Engagement and communication
Ultimately, the goal of PEP activities is for the research and researchers it supports to contribute to informing policy in developing countries. However, both researchers and donors face the challenge of promoting greater interest in the production and use of an evidence base for policies and programs throughout the world.
This challenge has inspired PEP to develop a unique research support program in which grant recipients are mandated to complement their research project with an effective policy engagement and communication strategy. This strategy is designed and implemented under the supervision of, and with continual support/guidance from, PEP policy outreach mentors.
Not only does this contribute to increase policy uptake of research findings, but experience has also proven that the researchers who engage in such activities usually benefit from increased exposure and acknowledgement as field experts at the national level, which in turn ensures the long term impact of PEP support. Find out more about PEP impact stories.
In 2019, PEP expanded this program further by introducing new requirements and modalities for supported research projects - these include:
"Co-production" of research by mixed government-research teams
Development of a Policy Paper (along with the research paper) as a mandatory project deliverable
Building on two decades of experience in supporting locally-led, policy-engaged research in 65+ developing countries, PEP has developed a unique expertise and perspective as to "what works" when it comes to the research-policy interface in the Global South.
PEP-affiliated policy experts use the key lessons drawn from this experience, combined with their own intimate knowledge of the local policy and institutional contexts, to provide the best possible guidance in terms of stakeholder mapping, policy engagement, communication and messaging, etc.
In 2016, PEP created and established an innovative "policy outreach mentorship program"; all PEP-supported research teams are paired with an experienced policy advisor from the same country or region, to help them navigate their institutional and policy contexts, and advise on the most effective outreach and influence strategies, throughout the research cycle.
These mentors also help research teams develop their policy paper analysis, aimed at positioning the research evidence into the broader, national policy contexts and strategies.
PEP provides intensive training workshops:
- At the proposal stage: to help researchers understand the policy contexts and needs related to their research project/issue, as well as to design an effective policy outreach strategy.
- Towards the end of the research cycle: to review best practices for effective dissemination and communication of findings to policy and other stakeholders
In addition to guiding and supporting policy engagement throughout the research cycle, PEP also provides researchers with both technical and financial support to disseminate findings more broadly and effectively.
The specific activities supported by PEP through its research support program include:
- Translate and publish findings into both working paper and policy brief format - these are actually mandatory to receive the final (and largest) grant payments - most PEP publications are also published in the country's official language.
- Organize a national policy conference to share/discuss findings and their policy implications with a larger audience - over 90% of these events benefit from significant coverage in national news media
- Present the research work and findings at a high-level international conference