31 July 2017. This learning guide, commissioned by the Collaborative Adaptation Research Initiative in Africa and Asia (CARIAA), is designed to provide research teams with a bottom-up and experience based tool to better understand the effectiveness – and inefficiencies – of different approaches to Research-into-Use (RiU), the uptake of research which contributes to a change in policy or practice. The learning approach can also help to facilitate adaptive and reflexive approaches to RiU.
Although this guide was developed for CARIAA, it has been designed so that any research programme interested in improving its RiU practices can use it. It also includes a pocket guide for easy use in the field.
The expectation of actively promoting research uptake requires many researchers to move out of their comfort zones and incorporate new processes, approaches and communication mechanisms into and alongside their research. This change provides good opportunities for learning, specifically with regard to:
- What works and does not work in terms of promoting uptake of research amongst diverse stakeholders and across different geographical locations;
- How researchers from different disciplines backgrounds approach RiU differently across the consortia;
- How skills can be built in this arena – both for the CARIAA team members, and for targeted stakeholders, and lastly;
- How management of RiU can be made adaptive in order to incorporate lessons learned.
An emphasis on RiU offers not only an opportunity to learn, but also an opportunity for increased collaboration across consortia. Independent of research themes and locations, key aspects of RiU such as stakeholder engagement, communication, the development of strategic partnerships and capacity development (see Figure 1 above), can be tracked and leveraged in order to maximise the program’s effectiveness in engaging and influencing decision-makers and other stakeholders in support of program objectives. A coordinated approach to tracking and learning from RiU could also reveal opportunities to influence policy and practice collectively.