Supporting the use of research evidence in policy and practice

Research that influences policy and practice has the potential to transform people’s health around the world. We are working to make sure this happens more often and more rapidly.

Our position

Integrating research findings into policies and practice for health has huge benefits:

  • it improves people’s health
  • it maximises investment in research through increased impact 
  • and, in the longer term, means research is more likely to be in response to local needs and priorities.

Research uptake includes all the activities that help and contribute to the use of research evidence. The uptake may be by policy makers, organisations implementing heathcare interventions, healthcare practitioners or the public. 

The path from research to policy and practice is rarely straightforward. Successful research uptake takes time and requires mutual understanding and shared motivations among everyone involved. It also needs financial resources, which are often scarce, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

Our vision is of a global environment that is fair and sustainable and enables people to work together to speed up the impact of research on health. 

We are working towards this by:

  • identifying the support necessary for research uptake, particularly in low- and middle- income countries, and then embedding this support into the way we fund 
  • partnering with other funders, expert networks, research and policy communities to support a culture of research evidence use in low- and middle-income countries 
  • supporting researchers and policymakers to work more closely together to agree research objectives in response to local and regional health priorities. 

What we're doing

Policy engagement workshops

Embedding a culture of research use into policy and practice is a complex, long-term endeavour. Policy engagement is less effective, and less sustainable, if left to individuals. It has a greater chance of success if it is underpinned by networks that share knowledge, skills and support.

We have been working with partners and staff at our Africa and Asia Programmes to provide a platform for knowledge exchange between people and organisations with diverse experience. 

Our inaugural policy engagement gathering was held in London in June 2018. You can read about it in the  Networks for Policy Engagement report [PDF 520KB].

Building on that momentum, in February 2019 we co-hosted a meeting with the Malawi-Liverpool Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme and the African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP). 

Interviews with participants at the Networks for Policy Engagement meeting, which was co-hosted by Wellcome, the Malawi-Liverpool Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme and the African Institute for Development Policy, in Lilongwe, February 2019.

Policy engagement pilot awards 

We have made four awards to support systemic approaches to the use of research in policy and practice. 

These 18-month pilots, based at our Africa and Asia Programmes, each take a different approach to enhancing policy engagement and evidence-informed decision-making . 

The pilots will help us understand what kinds of activities and support are most effective for creating the system-wide changes we want to see. 

Stories of change

We commissioned the Overseas Development Institute to profile examples of how researchers are engaging and influencing policy in three of Wellcome’s overseas research programmes. 

Related links