Effective communication of health research to policymakers



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HIFA is working with TDR, the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases at WHO, to explore how researchers can better communicate health research evidence to policymakers. 
TDR and HIFA have previously supported three major thematic discussions on the HIFA forums: country-level policymaking, implementation research and systematic reviews (see HIFA Evidence Informed Policy and Practice). 
In 2022-2023 we turn our attention to the topic of effective communication of health research to policymakers. 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 are 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.
HIFA thematic discussion
HIFA hosted a 5-week in-depth discussion on the HIFA forums from 5 September to 7 October 2022, supported by a working group of TDR staff and HIFA volunteers. There is currently funding for one thematic discussion, with potential for further work in the future.
Guiding questions

The questions below were offered as a guide to the discussion. We invite further discussion on any aspect of health research communication. Email your comments to the HIFA forum here: hifa@hifaforums.org 

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?

We invite anyone with an interest in health to join these discussions. This includes health professionals, community health workers, members of civil society, policy makers, and people working in the field of research communication. 
How do HIFA discussions work?
HIFA members receive a daily compilation of messages from the previous 24 hours, sent by email to their personal inbox.
HIFA members can contribute to the discussions by sending an email to: hifa@hifaforums.org
All contributions are assessed and approved for distribution to HIFA's 20,000+ members worldwide
Your contributions will be synthesised and offered to the wider research and policymaking community.
How to join? 
If you are already a HIFA member, then you do not need to take action. The discussion will take place on the HIFA forum.
If you are not already a HIFA member, you can join here (free).
HIFA and TDR: Working together for a world where every policymaker has access to the reliable health information they need for evidence-informed policymaking
Contact: Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Global Coordinator: neil@hifa.org

This is the full compilation of all messages 1-125. HIFA is grateful to the Special Programme in Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR/WHO) for their support. 


This is a structured summary of the discussion held on HIFA. It includes introduction, metrics, verbatim content structured under headings and subheadings, profiles of contributors, and citations mentioned during the discussion. HIFA is grateful to the Special Programme in Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR/WHO) for their support. 

This 4-page summary provides a few selected extracts of the discussion held on HIFA. HIFA is grateful to the Special Programme in Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR/WHO) for their support.

Name Country
Ama Fenny Ghana
Balazs Babarczy Hungary
Bancy Ngatia United Kingdom
Chris Zielinski United Kingdom
Cordelia Lonsdale United Kingdom
Delphine Kayem United Kingdom
Emily Vargas Mexico
Frank Kagoro United Kingdom
Jacklyne Ashubwe-Jalemba Kenya
Karishma Krishna Kurup India
Khin Thet Wai Myanmar
Mercedes Rumi Italy
Neil Pakenham-Walsh United Kingdom
Robert Terry Switzerland
Samuel Sieber Switzerland
Soumyadeep Bhaumik India
Tanja Kuchenmuller Switzerland
Vedant Jha India
Wilber Sabiiti United Kingdom