Funding agencies in low- and middle-income countries: support for knowledge translation
Cynthia Cordero, Rachel Delino, L Jeyaseelan, Mary Ann Lansang, Juan M Lozano, Shuba Kumar, Socorro Moreno, Merle Pietersen, Jose Quirino, Visanu Thamlikitkul, Vivian A Welch, Jacqueline Tetroe, Aleida ter Kuile, Ian D Graham, Jeremy Grimshaw, Vic Neufeld, George Wells, Peter Tugwell
The aim was to describe how selected health research funding agencies active in low- and middle-income countries promote the translation of their funded research into policy and practice.
We conducted inductive analysis of semi-structured interviews with key informants from a purposive sample of 23 national and international funding agencies that fund health research in Brazil, Colombia, India, the Philippines, South Africa and Thailand. We also surveyed web sites.
We found a commitment to knowledge translation in the mandate of 18 of 23 agencies. However, there was a lack of common terminology. Most of the activities were traditional efforts to disseminate to a broad audience, for example using web sites and publications. In addition, more than half (13 of 23) of the agencies encouraged linkage/exchange between researchers and potential users, and 6 of 23 agencies described “pull” activities to generate interest in research from decision-makers. One-third (9 of 23) of funding agencies described a mandate to enhance health equity through improving knowledge translation. Only 3 of 23 agencies were able to describe evaluation of knowledge translation activities. Furthermore, we found national funding agencies made greater knowledge translation efforts when compared to international agencies.
Funding agencies are engaged in a wide range of creative knowledge translation activities. They might consider their role as knowledge brokers, with an ability to promote research syntheses and a focus on health equity. There is an urgent need to evaluate the knowledge translation activities of funding agencies.