The work of the Malaria Knowledge Programme (MKP) demonstrates excellent research practice and addresses a number of issues that are relevant to anyone undertaking research on development. In 2003 the UK Department for International Development (DFID) produced a new research strategy that made key recommendations on development research. One of the strategy's most important points is that if development research is to have an impact, the way research is done should promote an enabling environment and make information accessible so that it is more likely to be adopted. This recognises that communication is an essential element of developing local capacity to generate and use good research. Policy-making processes are complex and research is only one of many competing influences. The political and institutional context and relationships between different actors are central to the uptake of research. There are gaps in information flows between national and international researchers and policy makers. Different forms of communication are essential to making connections in a holistic and systemic way. MKP's research programme demonstrates its commitment to strengthening information and communication flows, involving Southern researchers and institutions and creating international networks for the improvement of research communication. This work contributes to meeting the Millennium Development Goals of reducing child mortality (MDG 4), improving maternal health (MDG 5), combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases (MDG 6) and developing global partnerships for development (MDG 8). The lessons drawn from the programme, as detailed in this paper, reflect many of the recommendations made by DFID and engage with the dynamics of research, policy making and practice.
Bates, I. Enhancing research uptake through communication, networking and capacity development. (2005)