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
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
- Many examples of good practice and of innovative initiatives, also
related to engaging users and other stakeholders in the research
- Several donors are placing a priority on being a learning
organisation, with research communication contributing to internal
- 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
- DFID is recognized and valued as one of the leaders in the field of
Triple Line Consulting ltd, London, UK, 65 pp.