Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Using knowledge brokering to promote evidence-based policy making: the need for support structures

Jessika van Kammen, Don de Savigny, and Nelson K Sewankambo

ABSTRACT

Knowledge brokering is a promising strategy to close the “know–do gap” and foster greater use of research findings and evidence in policy-making. It focuses on organizing the interactive process between the producers and users of knowledge so that they can co-produce feasible and research-informed policy options. We describe a recent successful experience with this novel approach in the Netherlands and discuss the requirements for effective institutionalization of knowledge brokering. We also discuss the potential of this approach to assist health policy development in low-income countries based on the experience of developing the Regional East-African Health (REACH)-Policy Initiative. We believe that intermediary organizations, such as regional networks, dedicated institutional mechanisms and funding agencies, can play key roles in supporting knowledge brokering. We recommend the need to support and learn from the brokerage approach to strengthen the relationship between the research and policy communities and hence move towards a stronger culture of evidence-based policy and policy-relevant research.

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