Why funding research is not enough

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‘Don’t just tell me what to do, come and help me do it!’ said an Indian government official to a researcher bearing results from studies into effective aid programmes. His response is salutary: there is much work now on increasing the use of evidence in public policy, so we need to understand what policymakers actually need and want, and what will help them be more evidence-driven. For foundations there is a clear message: it isn’t enough just to fund research. You have to make sure it reaches the relevant policymakers and in a form that is useful to them. Over ten years, Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) has run more than 350 studies in 51 countries to find what works in alleviating poverty. We have had some success in influencing policies of governments, NGOs, foundations and others. Here’s what we have found.

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