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Lessons learnt from health researchers and communication experts at an international meeting on strengthening the research to policy and practice interface

The true test of health and development research is whether people use it: for reference, for influence and, most importantly, for change. Too much research stays within the confines of the academic community that produces it, and is locked away in reports and articles that are only read by a handful of specialists. There is a growing body of literature analysing the connections between research, policy and practice. This stresses the complexity of these connections and the importance of moving beyond the simple linear model where communication is seen a one-way ‘dissemination’ process that happens at the end of a research project. Health researchers have few models that provide guidance for how one might operationalise this objective.

Learning from our own experiences
Participants from the Department for International Development funded sexual and reproductive health and HIV/AIDS Research Programme Consortia (RPCs) met at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine on 18th-19th May 2009. The meeting provided an opportunity to exchange learning on communicating research findings for policy and practice.

The meeting was led by Jo Crichton from the African Population and Health Research Center and Sally Theobald from Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. The meeting allowed them to gather feedback and reflect on findings from their qualitative research with RPC partners on the research to policy and practice interface.

>>Read a four page meeting briefing on research to policy and practice (pdf)
>>Browse the abstracts from the meeting to get an idea of the innovative communications and influencing techniques being used by Research Programme Consortia (pdf)
>> Participant list for the meeting (pdf)

Realising Rights representation
Realising Rights partners from BRAC, INDEPTH Network, African Population and Health Research Center, the Institute of Development Studies and the Pleasure Project were represented at the meeting.

Rose Oronje (African Population and Health Research Center) presented 'Engaging media in communicating research on sexual and reproductive health and rights in sub- Saharan Africa: Experiences and lessons learned'
>>Read a short case study on work with the media in Kenya (pdf)



Sabina Faiz Rachid (James P Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University) presented 'Bringing Sexuality Out in the Open: Building a Platform in Bangladesh'
>> Read a short case study on sexuality research in Bangladesh (pdf)



Wendy Knerr (The Pleasure Project/Taking Action for Sexual Health) presented ‘Sex Sells’ Everything from Cars to Toothpaste… Could it also Sell Safer Sex and Empowerment?'



Nana Oye Lithe (Lawyer, Ghana) presented 'Working with parliamentarians on SRH in Ghana: Strategies and Lessons learnt'
>> Read a short case study on Nana's work with parliamentarians in Ghana (pdf)



Kate Hawkins (Institute of Development Studies) presented 'Negotiating Networks and other Intermediaries: An exploration of the role of research in the rush to meet DFID information needs'