Research to Policy Collaboration
Bringing Together Prevention Scientists, Practitioners and Public Officials to Support Evidence-Based Prevention Policy
OBJECTIVE: Develop an effective and replicable strategy that initiates and develops productive relationships between prevention researchers, practitioners (i.e., professionals with applied research and evaluation expertise), and federal officials. This includes developing a strategic plan for future collaboration involving the use of evidence-based (EB) prevention practices into public policies.
One of the greatest needs noted in the translational literature is for improved access to and availability of research-based information through the strategic communication of scientific findings into usable products for policymakers and practitioners (Oliver et al., 2014; Wandersman et al., 2008). Greater access to research-based information has the potential to increase policymakers’ awareness about the utility of evidence-based prevention for achieving budgetary, public health, education, and workforce goals. However, the transfer of that information is not carried out in a social vacuum; interpersonal trust and relationships guide policymakers’ inquiry, acquisition, and use of information for legislation. This process requires that policymakers rely on trusted colleagues and advisors to inform their decisions (Brownson et al., 2006; Oliver et al., 2014).
A lack of personal contact between researchers and policymakers has been noted by several studies as a prominent barrier to the use of research by policymakers (Choi et al., 2005). Collaboration between researchers and policymakers that identifies policymakers’ most pressing needs (e.g., research synthesis) and jointly develops policy recommendations facilitates the use of research in policy (Brownson et al., 2006; Choi et al., 2005; Oliver et al., 2014). Scientists who convey information regarding timely, relevant, and unbiased research with policymakers are able to act as knowledge brokers. This strategy is particularly effective for bridging research and policy because researchers and policymakers can develop trusting relationships, which increases the likelihood that research-based information is used (Oliver et al., 2014).
Step 1 – Building the NPSC’s internal capacity to rapidly respond to the real-time needs of government officials’ offices by organizing a network of researchers with expertise related to crime prevention and juvenile justice.
Federal Policy Issue Identification – initial interviews with government offices will identify the expertise needed to develop a Rapid Response Network, comprised of NPSC members who may be selected for collaboration.
Rapid Response Network – a broad network of members with expertise related to crime prevention will be identified via membership registration forms. These individuals will be invited to participate in trainings in preparation for potential involvement in a Hill Day event.
Step 2 – Identify real-time needs of government offices and develop a Rapid Response Team (RRT) who will travel to Washington D.C. for meetings on April 18, 2016 to collaborate with government offices to develop a strategic plan for addressing government officials’ needs for prevention science expertise.
Rapid Response Needs Assessment – Interviews with government offices in March 2016 will delineate real-time needs for prevention science expertise.
Rapid Response Team (RRT) Event – 7 to 10 selected Rapid Response Network participants will comprise two RRTs and will meet with collaborating government offices in April 2016 to develop a strategic plan (detailing objectives, strategies, and next steps) for addressing identified needs of government offices.
Informal Social Gatherings – Strong relationships, trust, and commitment are essential for successful collaboration. These gatherings provide opportunities for camaraderie between the RRT and government offices.
Commencement event: the afternoon of the day prior to the RRT meetings
Reception: the evening following the RRT meetings
Step 3 – Carry out the strategic plan via working relationships between the RRT and government staff. This is expected to facilitate legislative change and enhance recognition of the NPSC as a trusted, “go-to” resource.
Follow-up and Technical Assistance – The RPC Project Coordinator will follow up with researchers and government officials regarding the progress being made on actions proposed in the strategic planning process for at least 3 months (approximately August 2016).
April 18, 2016
The team is working dilligently to identify how NPSC members can support the work of Congressional offices. If you are interested in learning more contact Taylor Bishop-Scott with any questions.