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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
We now 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 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.
What we shall do
HIFA will host 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.
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: email@example.com
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?
Who can participate?
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 does it work?
HIFA members receive a daily compilation of messages from the previous 24 hours, sent by email to their personal inbox.
All contributions are assessed and approved for distribution to HIFA's 20,000+ members worldwide
Your contributions will 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
HIFA and TDR: Working together for a world where every policymaker has access to the reliable health information they need for evidence-informed policymaking
Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Global Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org