Follow up to the workshop “Towards a Caribbean Open Institute: Data, Communications and Impact”

Before the year ends I want to let you know what we have been doing and thinking about as follow-up to the discussions we had on Communicating Research for Policy Influence during last July’s workshop “Towards a Caribbean Open Institute: Data, Communications and Impact”.

During our discussions we identified a number of challenges faced by Caribbean research organisations seeking to support evidence-based policy making. Among these were:

  • policymaking processes and contexts are complex and researchers do not always understand them or know how to influence them;
  • researchers and research organisations do not always have ongoing contact with policy makers and other key stakeholders. This limits their ability to have their research taken into consideration or to exploit unexpected opportunities to influence policy;
  • research organisations often lack expertise in packaging research outcomes in suitable ways for different audiences such as policy makers and the media;
  • many research organisations lack expertise in using new online tools that allow displaying complex research data in attractive ways that are readily understood and shared by non-academics.

Fundación Comunica is currently working on these issues as part of our project Impact 2.0: Collaborative technologies connecting research and policy which is looking at how social networks and Web 2.0 technologies and practices can be leveraged to support the communication efforts of researchers. Impact 2.0 includes pilot projects in Ecuador, Peru and Uruguay and support for nine independent studies of specific instances in which communication technologies are being used to support evidence-based policy initiatives.

While the final results of the Impact 2.0 research won’t be available until the project is over at the end of 2011, we already have some interesting materials and insights to share. For example, working with the Association for Progressive Communication (APC – www.apc.org) we have produced two guides – one helps researchers analyse and understand the policy context and the other looks at how the internet and web 2.0 tools can be used to support your communication and networking efforts. We are publishing a beta version of these guides on a wiki later this month and will let you know when and where you can find them. These and other materials will be accessible from this website.

We are also planning some capacity building activities. The first of these will be a regional workshop on communicating research for policy influence to be held in February. We’ll send more details soon but at the moment we are planning to respond to the interests articulated in last July’s workshop by including three main themes – analysing the policy context, using Web 2.0 to develop relations with policy stakeholders, and communicating data. Karel Novotny, who works with APC’s strategic technologies programme is helping us with the workshop along with Jan Voordouw of Panos Caribbean. In a few days we will announce the name of a data visualisation expert who will also help with the workshop.

IDRC is supporting a “Caribbean Open Forum” – an online space to continue the dialogue started in Jamaica. The Forum will be available in early January. If you or someone else from your institution is interested in participating, please send your/their email address to Sofia Casanova and she’ll make sure it is included. We’ll report back to the main list periodically to let everyone know how things are progressing.

All the best.

Bruce

Dear all,

I hope things are going well for everyone as you get ready to wind down the old year and start a new one.

Before the year ends I want to let you know what we have been doing and thinking about as follow-up to the discussions we had on Communicating Research for Policy Influence during last July’s workshop “Towards a Caribbean Open Institute: Data, Communications and Impact”.

During our discussions we identified a number of challenges faced by Caribbean research organisations seeking to support evidence-based policy making. Among these were:

  • policymaking processes and contexts are complex and researchers do not always understand them or know how to influence them;

  • researchers and research organisations do not always have ongoing contact with policy makers and other key stakeholders. This limits their ability to have their research taken into consideration or to exploit unexpected opportunities to influence policy;

  • research organisations often lack expertise in packaging research outcomes in suitable ways for different audiences such as policy makers and the media;

  • many research organisations lack expertise in using new online tools that allow displaying complex research data in attractive ways that are readily understood and shared by non-academics.

Fundación Comunica is currently working on these issues as part of our project Impact 2.0: Collaborative technologies connecting research and policy which is looking at how social networks and Web 2.0 technologies and practices can be leveraged to support the communication efforts of researchers. Impact 2.0 includes pilot projects in Ecuador, Peru and Uruguay and support for nine independent studies of specific instances in which communication technologies are being used to support evidence-based policy initiatives.

While the final results of the Impact 2.0 research won’t be available until the project is over at the end of 2011, we already have some interesting materials and insights to share. For example, working with the Association for Progressive Communication (APC – www.apc.org) we have produced two guides – one helps researchers analyse and understand the policy context and the other looks at how the internet and web 2.0 tools can be used to support your communication and networking efforts. We are publishing a beta version of these guides on a wiki later this month and will let you know when and where you can find them. These and other materials will be accessible from the website http://impact2point0.comunica.org.

We are also planning some capacity building activities. The first of these will be a regional workshop on communicating research for policy influence to be held in February. We’ll send more details soon but at the moment we are planning to respond to the interests articulated in last July’s workshop by including three main themes – analysing the policy context, using Web 2.0 to develop relations with policy stakeholders, and communicating data. Karel Novotny, who works with APC’s strategic technologies programme is helping us with the workshop along with Jan Voordouw of Panos Caribbean. In a few days we will announce the name of a data visualisation expert who will also help with the workshop.

IDRC is supporting a “Caribbean Open Forum” – an online space to continue the dialogue started in Jamaica. The Forum will be available in early January. If you or someone else from your institution is interested in participating, please send your/their email address to Sofia Casanova <[email protected]> and she’ll make sure it is included. We’ll report back to the main list periodically to let everyone know how things are progressing.

All the best.

Bruce

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