Knowing your audience

Demand Focused Capacity Building

By 26 September 2015

Here at R2A we thought it would be useful to compile a resource list for the current buzzword ‘demand’ focused capacity building. Although in a few months when the DFID funded Improving Communication of Research Evidence in Development (ICRED) project gets underway the focus (and associated buzzwords) may well shift back to the ‘supply’ side of evidence-informed policy…

In the meantime, below is a collection of blogs and research papers for those wanting to know a bit more about strengthening evidence-informed policymaking at the policy end of the spectrum.

  1. This R2A Resource Guide compiled in 2013 offers some useful signposts for ‘Getting started on evidence-informed policy’ and (as an aside) it predicted that evidence-informed policy making was going to be big in 2013! It gives some context for those who might be new to the terminology and some background to the supply focused, then demand side swing, within the current  evidence-informed policy narrative.
  2. Andrew Clappison blogged about the launch of the DFID funded Building Capacity to Use Research Evidence (BCURE) programme back in 2013, sharing his opinions on the problems around evidence-informed policy making (EIPM) which he perceived to be  a governance problem, in a piece called ‘the use and abuse of research evidence’.  
  3. ITAD’s Associate Director Robbie Gregorowski outlines the new paradigm Capacity Development 2.0, in this R2A blog entitled ‘Capacity Development: how should we reframe it for the digital age
  4. This interview with Zeipnet Director Ronald Mutansi conducted by Nyasha Musandu explores the challenges and structures around building capacity for evidence-informed policy in Zimbabwe.
  5. Laura ffrench-Constant’s blog about ‘What Policymakers want from researchers’ summarises some of the key papers produced in 2014, which delved in what policymakers expect of researchers and the types of evidence-informed outputs they consume most often.  
  6. This insightful piece by Arnaldo Pellini summarises how ‘Indonesia is growing fast, as is the demand for social welfare, but is evidence keeping pace?’ and concludes that there needs to be an endogenous push to institutionalise the use of research in the government’s policies on welfare.
  7. These two blogs by AFIDEP pull together its findings on the ‘barriers to research use in the public health sector’ and ‘Using training as an approach for building the capacity of health policymakers in evidence-informed policy making’ across Kenya and Malawi, as part of the DFID funded Strengthening Capacity to Use Research Evidence in Health Policy (SECURE Health) project.
  8. This research report prepare by RAND Europe gives an overview of ‘options for effective mechanisms to support evidence-informed policymaking in newborn & child health’ across Asia and the Pacific, and assesses the evidence needs of policymakers in the region.
  9. This blog by ITAD surmises David Fleming’s experiences from the second annual Africa Cabinet Government Network meeting in Accra, and neatly captures five themes around improving evidence usage within policymaking  across conflictual or fragile environments.
  10. INTRAC produced ‘a systematic review of barriers to, and facilitators of, the use of evidence by policymakers’ highlighting the most commonly cited barriers to evidence-informed policy  as ‘poor access to good quality research’ and ‘lack of timely research output’. Whilst the most widely highlighted facilitators were ‘collaboration between researchers and policymakers’ and ‘improved relationship and skills’.
  11. INASP published this 2013 paper on ‘what is the evidence on evidence-informed policy making’ by Newman et al. which conveyed the emergent trends from the International Conference on Evidence-Informed Policy Making. It highlights the lack of research into the actual capacity of policymakers to use evidence and relatedly, strategies for remedying any lack of capacity.
  12. This research paper entitled ‘Stimulating demand for research evidence – what role for capacity building’   published by the IDS and written by Newman et al. switched the focus from capacity building efforts around researchers and the supply side, to focus on the demand related factors within evidence-informed policy making instead.

This resource list is intended to be dynamic and will be updated regularly. We welcome your input and any suggested resources in the comment section below or, alternatively, you can tweet them to us via @Research2Action. You can also make recommendations for the forthcoming ‘supply’ focused resource list, that will accompany the inception phase of the ICRED programme.