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Review of research communication in DFID-funded Research Programme Consortia (RPC)

Research reports

Written by John Young

Research reports

One of DFID’s models for competitively funded research programmes is the Research Programme Consortium (RPC). There are currently 30 DFID-funded RPC, which are listed in Annex 3. The RPC produce research relevant to policy questions within international development. Each consortium is made up of a lead institution (usually a UK university or research institute) and a number of Southern research partner institutions and is typically funded for a period of five years (though a handful are continuations of previously funded Development Research Centres, DRCs). DFID has introduced a policy of 10% minimum spend on communication activities within RPC, and require each one to produce a strategy to show how research would be put into use. DFID provides a series of support mechanisms to enable RPC to integrate more effective communication into their work, including producing guidelines, providing feedback on Communication Strategies, and hosting annual research communication workshops for communications and research staff.

This document presents the findings of a review to assess the effectiveness of the policy. It captures the achievements and challenges of implementing the policy, paying particular attention to RPC communication activities and their attempts and strategies for getting research taken up in policy and practice. It also examines capacity building activities and approaches to monitoring and evaluation for influencing policy and practice. The aim is to provide recommendations for improvements and outline a framework for improved monitoring and evaluation.

Ingie Hovland, John Young, Enrique Mendizabal and Jeff Knezovich