New HIFA discussion: Effective communication of health research to policymakers, 5 September to 7 October 2022

28 August, 2022

Join HIFA colleagues,

On 5 September we officially start a new thematic discussion on HIFA, supported by TDR, the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases at WHO: Effective communication of health research to policymakers. The discussion will continue through to 7 October 2022.


What are the most impactful methods for researchers to communicate their research to policymakers so that the research is seen and applied? How can research be better packaged and communicated, including for example the role of policy briefs as well as academic journals, videos, social media, infographics, newsletters, use of video, and newsletter content? We shall consider the preferences of policymakers, and the role of researcher-policymaker communications at all stages of the research cycle. We shall also consider the role of intermediaries such as journal editors, communication professionals, publicists and journalists.

We shall be inclusive in the different types of research we consider, including primary research (eg randomised controlled trials, observational studies, implementation research, operational research); secondary research (eg systematic reviews), and their geography (global, national, local); and tertiary research (where cumulative evidence is operationalised in, for example, the form of policy briefs and clinical guidelines).

We are looking primarily from the perspective of researchers, whose motivation is typically to communicate their research effectively. At the same time, researchers need to know what policy-makers want and require, and they need to have an understanding of how their research fits in with the broader perspective of evidence-informed policy.


The questions below are offered as a guide to the discussion. Please feel free to comment on any aspect of health research communication at any time. Email your comments to the forum here:

1. What do we mean by ‘Effective communication of health research to policymakers?’ How do we measure it?

2. What are the different approaches to communicating research (eg academic journals, policy briefs, interaction with policymakers, press releases, social media, infographics, use of video)? What is your experience with these approaches? What works and what doesn't?

3. What is the role of researchers in research communication, beyond publication of their paper? What is the role of other stakeholders (eg communication professionals, editors, media, public health professionals and critical thinkers)

4. What are the needs and preferences of policymakers?

5. What can be done to better support researchers in the communication of health research?

Please forward this message to your contacts and networks and encourage people to join by going to our website: or direct to our Join page:

The discussion will take place on HIFA (English), CHIFA (child health, English), HIFA-French, HIFA-Portuguese and HIFA-Spanish.

More info here:

Contact: Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Global Coordinator: