Accessing, sharing and using development research information: The role of intermediaries

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Euforic/Concord meeting, 6 June 2007 - Presentation by Catherine Fisher, IDS

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Accessing, sharing and using development research information: The role of intermediaries

  1. 1. Accessing, sharing and using development research information: The role of intermediaries Fruit for thought from IDS Catherine Fisher Euforic AGM: June 2007 www.ids.ac.uk
  2. 2. Institute of Development Studies: a 3 legged stool <ul><li>Research </li></ul><ul><li>Teaching </li></ul><ul><li>Information </li></ul>
  3. 3. www.ids.ac.uk 60+ staff, 1/3 IDS income, 180,000 visitors/mo A whole family of knowledge services to help development research and knowledge reach those who can use it to reduce poverty and injustice.
  4. 4. Let’s talk about fruit
  5. 5. How does the fruit get to the happy consumer? Supply chain made up of multiple: actors (producer, picker, packer, driver, middle men, shop worker) transport methods (trucks, boats etc) , distribution channels (wholesaler, supermarkets etc)
  6. 6. But what if there isn’t a demand for fruit? Different roles eg: Providing home delivery of fruit Creating more interesting formats for fruit (juices, pies) Creating a fruit eating culture!
  7. 7. Why talk about fruit? Fruit is an analogy for research findings Its not a perfect analogy but helps to think about the different actors in the supply chain between research producers and ultimate intended research consumers – often people making decisions on development policy and practice
  8. 8. In some cases research findings go directly to the intended consumer Lots of reasons eg: Consumer not interested in that research and/or at the time Research producers not always effective communicators Research producer doesn’t have right connections But often they don’t – why?
  9. 9. Roles for I&K intermediaries in this chain – adding value <ul><li>Leveraging access to research </li></ul><ul><li>Collecting research - acting as a repository </li></ul><ul><li>Organising research </li></ul><ul><li>Summarising, synthesising </li></ul><ul><li>Raising or advocating issues </li></ul><ul><li>Active communication with key audiences </li></ul>www.ids.ac.uk Like in the fruit supply chain, there are a wide range of intermediaries playing different roles and connecting with other actors
  10. 10. Attendees at recent K&I intermediaries workshop <ul><li>The fruit idea was discussed at a recent meeting of 10 people from 10 organisations who play an intermediary role who met with IDS people in Brighton in May 07. They were (service in bold ): </li></ul><ul><li>Economic and Social Research Foundation, Tanzania - Tanzania Online </li></ul><ul><li>Philippines Institute of Development Studies - Social and Economic Research Papers – Philippines (SERP-P) </li></ul><ul><li>D-Net Bangladesh - Bangladesh Development Research Network </li></ul><ul><li>African Institute for Capacity Development, Kenya Poverty Alleviation Information Knowledge System (PAIKS) </li></ul><ul><li>Healthlink International, UK - Source </li></ul><ul><li>Global Development Network, International - GDNet </li></ul><ul><li>UNESCO, International - HIV and Education Clearing House </li></ul><ul><li>Euforic – you’ve heard of that! </li></ul><ul><li>Human Sciences Research Council, South Africa Service forthcoming </li></ul><ul><li>Centre for Science and Environment, India - Service forthcoming </li></ul>
  11. 11. From this the I-K-Mediary Working Group was born <ul><li>The I-K-Mediaries Working Group is an emerging group of development actors who involved in providing information and knowledge services. </li></ul><ul><li>Broadly these services share a common purpose: to improve the usage of information – in particular research findings - by people making decisions about development policy and or practice </li></ul>“ I was struck by how similar our purposes were, and how different our approaches”
  12. 12. Our hunches <ul><li>“ Intermediaries” are development actors too – their decisions are political </li></ul><ul><li>There are significant differences between these actors and other actors in more acknowledged fields </li></ul><ul><li>There are more and more of this kind of intermediaries </li></ul><ul><li>“ Intermediaries” in this context are quite invisible – even to themselves </li></ul><ul><li>Greater understanding of and connections between these kinds of roles would have a positive development outcome </li></ul>
  13. 13. General questions – things to chew on <ul><li>What differences between information and knowledge intermediaries? </li></ul><ul><li>Can intermediaries ever stimulate change? </li></ul><ul><li>What is an intermediary anyway? </li></ul><ul><li>Are you a research intermediary? Do you know one? </li></ul><ul><li>Is this a useful idea? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you share our belief that an intermediary role is important? </li></ul>
  14. 14. Thanks for listening! <ul><li>Hope this has provided you with fruit for thought. </li></ul><ul><li>For further info on this emerging thinking (which isn’t all about fruit) and the I-K-Mediaries Working Group please contact me at [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>A report from the recent intermediaries workshop will soon be available. </li></ul>

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