Understanding how research is put into use

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge

Abstract

The rationale for this project is the striking gap between knowledge of the important role of ecosystem services, on one hand, and the use of this knowledge in poverty reduction and inclusive growth strategies, on the other. The ESPA programme is actively seeking to promote mechanisms to enhance the use of research, and recognises that there is no blueprint formula for putting research into use. Previous experience, especially in different disciplines and sectors, can provide helpful guidance for current and future ESPA research. This project proposes to undertake a review of existing knowledge and experience in order to support ESPA’s evolving Research Into Use strategy.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description The principal research question of the 'Understanding How Research is Put into Use' project was: "What approaches are useful for putting research into use for reducing poverty and for promoting inclusive growth?"

In understanding the approaches that influence the impact that research might have, the study adopted a twofold process. First, an analysis of academic debates was conducted through a structured review of published articles. This review revealed the current state of knowledge on RIU across multiple sectors and in the context of different countries. It also highlighted knowledge gaps in the published literature.
The findings of the review were complemented by three case studies, which exemplified the translation of research into policy and practice. These case studies were chosen to illustrate the different pathways through which research might influence outcomes, across three different sectors: food security in India; flood risk management in the UK; and promoting awareness and responses to mental health issues.
Exploitation Route (1) The study further found that impacts from research can take a variety of forms, and may not often be readily visible. Thus, impacts may include increased awareness of problems or new ways of conceptualising them, improved access to and delivery of essential services, enhanced capacities to engage with research and knowledge, solutions to complex problems, dialogue leading to conflict mitigation, as well as changes in policy processes to make them more evidence based and consultative. Researchers and funders should consider a range of impacts when planning for and evaluating research outcomes.
(2) Impacts also tend to be more apparent in cases where research addresses relevant knowledge gaps identified by practitioners. Continued dialogue and networking between researchers, policy makers, planners and other research users can facilitate the identification of knowledge gaps. Extended engagement between researchers and research users can also engender a better understanding of organisational structures and politics, leading to more robust (and practical) impact strategies.
(3) The formation and maintenance of longer-term relationships between researchers, research users and those involved in advocacy has shown to require time and resources that may extend beyond project timelines. Dialogue and networking are crucial for forming longer-term relationships that facilitate the translation of research into use; time and commitment on the behalf of researchers as well as support on the behalf of funders are therefore important conditions for successful translation of research into use.
(4) The parameters for assessing research quality vary among stakeholders and can include various factors, such as inclusivity, ethics, credibility of the researchers, the relevance of the research, and the costs associated with research translation. Peer reviewed publications, which are sine qua non in establishing research quality in academia, may not be important for other stakeholders. It is thus important to understand how research users conceptualize and assess research quality, and subsequently incorporate these parameters into research design and delivery.
(5) Impacts may occur well beyond the timeframe of particular research projects. Researchers and funders therefore need to remain engaged with the processes of putting research into use beyond project timelines and also develop frameworks for monitoring and evaluation which can capture impacts over extended timeframes. At the very least, it is imperative to be careful to not over-burden research projects with expectations of impact as there are limits to what a research project can deliver.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Energy,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice,Other

URL http://www.geog.cam.ac.uk/research/projects/researchintouse/
 
Description As a direct follow up to this project, the ESPA programme organised a day long workshop on Research into Use on 17 January 2014 (http://www.espa.ac.uk/news-events/events/fri-2014-01-17-1000/research-use-event). This workshop centred around the findings of this project, a strategic review of current and emerging practices of getting research into use on a global scale with relevance to ESPA. The workshop broadened the discussion on this current issue and was designed to assist ESPA (and other) researchers in making better use of their research. The workshop agenda, and details of the presentations made at this meeting are all available at the weblink for the event: http://www.espa.ac.uk/news-events/events/fri-2014-01-17-1000/research-use-event The outcomes of the workshop are being used to inform the ESPA programme's approach to building impact, the revision of its Research Into Use Strategy and impact activities funded by the ESPA Directorate including a new Regional Opportunities Fund for ESPA. The final report from the RIU event is available at this link: http://www.espa.ac.uk/files/espa/ESPA-Research-Into-Use-Workshop-Final-Report.pdf
First Year Of Impact 2014
Sector Education,Other
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description RIU Workshop, January 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact As a direct follow up to this project, the ESPA programme organised a day long workshop on Research into Use on 17 January 2014. This workshop centred around the findings of this project, a strategic review of current and emerging practices of getting research into use on a global scale with relevance to ESPA. The workshop broadened the discussion on this current issue and was designed to assist ESPA (and other) researchers in making better use of their research.



The outcomes of the workshop are being used to inform the ESPA programme's approach to building impact, the revision of its Research Into Use Strategy and impact activities funded by the ESPA Directorate including a new Regional Opportunities Fund for ESPA.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.espa.ac.uk/news-events/events/fri-2014-01-17-1000/research-use-event