Journal Article
17 Dec 2018

Opportunities for linking research to policy: lessons learned from implementation research in sexual and reproductive health within the ANSER network

Health Research Policy and Systems ANSER, Emilomo Ogbe, Dirk Van Braeck...+18 more
Health Research Policy and Systems
ANSER, Emilomo Ogbe, Dirk Van Braeckel, Marleen Temmerman, Elin C. Larsson, Ines Keygnaert, Wilson De los Reyes Aragón, Feng Cheng, Gunta Lazdane, Diane Cooper, Simukai Shamu, Peter Gichangi, Sónia Dias, Hazel Barrett, Anne Nobels, Kaiyan Pei, Anna Galle, Tammary Esho, Lucia Knight, Hanani Tabana and Olivier Degomme.
15 mins
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What you'll learn
Strategies to improve research uptake and implementation

In this journal article, the Academic Network for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Policy (ANSER) conducted a case study and discussion-based workshop with researchers across 16 countries. They formulated recommendations both at the researcher-stakeholder level and researcher-researcher level, to strengthen SRHR policies and improve research uptake.

From research to policy
Strategic engagement matters

Strategically engaging stakeholders can provide opportunities to drive greater research uptake when it comes to policy and aligning research to political priorities. This paper describes strategies that can be applied to research approaches globally, to improve research findings and policy development.

A pregnant couple kiss on a beach.

Developing strong communication pathways, skills and practices with policy-makers sustained over time, was found to be essential for the effective translation and dissemination of SRHR research evidence by programme partners involved in developing a comprehensive care model for responding to sexual and gender-based violence in Kenya, as discussed in one of the case studies [17] and also among a health policy group in Nigeria [22].

Key Takeaways
Invest time and effort into sustainable partnerships with policymakers
Invest time and effort into sustainable partnerships with policymakers

This was found to be key, particularly at the researcher-stakeholder level. These partnerships can be used to collaboratively set SRHR research agendas in alignment with political priorities. Furthermore, strong partnerships with other stakeholders and the media can assist with the broad dissemination of results.

Use messaging that speaks to policymakers
Use messaging that speaks to policymakers

Researchers should become familiar with the rhetoric of policymakers in order to convey research results clearly and in a way that mobilises political engagement and action. What’s more, researchers should consider how to strategically address political priorities through their work, in order to drive greater policy uptake.

Encourage cross-sector collaboration
Encourage cross-sector collaboration

At the researcher-researcher level, professionals can diversify their teams and synthesise existing SRHR evidence for greater impact. This can be achieved through diverse collaborations between experts in various fields, and should be encouraged at all levels.

Incorporate different contexts to strengthen approaches
Incorporate different contexts to strengthen approaches

The amalgamation of different research perspectives and evidence across different contexts will create stronger arguments to guide SRHR policy, particularly those focused on best practice, including what has worked and what has not worked.

A pregnant couple kiss on a beach.

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    1. International Centre for Reproductive Health, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium Emilomo Ogbe, Dirk Van Braeckel, Ines Keygnaert, Anne Nobels, Anna Galle & Olivier Degomme
      Ghent University, Aga Khan University, Nairobi, Kenya, Marleen Temmerman
    2. Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Uppsala University/Karolinska Institutet, Uppsala, Sweden, Elin C. Larsson
    3. RFSU – the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education, Stockholm, Sweden, Wilson De los Reyes Aragón
    4. School of Medicine and Research Centre for Public Health, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, Feng Cheng
    5. Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Riga Stradins University, Riga, Latvia, Gunta Lazdane
    6. School of Public Health, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa, Diane Cooper, Lucia Knight & Hanani Tabana
    7. Foundation for Professional Development, Pretoria, South Africa, Simukai Shamu
    8. University of Nairobi, Ghent University and International Centre for Reproductive Health, Nairobi, Kenya, Peter Gichangi
    9. Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública, Centro de Investigação em Saúde Pública, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal, Sónia Dias
    10. Centre for Trust, Peace and Social relations, Coventry University, Coventry, United Kingdom, Hazel Barrett
    11. National Research Institute for Family Planning, Beijing, China, Kaiyan Pei
    12. Department of Community and Public Health, Technical University of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya, Tammary Esho
    13. School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, Simukai Shamu
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