We have been at the forefront of humanitarian research for more than a decade, contributing to the growing body of evidence produced to inform humanitarian policy and practice. At the same time, researchers and their funders – including us – are increasingly called upon to demonstrate the impact of research. It is critical that publicly funded evidence is reaching humanitarian stakeholders who can use it to improve programmes, policy and practice for people affected by crisis.
But the reality of doing this is not easy. As we explored in our 2021 learning paper, ‘From Knowing to Doing’, there are multiple barriers for humanitarian researchers and their partners in translating evidence into use. Even when things go perfectly, the pathway for research to influence practice can take a long time – well beyond the timeline of a single study.
We’ve been working closely with our grantees over the last few years to tackle these barriers. We provide resources to support grantees in stakeholder engagement and research communications (including guidance, tailored workshops and financial support) and help to amplify the studies we fund through convening and communications. We also collect data so we can better understand the impact each R2HC-funded study has on humanitarian knowledge, capacity, networks, and policy/practice. While research impact case studies are available as a learning tool, those generally available do not speak to the complexity and challenges faced when producing research in humanitarian crisis contexts. This is a gap we are well positioned to address, and our case study series attempts to do this. Such learning is crucial to ensure that evidence of what works can be translated and applied in humanitarian response.
We are sharing a collection of detailed case studies documenting the impacts of completed research studies on humanitarian policy and practice*. These were developed using a methodology based on Contribution Analysis involving triangulation and validation of reported results via stakeholder interviews, desk research and written testimonials. The case studies document impacts delivered, explore effective engagement and communication strategies used to engage stakeholders in research, and share lessons learned about the contextual factors and enablers that allow research to have influence.
Based on the case studies, learning from the R2HC programme’s ten years of operation, and relevant literature, we have also developed The Research Impact Framework. The Framework and accompanying briefing note is designed to help meet the need for practical guidance and strengthen the impact of humanitarian health research on policy and practice. The Framework outlines success strategies that researchers can use to deliver research impact, and enablers which can facilitate evidence-to-practice impact pathways.
Our webinar in September 2023 launched the Research Impact Framework and brought together experts to examine the lessons learned from the case studies, and from their own experiences on the research-to-practice pathway. Watch the event recording.
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