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Research Brokers & Intermediaries


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How research brokers and intermediaries contribute to evidence based pro-poor policy making: framing the debate …

How research brokers and intermediaries contribute to evidence based pro-poor policy making: framing the debate

Preseantation by Geoff Barnard, Head of Information Department (IDS) at Locating the Power of the In-between conference July 08

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  • 1. How research brokers and intermediaries contribute to evidence based pro-poor policy making Framing the debate Geoff Barnard Institute of Development Studies, Sussex
  • 2. The changing context
    • Governments and other development actors more interested in ‘evidence based’ policy & practice
    • Research funders under pressure to demonstrate the poverty impact of the work they fund
    • More sophisticated communication thinking – the linear model is dead (nearly)
    • More crowded information marketplace, and a whole array of new communication channels
    • A new generation of brokers and intermediaries
  • 3. The intermediary role is not new:
    • Journalists have long played this function
    • So too have:
      • Librarians
      • Extension workers
      • Trade associations
      • Networks
  • 4. What has changed is:
    • Wider array of approaches and roles
    • Environment has become richer and more diverse
    • More deliberate, programmatic interventions to connect research, policy and practice
  • 5. Some examples
  • 6. How does research connect to policy and practice? Research Users Research suppliers
  • 7. Intermediary roles
    • Facilitating dialogue and exchange
    • Summarising, synthesising, creating new products
    • Organising research knowledge
    • Signposting research/acting as a repository
    • Providing access to research
    Research Users Research suppliers
  • 8. What’s special about research intermediaries
    • Presenting multiple perspectives
    • Specialist skills and capacities
    • Editorial independence
    • Trusted brand
    • Continuity
    • Critical mass
  • 9. The background paper
    • Emerges from recent thinking at IDS, much influenced by the 2007 workshop
    • Sketches out the territory
    • Attempts some definitions
    • Sets down five hypotheses to get the discussion going
  • 10. Hypothesis 1:
    • Evidence-based policy and practice is more likely to be pro-poor if it is understood as a practice that encourages the inclusion of a wide range of evidence and perspectives in defining and understanding issues and formulating policies
    Pro-poor policy requires multiple perspectives
  • 11. Hypothesis 2:
    • Intermediaries represent a distinct, new communication structure that contributes to an enabling environment for the use of a broad range of evidence in policy and practice through multiple and hybrid communication and engagement channels.
    Intermediaries have important role(s) to play
  • 12. Hypothesis 3:
    • Intermediaries’ unique contribution lies in their commitment to highlighting multiple perspectives that draw on a broad range of evidence sources and create a rich information environment to support evidence-based policymaking.
    Presenting multiple perspectives is central to that role
  • 13. Hypothesis 4:
    • Even when research communication is happening effectively, intermediaries add value by creating ongoing platforms, spaces and places to promote the engagement of policy and practice actors with a plurality of sources and perspectives.
    Intermediaries add value in a variety of ways
  • 14. Hypothesis 5:
    • Intermediaries’ contribution is strengthened when they become aware of how their ‘power of in-between’ affects the flow of perspectives and sources of evidence into the research-policy environment.
    Recognising the power dimension is important
  • 15. Questions to address
    • These are just opening hypotheses to get the debate going – do we agree with them?
    • How do research brokers and intermediaries add value?
    • What can we learn from each other?
    • Do we know enough about these brokering roles?
    • How can we maximise their potential?
  • 16. Format for the session
    • 20 minutes discussion at tables to consider
    • Which hypotheses do you agree with ?
    • Which ones do you disagree with ?
    • Which ones do you just not understand ?
    We will do some voting at the end to get an impression of how well these have survived Capture comments on the graffiti boards