Supporting the use of research evidence in policy and practice
Research that influences policy and practice has the potential to transform people’s health around the world. We are working to make sure this happens more often and more rapidly.
Integrating research findings into policies and practice for health has huge benefits:
- it improves people’s health
- it maximises investment in research through increased impact
- and, in the longer term, means research is more likely to be in response to local needs and priorities.
Research uptake includes all the activities that help and contribute to the use of research evidence. The uptake may be by policy makers, organisations implementing heathcare interventions, healthcare practitioners or the public.
The path from research to policy and practice is rarely straightforward. Successful research uptake takes time and requires mutual understanding and shared motivations among everyone involved. It also needs financial resources, which are often scarce, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.
Our vision is of a global environment that is fair and sustainable and enables people to work together to speed up the impact of research on health.
We are working towards this by:
- identifying the support necessary for research uptake, particularly in low- and middle- income countries, and then embedding this support into the way we fund
- partnering with other funders, expert networks, research and policy communities to support a culture of research evidence use in low- and middle-income countries
- supporting researchers and policymakers to work more closely together to agree research objectives in response to local and regional health priorities.
What we're doing
Policy engagement workshops
Embedding a culture of research use into policy and practice is a complex, long-term endeavour. Policy engagement is less effective, and less sustainable, if left to individuals. It has a greater chance of success if it is underpinned by networks that share knowledge, skills and support.
We have been working with partners and staff at our Africa and Asia Programmes to provide a platform for knowledge exchange between people and organisations with diverse experience.
Our inaugural policy engagement gathering was in London in 2018, followed by a second meeting in Lilongwe, Malawi, in February 2019. We then held a virtual workshop in September 2020.
Read our reports:
Policy engagement pilot awards
We have made four awards to support systemic approaches to the use of research in policy and practice.
These 18-month pilots, based at our Africa and Asia Programmes, each take a different approach to enhancing policy engagement and evidence-informed decision-making .
The pilots will help us understand what kinds of activities and support are most effective for creating the system-wide changes we want to see.
- Read more about the Policy Engagement Pilot Awards [PDF 119KB]
Policy and practice knowledge hub
We have partnered with the National Institute for Health Research to support The Global Health Network to develop an online knowledge hub, ARCH, to bridge the gap between research and policy and practice.
The ARCH hub aims to bring together researchers, policymakers, practitioners, civil society organisations and others to support the use of research into discoverable, practical and usable recommendations.
Stories of change
We commissioned the Overseas Development Institute to profile examples of how researchers are engaging and influencing policy in three of Wellcome’s overseas research programmes.
- Using Research to Inform Policy and Practice: A story from India [PDF 291KB] Increasing government focus on melioidosis through improved data.
- Using Research to Inform Policy and Practice: A story from Kenya [PDF 304KB] Establishing Kenyan guidelines for paediatric care.
- Using Research to Inform Policy and Practice: A story from Thailand [PDF 296KB] Experts and research influence food and nutrition policy.