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Learning lessons on research uptake and use: a review of DFID's research communication programmes

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 Miscellaneous (Information and Communication)
 Research and Evidence Division (Evidence into Action Team)

 Triple Line Consulting Ltd

 Barbara Adolph


The review seeks to arrive at strategic and higher level recommendations that will assist DFID Research in defining its research communication framework and action plan, and in the allocation of resources to those areas that are most likely to result in meeting the objectives of the research strategy. It is not an evaluation of the individual programmes, but rather seeks to learn lessons from across the portfolio to inform DFID on how it might work differently in the future.

DFID’s new strategy places emphasis on making research available and accessible. To achieve this ambition, DFID has committed to spend up to 30% of their overall investment in research by 2013 in this area, i.e. some £60m of the anticipated overall allocation of £200m. This includes investment within research programmes themselves for outreach and communication, but also includes new programmes and increased emphasis on improving knowledge management, monitoring, evaluation and learning, a new synthesis function and decentralising some research services. This includes a dedicated investment in initiatives that specifically deliver the communication of research, which can expect to increase significantly from the current annual level of approximately £11m (2008/09).

The DFID research strategy 2008-2013 calls for a balance between creating new knowledge and technology and getting knowledge and technology – both new and existing – into use, and to make the most of DFID's ability to influence policy to make sure research makes an impact. It is the subject of this lesson learning study to:

  • Understand what lessons are emerging from across the current DFID funded research communication programme portfolio, and consider the implications for DFID to deliver commitments in the new research strategy; and to
  • Examine how the current portfolio reflects and supports DFIDs commitments in the research strategy, so that DFID can enhance and modify it as appropriate.

1. A lesson learning report which includes

  • A summary of existing learning resources across the Communication programmes
  • Key lessons learnt from the programmes as they relate to the new research strategy
  • Observations from other key donors, in particular co-funders of DFID funded communications programmes, on their research communications strategies and relevant interests
  • Recommendations to DFID based on this learning on how to build on and strengthen the programmes it supports in order to deliver the research strategy

2. Bespoke, in-depth studies of specific issues to address gaps in the learning provided by existing reports / evaluations etc.

3. A presentation to DFID staff outlining the above

4. A presentation to DFID-funded programmes to share the lesson-learning component of this work.