Research impact

The intended impact of RESYST was that health systems in low and lower-middle income countries become more responsive to the populations they serve, more resilient in the face of internal and external shocks and more protective of the poor and most vulnerable. 

Our theory of change mapped out the expected pathways of impact, focusing on how research can better contribute to strengthening health systems policy and practice. 

Assessing research impacts

We used a number of quantitative indicators to track research use including: citations in both research and policy documents, stakeholder engagements and feedback from policymakers. 

We also carried out in-depth case-studies to assess the contribution of specific research projects to policy change, which involved interviewing researchers and key stakeholders to better understand how research was used. Through this work, and the experience of researchers, we have identified several facilitators to impact.

Facilitators to impact

  • Research is policy-driven
    Research that is conceived in response to explicit requests from policymakers is more likely to be operationally relevant and to contribute to change.
  • Involvement of policymakers in the research 
    Active collaboration and participation can help to ensure that policymakers are familiar with the research and have a vested interest in the outcomes.
  • Researcher engagement in policy processes
    Working formally or informally as technical advisors or participating in policy committees, provides a direct opportunity for researchers to influence discussions and inform policy-makers.

  • Strong and enduring partnerships between researchers and policymakers
    Relationships between researchers and policymakers are crucial in facilitating research impact. These relationships are often developed over a long period of time and transcend formal engagements.