When initiating the Research-to-Policy Collaboration, we began to recognize that there are limited opportunities for researchers to share their experiences and expertise with policymakers. We found that most researchers have little training on how to engage in public policy and few structured opportunities for policy engagement.
Ultimately, we envision the RPC approach as a structured opportunity for applying research in the policymaking context.
Our network of researchers plays a vital role in the cultivation of evidence-based research for use in government offices. As a member of our Rapid Response Network, you can expect to collaborate in a number of ways, all involving responses to current policy opportunities that are relevant to your expertise. Potential avenues for engagement include responding to requests for research in your area of specialization, attending trainings and webinars, and participating in consultative phone calls or in-person meetings with legislative staff.
Need for Researcher Involvement
Engagement and active communication between researchers and policymakers are helpful for a number of reasons:
Subject-matter expertise allows for very rich dialogue about the state of the evidence, and direct experiences enable the delivery of personally relevant narratives that resonate with decision makers more than data alone.
Adaptability to respond to policymakers' needs in real time. Collaborating with knowledgeable researchers reduces the learning curve because it is not feasible for a few staff to have depth knowledge about myriad policy issues.
Engagement of researchers who are not otherwise involved with policymakers has the potential to mobilize more connections between researchers and policymakers, which maximizes potential impact.
Capacity building activities seek to scaffold researchers’ policy competencies and autonomy such that enduring legislative relationships and policy engagement can continue independent from RPC involvement.
Benefits for Participation
Intrinsic Reward &
We recognize the need to connect research with decision makers for it to truly have value, even if institutions are not directly rewarding community engagement and research translation. Voluntarily contributing to activities that bridge the research to policy / practice divide is worth more than recognition - it is an essential value of this work that propels us forward.
RPC provides a platform for researchers to connect and exchange knowledge with one another, which can help researchers build their professional networks. There are also endless opportunities for networking, which might generate leads for future collaboration. For example:
Policy arena consultation via briefings, model legislation, or expert testimonial
Community consultation regarding the implementation of legislation and other change efforts
Research collaborations informed by mutual interests and needs identified in collaboration with Congressional offices
Many institutions are beginning to embrace policies that reward activities that transcend traditional academic endeavors, such as peer-reviewed publications. Participation in research translation activities that are responsive to the needs of decision-makers is a high level of community-engaged scholarship. Individuals who would like a letter of recommendation for their institution's records should contact Taylor Scott.
How to Get Involved
The primary mechanism for outreach to prospective rapid response members is through the information collected at registration. Make sure you complete this information. If you are concerned that you have not received the expected outreach regarding this opportunity or if you have further questions, please contact Taylor Scott.