and not sufficiently willing to share and engage with wider audiences. This could be the case for Political Science, which in Italy seems to be confined to academia. But this is not exactly true.

This IPS issue takes this criticism head on by going outside the ‘ivory tower’ to explore Political Scientists’ roles as managers, experts, consultants or public officials. We have reached out to a number of scholars and practitioners who actively participate in the political and social world we study, either because they have public roles in it, or private careers. Specifically, we asked IPS contributors to comment on two broad themes that pertain to the relationship between Political Science and the ‘world out there’.