Research Uptake

Research uptake includes all the activities that facilitate and contribute to the use of research evidence by policy-makers, practitioners and other development actors.

Research funded by NWO-WOTRO serves specific developmental goals, for which call specific objectives, requirements and conditions are formulated. Further to call specificities, applicants are requested to draw up a knowledge sharing and research uptake strategy. Such a strategy concerns the planning of activities that enhance the use of research for social and practical innovation in policy and practice. As innovation in private, civil society and governmental sectors is basically a continuous and iterative process, the strategy for research uptake needs to be flexible and adaptable.

Research uptake activities aim to:

  • support the supply of research to users by ensuring research questions are relevant through engagement with these users, communicating research effectively and synthesising and repackaging research for different audiences;
  • support the usage of research by strengthening commitment and capacity of research users to access, evaluate, synthesise and use research evidence;
  • learn and use feedback for revising the uptake strategy and research design.

Research users may include members of local communities, civil society and private, public or practice sectors, as well as intermediary organisations such as the knowledge platforms. They are willing to benefit from the research results, have the incentives and skills to use and apply research findings, serve as broker for outscaling and upscaling of research and have the ability to provide for feedback.

Research uptake strategy

Applicants are asked to elaborate strategies to share knowledge and enhance uptake of research by integrating four complementary and interrelated sets of activities:

  • Context analysis and stakeholder engagement: early engagement and investing in building relationships with relevant stakeholders
  • Knowledge sharing and communication: knowledge sharing and communication are central to enhancing the availability, relevance and accessibility of research
  • Assessing and strengthening research uptake capacities: this concerns both internal capacities (consortium/team) as well as the capacities of stakeholders
  • Monitoring, learning & evaluation: project teams are expected to integrate research uptake objectives and expected results as outcomes and outputs in the Impact Pathways (and Theory of Change)

Context analysis and stakeholder engagement

Early engagement and investing in building relationships with relevant stakeholders before, during and after the lifetime of the project is key to enhance the usage of research and thus the potential impact of a project. The process starts with mapping out the context, policy processes and identification of key stakeholders. The mapping should be followed by (further) seeking alignment to stakeholder demands, mutually agreement on engagement strategies and jointly (re)defining desired social change processes.

Knowledge sharing and communication

Knowledge sharing and communication are central to enhancing the availability, relevance and accessibility of research. Research communication is based upon high quality research and it is a two-sided process. It asks to understand your audience, prioritise and target messages and use appropriate means for communication and learn and use feedback for adapting the research design and uptake strategies.

Assessing and strengthening research uptake capacities

This concerns both internal capacities (consortium/team) as well as the capacities of stakeholders. Internal capacity for research uptake includes the knowledge, skills, time and attitudes needed to access, use, create, translate and communicate research information. External capacity for research uptake includes the knowledge, skills, time and attitudes needed to understand and use research information.

Monitoring, learning and evaluation

Project teams are expected to integrate research uptake objectives and expected results as outcomes and outputs in the Impact Pathways (and Theory of Change), and to revisit and revise these according to early research results and emerging insights, shifts in knowledge needs and lessons learned from uptake activities. Impact Pathways and RU strategies are thus dynamic and are to be used as a tool for monitoring and learning. Data gathering on indicators for uptake and impact of research is important and should be included to properly monitor output and outcome targets.

NWO-WOTRO guidelines


Tools


Documentation