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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

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

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Research Brokers & Intermediaries

  1. 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. 2. The changing context <ul><li>Governments and other development actors more interested in ‘evidence based’ policy & practice </li></ul><ul><li>Research funders under pressure to demonstrate the poverty impact of the work they fund </li></ul><ul><li>More sophisticated communication thinking – the linear model is dead (nearly) </li></ul><ul><li>More crowded information marketplace, and a whole array of new communication channels </li></ul><ul><li>A new generation of brokers and intermediaries </li></ul>
  3. 3. The intermediary role is not new: <ul><li>Journalists have long played this function </li></ul><ul><li>So too have: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Librarians </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Extension workers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Trade associations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Networks </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. What has changed is: <ul><li>Wider array of approaches and roles </li></ul><ul><li>Environment has become richer and more diverse </li></ul><ul><li>More deliberate, programmatic interventions to connect research, policy and practice </li></ul>
  5. 5. Some examples
  6. 6. How does research connect to policy and practice? Research Users Research suppliers
  7. 7. Intermediary roles <ul><li>Facilitating dialogue and exchange </li></ul><ul><li>Summarising, synthesising, creating new products </li></ul><ul><li>Organising research knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Signposting research/acting as a repository </li></ul><ul><li>Providing access to research </li></ul>Research Users Research suppliers
  8. 8. What’s special about research intermediaries <ul><li>Presenting multiple perspectives </li></ul><ul><li>Specialist skills and capacities </li></ul><ul><li>Editorial independence </li></ul><ul><li>Trusted brand </li></ul><ul><li>Continuity </li></ul><ul><li>Critical mass </li></ul>
  9. 9. The background paper <ul><li>Emerges from recent thinking at IDS, much influenced by the 2007 workshop </li></ul><ul><li>Sketches out the territory </li></ul><ul><li>Attempts some definitions </li></ul><ul><li>Sets down five hypotheses to get the discussion going </li></ul>
  10. 10. Hypothesis 1: <ul><li>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 </li></ul>Pro-poor policy requires multiple perspectives
  11. 11. Hypothesis 2: <ul><li>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. </li></ul>Intermediaries have important role(s) to play
  12. 12. Hypothesis 3: <ul><li>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. </li></ul>Presenting multiple perspectives is central to that role
  13. 13. Hypothesis 4: <ul><li>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. </li></ul>Intermediaries add value in a variety of ways
  14. 14. Hypothesis 5: <ul><li>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. </li></ul>Recognising the power dimension is important
  15. 15. Questions to address <ul><li>These are just opening hypotheses to get the debate going – do we agree with them? </li></ul><ul><li>How do research brokers and intermediaries add value? </li></ul><ul><li>What can we learn from each other? </li></ul><ul><li>Do we know enough about these brokering roles? </li></ul><ul><li>How can we maximise their potential? </li></ul>
  16. 16. Format for the session <ul><li>20 minutes discussion at tables to consider </li></ul><ul><li>Which hypotheses do you agree with ? </li></ul><ul><li>Which ones do you disagree with ? </li></ul><ul><li>Which ones do you just not understand ? </li></ul>We will do some voting at the end to get an impression of how well these have survived Capture comments on the graffiti boards