The relationship between research, public policy and local economies is explored in this chapter. The analysis is based on a discussion of how research–policy interactions and challenges play out by exploring a recently established government experiment in the UK – the ‘What Works’ network. This has established a number of ‘What Works Centres’ that gather, evaluate and translate evidence on policy effectiveness across nine broad policy areas. The aim is to assist public sector decision-makers in developing effective policy interventions. In this chapter, Nathan explores the role of evidence in policymaking identifying several constraints in the effective use of research in policy development and implementation. The chapter then reviews the key findings of the What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth and discusses the implications for local policymakers. The chapter concludes with broader reflections on the political economy of evidence and the linkages between researchers and policymakers.