Objectives and strategy
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
According to periodical surveys conducted with PEP-supported research teams:
- 1 in 2 PEP researchers experiences significant career-promoting events, with 40% leading to their increased involvement in local/national policy processes
- 1 in 2 PEP projects result in findings reported in national news media
- 1 in 3 PEP projects leads to findings taken up to inform local/national policy decisions
In 2019, PEP expanded this program further by introducing new requirements and modalities in the Grant Plus model - 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
- Intensive (3-day) workshops on best practices for 1) policy engagement and 2) evidence-informed policy communication
Building on nearly two decades of experience of supporting locally-led policy research in 60+ developing countries, PEP has developed quite a unique organizational expertise and perspective as to "what works" (or practical solutions) to create bridges and linkages between research and policy. to provide the best possible guidance in terms of stakeholder mapping, policy engagement, research communications, etc.
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
PEP has also established an innovative "policy outreach mentorship program" - all selected 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.
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 the "Grant Plus" 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 conferences 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