International development is characterised by a concern for praxis, the union of theory and practice. But bridging research and policy is harder than it looks. What factors affect the influence research has on policy and practice in international development? How can we bridge research and policy more effectively for poverty reduction? This special issue of the Journal of International Development presents the main papers and conclusions from the blockbuster 2004 Development Studies Association conference on Bridging Research and Policy in International Development. Edited by Simon Maxwell and Julius Court, it features keynote papers by: Naresh Saxena (Former Secretary, Planning Commission, Government of India); Matthew Taylor (Head of Policy Planning in the Prime Minister's team in Downing Street and former Director of the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR)); Maureen O'Neil (President of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC)); Masood Ahmed (Director General of the UK Department for International Development (DFID)). The special issue also includes four research-policy case studies from experienced researchers - focusing on African Politics; Poverty Reduction; Primary Education; Aid and Finance.