There is a growing interest in the role of research in policymaking processes. This has been driven by an evidence-based policy movement which advocates the use of evidence to strengthen policy and practice. At the same time leading research funders, in particular those working in international health and development, are increasingly concerned about the practical implications of research and how these can be used to save lives and reduce poverty. However, the ways in which policies are formulated, adapted and implemented are complex as policymakers’ decisions are subject to many influences, with research being only one factor. The production of high quality research is not sufficient to ensure it is used. In order to strengthen the impact of research on policy and practice it is important that researchers take into account the contexts in which they work, including the multitude of factors that affect how policies are developed and implemented, and use this knowledge to communicate research findings, policy implications and recommendations effectively. This briefing paper relays some experiences from the Consortium for Research on Equitable Health Systems (CREHS) of getting research into policy and practice. CREHS research focuses on how to strengthen health systems policies and interventions in ways that benefit poor people with projects in Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, South Africa, Thailand and India. Country level experiences highlight the different political contexts and challenges that researchers have faced in communicating research and engaging with stakeholders, and some of the approaches that they have used to overcome these.
Researcb Brief, February 2010, 4 pp.