Approaches to evidence-informed policy-making must be flexible and pay equal attention to the quality of the processes through which evidence is sourced and used, as well as the quality of the evidence itself. However, there are often common concerns, within and across government departments – for example, using the full range of high-quality evidence that is available, using budgets efficiently, building relationships and ensuring wide participation, and anticipating future evidence needs.
This report builds on our experiences of producing data visualisations and in data journalism, and brings together the lessons we have learned with insights from the broader sector of research communications.
MESH is a collaborative open-access web space for people involved in community engagement with health research in low and middle income countries (LMICs). It provides an online meeting place where community engagement practitioners, researchers, health workers and others can network, share resources and discuss best practice.
Efforts to improve the use of evidence in government policy-making across the world have tended to focus on different groups and organisations. But while a good deal of work has been done to improve the supply of evidence from entities such as research centres and academia, less attention has been paid to improving demand for, and use of, evidence by government policy-makers.
An Uptake Strategy is a planning tool that will help you to meet your goals and objectives. It should complement your project strategy, and use the objectives and indicators that you identified in your logframe or theory of change. It is not a dissemination checklist. The key elements of your uptake strategy are similar to any other strategy: What do you want to accomplish (objective)? Who do you need to communicate with in order to achieve those objectives (audience)? What do you want that audience to do (or know, etc.)? What do they do/know now (your baseline)? How will you measure your progress (indicators)? What resources do you have or need? Once you agree those basics, you can choose the tools that you can use, and tailor your information for each audience, starting with those who are most able to make happen the change that you seek. Have a look below at some of the key resources available on R2A. There are a great many guides and toolkits for creating uptake (or communications) strategies. Choose the elements that are most appropriate for your project, and that are within your ability to use given your resources. Large projects or programmes should have a team of communications professionals – if you work on a smaller project that cannot afford communications staff then consider hiring someone to help you with your strategy. At very least seek out other DFID research projects that work in a similar area to your project and look at their strategies and interim and annual reports. Contact the projects and see if their communications staff are willing to help you learn, so that you can benefit from existing experience and networks. Your research staff will also be vital to members of your uptake team.
Members of Development Research Uptake in Sub-Saharan Africa (DRUSSA) in Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) have held a workshop on research uptake communication. The workshop was to equip members of the team with research uptake communication skills.
A new book profiles a range of success examples where Africa’s research has been harnessed for the benefit of its population: creating jobs, opportunities and better livelihoods.
Africa’s Minds: Build a Better Future is a collection of 11 African science, technology and innovation (ST&I) success stories from across the continent and in a range of sectors.
The book will be launched at UNESCO Africa Week in Paris today, in both English and French, and will be made available through the SciDev.Net website, both as a pdf and as individual online stories. It was produced by SciDev.Net in association with UNESCO (UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), with funding support from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB).
The stories are written by African reporters based in Africa, and contain interviews with project leaders as well as local people affected by those projects. The topics range from education, health and agriculture to capacity building and innovation.
Nick Perkins, director of SciDev.Net, said: “It is important to show that Africa is building its capacity to produce scientific evidence and technological innovation for two reasons. First, because science and technology are behind all of the great successes in global development and we know that poverty and vulnerability still affect a large number of people in the continent. Secondly, and at least as importantly, African countries know they must move away from commodity-based economies to excel in the twenty-first century and this booklet is full of promising stories of such transformation.”
UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova said: “Scientific knowledge and new forms of innovation have the power to transform how we live and improve our daily lives. This booklet aims to share how creative men and women in Africa are working to design sustainable and inclusive solutions to issues such as food security, disease control and environmental sustainability.”
Ahmad Mohamed Ali, president of the IDB, said: “This brochure, prepared in collaboration with UNESCO, showcases success stories that highlight the African-led scientific and technological solutions to the continent’s various problems. All the stories provide empirical evidence on how ST&I can ensure success and sustainability in Africa’s development process while sensitivity toward social and cultural diversity is kept in view.”
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