Making your research accessible

Research uptake: A guide for DFID-funded research programmes

By 2 September 2013

This guidance note aims to support DFID-funded research programmes as they develop and implement their research uptake strategy.

DFID fund research that aims to produce new products or technologies which directly improve the lives of poor people. Other research produces knowledge and will only have an impact if it is understood and used to inform decisions. Research uptake includes all the activities that facilitate and contribute to the use of research evidence by policy-makers, practitioners and other development actors.

Research uptake activities aim to:

  • support the supply of research by ensuring research questions are relevant through engagement with potential users; communicating research effectively; and synthesizing and repackaging research for different audiences. Activities in this area typically start with a focus on a particular research project or body of research and consider how it can be communicated.
  •  support the building of capacity and commitment by research users to access, evaluate, synthesise and use research evidence. Activities in this area typically start with a focus on a particular decision or decision-making process to consider how it can be informed by research evidence.

The above categories do not suggest two distinct stakeholder groups. For example, researchers are ‘suppliers’ of research but they also need to use research and in some cases they carry out activities to build the capacity of other user groups.

We ask that research programmes proactively plan and implement a research uptake strategy to maximise the likelihood that their research findings achieve an impact. We recognise that supporting research uptake can be challenging and that there is no one right way to do it. This guidance note provides some information on DFID’s approach to research uptake and some practical advice for designing a research uptake strategy.

This document is intended to be a ‘beginner’s guide’. We recognise that some parts of it may seem simplistic to those who have been involved in research uptake for a long time. However, we felt it would be useful to provide a simple overview setting out our approach.

Title: A guide for DFID-funded research programmes Author: DFID Year: 2016