Opportunities for linking research to policy: Lessons learned from implementation research in sexual reproductive health within the ANSER Network

ANSER, E Ogbe, Dirk Van Braeckel, Marleen Temmerman, Elin C Larsson, Ines Keygnaert, Wilson De los Reyes Aragón, Feng Chang, Gunta Lazdane, Diane Cooper, Simuki Shamu, Peter Gichangi, Sónia Dias, Hazel Barrett, Anne Nobels, Kaiyan Pei, Anna Galle, Tammy Esho, Lucia Knight, Hanani TabanaOlivier Degomme

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    The uptake of findings from sexual and reproductive health and rights research into policy-making remains a complex and non-linear process. Different models of research utilisation and guidelines to maximise this in policy-making exist, however, challenges still remain for researchers to improve uptake of their research findings and for policy-makers to use research evidence in their work.

    A participatory workshop with researchers was organised in November 2017 by the Academic Network for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Policy (ANSER) to address this gap. ANSER is a consortium of experienced researchers, some of whom have policy-making experience, working on sexual and reproductive health and rights issues across 16 countries and 5 continents. The experiential learning cycle was used to guide the workshop discussions based on case studies and to encourage participants to focus on key lessons learned. Workshop findings were thematically analysed using specific stages from Hanney et al.’s (Health Res Policy Syst 1:2, 2003) framework on the place of policy-making in the stages of assessment of research utilisation and outcomes.

    The workshop identified key strategies for translating research into policy, including joint agenda-setting between researchers and policy-makers, as well as building trust and partnerships with different stakeholders. These were linked to stages within Hanney et al.’s framework as opportunities for engaging with policy-makers to ensure uptake of research findings.

    The engagement of stakeholders during the research development and implementation phases, especially at strategic moments, has a positive impact on uptake of research findings. The strategies and stages described in this paper can be applied to improve utilisation of research findings into policy development and implementation globally.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number123
    Number of pages9
    JournalHealth Research Policy & Systems
    Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2018

    Bibliographical note

    © The Author(s). 2018 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.


    • Sexual and reproductive health
    • research
    • health policy
    • global health
    • ANSER


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