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Maximising Policy Impact


Existing theory a short list. Policy narratives, Roe. Systems of Innovation Model, (NSI) ... 'Most policy research on African agriculture is irrelevant to ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Maximising Policy Impact

  • Maximising Policy Impact
  • Some initial results from the GDN Bridging
    Research and Policy Project

John Young, Overseas Development Institute, London
ERF 10th International Conference, Marrakesh,
Morocco December 2003
  • Project
  • Progress
  • Preliminary Findings
  • Pointers for Researchers
  • Plans
  • Definitions
  • Research any systematic learning process
  • Policy A course of action
  • Focus Policy relevant research

The BRP Project
  • Purpose
  • Improved links between research and policy.
  • Outputs
  • An international coalition working together.
  • A learning platform.
  • Better understanding of how to improve
    research-policy links.
  • Lessons, recommendations and practical tools.
  • Increased awareness of the value of research.

The BRP Project
  • Phase I (January December 2002)
  • Surveys.
  • Literature Review.
  • Preliminary Case Studies ? Framework
  • Phase II (January 2003 December 2004)
  • Detailed research.
  • Synthesis.
  • Development of approaches and tools.
  • Phase III (January December 2005)
  • Promotion

Organisation Operation
  • International Steering Committee Chaired by
    Montek Ahluwalia.
  • Operational Management by EERC advice from ODI.
  • Research, synthesis and dissemination by Southern
    policy researchers through
  • Case Studies.
  • Background Papers.
  • Commissioned research
  • Research competition.
  • Workshops and writeshops.

Work so far
  • Establishment.
  • Literature Review.
  • Surveys of researchers and policy makers.
  • 50 preliminary case studies.
  • Development of research framework.
  • Phase II studies commissioned.
  • Publications
  • Web site.
  • Training Workshops

Existing theory a short list
  • Policy narratives, Roe
  • Systems of Innovation Model, (NSI)
  • Room for manoeuvre, Clay Schaffer
  • Street level bureaucrats, Lipsky
  • Policy as social experiments, Rondene
  • Policy streams and policy windows, Kingdon
  • Disjointed Incrementalism, Lindquist
  • Social Epidemics, Gladwell

ODI working paper 174, 2002, Hovland, de Vibe and
Young Bridging Research and Policy An Annotated
  • Linear logical ? dynamic, complex, two-way.
  • The whole life of policy is a chaos of purposes
    and accidents. It is not at all a matter of the
    rational implementation of the so-called
    decisions through selected strategies 1
  • Most policy research on African agriculture is
    irrelevant to agricultural and overall economic
    policy in Africa2

1 - Clay Schaffer (1984), Room for Manoeuvre
An Exploration of Public Policy in
Agricultural and Rural Development, Heineman
Educational Books, London 2 Omamo (2003),
Policy Research on African Agriculture Trends,
Gaps, and Challenges, International Service
for National Agricultural Research (ISNAR)
Research Report No 21
The Analytical Framework
External Influences Socio-economic and cultural
influences, donor policies etc
Lessons from.
  • Literature
  • Other work IDRC, IFPRI, ODI
  • Surveys
  • 50 cases gt 25 countries all GDN regions.
  • Self-selected.
  • Mainly from researchers.
  • Most policy-driven.
  • 31 national, 12 local, 5 regional, 2 global.

Political Context Key Lessons
  • The macro political context (democracy,
    governance, media freedom academic freedom)
  • The sector / issue process (Policy uptake
    demand contestation) NB Demand political and
  • Policy implementation the power of street level
  • Decisive moments in the policy process (policy
    processes, votes, policy windows and crises)
  • Context is crucial, but you can maximize your

Evidence Relevance and credibility
  • Key factor did it provide a solution to a
  • Relevance
  • Topical relevance What to do?
  • Operational usefulness How to do it?
  • Credibility
  • Research approach
  • Of researcher gt of evidence itself
  • Strenuous advocacy efforts are often needed
  • Communication

Links Feedback and Networks
  • Feedback processes often prominent in successful
  • Trust legitimacy
  • Networks
  • Epistemic communities
  • Policy networks
  • Advocacy coalitions
  • The role of individuals connectors, mavens and

External Influence
  • Big incentives can spur evidence-based policy
    e.g. EU accession, PRSP processes.
  • And some interesting examples of donors trying
    new things re. supporting research
  • But, we really dont know whether and how donors
    can best promote use of evidence in policymaking
    (credibility vs backlash)

The Analytical Framework
External Influences Socio-economic and cultural
influences, donor policies etc
A Practical Framework
political context
Politics and Policymaking
Campaigning, Lobbying
Policy analysis, research
Media, Advertising, Networking
Research, learning thinking
Scientific information exchange validation
Using the framework
  • The external environment Who are the key actors?
    What is their agenda? How do they influence?
  • The political context Is there interest in
    change? Is there room for manoeuvre? How do they
    perceive the problem?
  • The evidence Is it there? Is it relevant? Is it
    practically useful? Are the concepts familiar or
  • Links Who are the key individuals? Are there
    existing networks? How best to transfer the
    information? The media? Campaigns?

Putting it into practice
  • Get to know the policymakers.
  • Identify friends and foes.
  • Prepare for policy opportunities.
  • Look out for policy windows.
  • Work with them seek commissions
  • Strategic opportunism prepare for known events
    resources for others
  • Establish credibility
  • Provide practical solutions
  • Establish legitimacy.
  • Present clear options
  • Use familiar narratives.
  • Build a reputation
  • Action-research
  • Pilot projects to generate legitimacy
  • Good communication
  • Build partnerships.
  • Identify key networkers, mavens and salesmen.
  • Use informal contacts
  • Get to know the others
  • Work through existing networks.
  • Build coalitions.
  • Build new policy networks.

Pre-Conference Workshop
  • 12 researchers from the MENA region.
  • Framework helped
  • MENA is not unique similar issues relevant here
  • Challenges with Demand and Supply as well as
  • Strategic approach useful
  • Need to be better communicators engage more
    with policy makers.
  • High demand for training on communication /
    policy writing.

Whats next?
  • Detailed research on key issues.
  • Challenge of coherence
  • Collaborative approach
  • triangulation
  • political context map
  • Collaborative synthesis of lessons.
  • Practical tools and approaches.
  • Engagement and communication.
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