Moving our research agenda forward

In the upcoming weeks we will start sharing some of the research currently being carried out as to develop our research agenda.  The objective of these documents is to build on two things: first, on our empirical understanding of the link between politics and ideas and second, our frameworks and models to capture the questions we have outlined in our research agenda.

Adolfo Garcé from Uruguay is preparing a document that sheds light on the models used to compare the settings where research and politics interact. Using the concept of knowledge regimes first introduced by John Campbell and Ove Pederson, Adolfo discusses three specific cases of policy change in Uruguay. Knowledge regimes are defined as the group of all those involved in the creation and dissemination of policy ideas in a given country. Campbell and Pederson believe that two dimensions are key to understanding the knowledge regimes of countries: how policies are developed and how the economy is run. These two dimensions, according to the authors determine key aspects of the knowledge regime. With the discussion of cases in Uruguay, Adolfo seeks to explore whether these dimensions are enough to capture the essence of the interactions between research and policy. With its systemic focus, this paper is linked to the politics topic in our agenda.

From Zambia,  Savior Mawambwa is exploring the capacities of political parties and CSOs to commission and use research in the process to inform policy reforms. In the last decade, Zambia has seen an increase in the number of civil society organizations that are part of the policy debate and discourses. By taking a wider look on the actors involved in the policymaking process, the research acknowledges the relevance of understanding the capacities of those who talk and influence policymakers as much as policymakers themselves. Savior’s document will help illuminate what are the key capacities that these actors require and how they develop and asses them. Through the case of Zambia he will make a contribution to our understanding of capacity development..

Along the same topic of capacity development, but from a different perspective, Vanesa Weyrauch extracts lessons from the joint work between CIPPEC and GDNet during  six years on the link between research and policy, including the virtual community of practice called Bridging research and Public Policies in Latin America – VIPPAL. We hope that her document will become a valuable resource for those who work on developing capacities of various stakestolders since it touches on the overarching issues of building networks and partnerships, ensuring a well-thought and mixed approach to develop capacities for those who demand it, designing relevant content, selecting active and committed participants and tutors and creating the right incentives. Vanesa is already sharing some of these lessons on this website, for example these ones on online training.


Finally, I am preparing a paper on the role of ideas, based on two cases from Ecuador. Along many countries in the developing world, it is going through dramatic changes in the way the government interacts with citizens, in how democracy is understood and the way policies are developed. These settings are different from more traditional contexts where changes are gradual and more organized. In these complex contexts, ideas evolve and mutate quickly, determining the way in which the problem is understood and the solution that is prioritized. By looking at the way in which new ideas emerge, are adopted and implemented, this paper seeks to strengthen our understanding of how policymaking takes place in practice and therefore improve our understanding of the link between research and policy beyond the evidence-based policy paradigm.

In the following weeks the authors will share insights based on their work. At the same time, we will keep reviewing and updating our research agenda with resources and discussions on its key issues.