Fact sheet

The challenges of translating science and research into policy

02 Nov 2018
Description

Influencing policy must start with the understanding that opportunities to influence policy and make significant change occur infrequently and often unpredictably.
Organisations that do not have the ear of government or the popular backing or resources to obtain it must accept the vagaries of the political agenda and their relatively slight influence over it. This means that developing a strategic mindset about influencing policy must start with the understanding that opportunities to influence policy and make significant change occur infrequently and often unpredictably. In the literature, the opportunities are most often termed policy windows.
Policy windows can be a challenge for research institutions because of the timing and agenda mismatch. Good research can take years to complete, and research programs follow an ordered and often time-heavy process to reach high quality outcomes, but even a decade worth of research is unlikely to open a policy window for its adoption. Even worse, research can reach fruition shortly after government has developed a major policy, which often puts the government in an awkward position and compels it to actively defend against or dismiss the new research.

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