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Supporting impact across a multi-dimensional research programme


Written by Louise Shaxson


This chapter is featured among a collection of articles in the book The social realities of knowledge for development, which illustrates the varied and complex pathways through which research, knowledge or evidence may (or may not) be taken up by policymakers and practitioners.

The chapter showcases the Evidence and Policy Group of the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) - Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Growth Research Programme. The programme helps academic researchers improve the impact of their work on policy and practice; influencing their understanding of how impact happens and providing opportunities for them to engage with policymakers and practitioners.

The chapter outlines the implications for how a facilitating organisation such as the Evidence and Policy Group can act most effectively. The key is ‘strategic opportunism’: the group works by setting a general direction rather than specific objectives and responding to opportunities for impact as they arise. This means a flexible approach to planning and budgeting that encourages innovation and building relationships to create opportunities. 

Louise Shaxson