This donor review on research communication is part of a wider study contracted by DFID, which reviewed 17 DFID-supported research communication programmes in relation to their contributions to DFID's new research strategy. The objective of the donor review is to identify good practice, emerging lessons, and possible future directions in research communication, and to identify commonalities in donor priorities and strategies that could lead to better harmonisation and value addition.
The study reviewed existing documents on donor interests and investments in research communication, before selecting 20 donors for a closer assessment, out of which 17 were interviewed. These include two multi-lateral agencies, eight (with DFID) bilateral agencies, two government-funded research bodies and five corporate or private foundations. Key documents of these agencies were reviewed, and telephone interviews were held in June and July 2009.
The main findings of the review are:
1. General consensus on the importance of research communication among the donors interviewed, and wide interest in developing appropriate programmes and mechanisms.
2. Little evidence of a strategic approach within individual agencies, with research communication generally dispersed within the organisation.
- Emphasis continues to be on the supply side of research, with a weak understanding of and capacity to support the demand side of research communication.
- Many examples of good practice and of innovative initiatives, also related to engaging users and other stakeholders in the research communication process.
- Several donors are placing a priority on being a learning organisation, with research communication contributing to internal knowledge management.
- No comprehensive Monitoring and Evaluation systems in place to assess the effectiveness and relevance of various research communication approaches, and to feed this information back into research communication policy and investment decisions.
- Most donors maintain their own web portals/archives of research findings. 8. There is a strong interest among donors to explore and expand open access to funded research findings.
- Most donors would welcome strengthening networking and linkages between donors interested in research communication to improve efficiency and effectiveness, for shared learning and for greater impact.
- DFID is recognized and valued as one of the leaders in the field of research communication.
Triple Line Consulting ltd, London, UK, 65 pp.