A new HIFA project: Effective communication of health research to policymakers

24 August, 2022


Join HIFA global health forum today (free)

We are delighted to announce a new project sponsored by TDR, the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases at WHO. 

The project - Effective communication of health research to policymakers - will support HIFA's 20,000 members to explore methods and issues around communicating health research evidence.

This builds on past work by HIFA nd TDR to support three previous discussions on the HIFA forums: 1. country-level policymaking, 2. implementation research, and 3. systematic reviews (see HIFA Evidence Informed Policy and Practice). 

What we shall do
We now turn our attention to how researchers can better communicate health research evidence to policymakers. This project will look at how research is packaged and communicated, including for example the role of policy briefs as well as videos, social media and newsletter content. 
HIFA will host a 5-week in-depth discussion on the HIFA forums from 5 September to 7 October 2022, supported by a working group of TDR staff and HIFA volunteers. There is currently funding for one thematic discussion, with potential for further work in the future.

Guiding questions

The questions below are offered as a guide to the discussion. Please feel free to comment on any aspect of health research communication at any time. Email your comments to the forum here: hifa@hifaforums.org 

1. What do we mean by ‘Effective communication of health research to policymakers?’ How do we measure it?
2. What are the different approaches to communicating research (eg academic journals, policy briefs, interaction with policymakers, press releases, social media, infographics, use of video)? What is your experience with these approaches? What works and what doesn't?
3. What is the role of researchers in research communication, beyond publication of their paper? What is the role of other stakeholders (eg communication professionals, editors, media, public health professionals and critical thinkers)
4. What are the needs and preferences of policymakers? 
5. What can be done to better support researchers in the communication of health research?

Who can participate? 
We invite anyone with an interest in health to join these discussions. This includes researchers, health professionals, community health workers, members of civil society, policy makers, and people working in the field of research communication. 
How does it work?
HIFA members receive a daily compilation of messages from the previous 24 hours, sent by email to their personal inbox.
HIFA members contribute to the discussions by sending email to: hifa@hifaforums.org
All contributions are assessed and approved for distribution to HIFA's 20,000+ members worldwide
Contributions are synthesised and offered to the wider research and policymaking community.
How to join? 
If you are already a HIFA member, then you do not need to take action. The discussion will take place on the HIFA forum.
If you are not already a HIFA member, you can join here (free).

HIFA and TDR: Working together for a world where every policymaker has access to the information they need to protect the health of the people for whom they are responsible. 

Note: An earlier version of this announcement was posted in May 2022, since when the scope and objectives of the project have evolved to focus more on the effective communication of research rather than the previous focus on evidence-informed policymaking. 

Read more