Accessing, sharing and using development research information: The role of intermediaries

1. Accessing, sharing and using development research information: The role of intermediaries Fruit for thought from IDS Catherine Fisher Euforic AGM: June 2007…
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  • 1. Accessing, sharing and using development research information: The role of intermediaries Fruit for thought from IDS Catherine Fisher Euforic AGM: June 2007
  • 2. Institute of Development Studies: a 3 legged stool <ul><li>Research </li></ul><ul><li>Teaching </li></ul><ul><li>Information </li></ul>
  • 3. 60+ staff, 1/3 IDS income, 180,000 visitors/mo A whole family of knowledge services to help development research and knowledge reach those who can use it to reduce poverty and injustice.
  • 4. Let’s talk about fruit
  • 5. How does the fruit get to the happy consumer? Supply chain made up of multiple: actors (producer, picker, packer, driver, middle men, shop worker) transport methods (trucks, boats etc) , distribution channels (wholesaler, supermarkets etc)
  • 6. But what if there isn’t a demand for fruit? Different roles eg: Providing home delivery of fruit Creating more interesting formats for fruit (juices, pies) Creating a fruit eating culture!
  • 7. Why talk about fruit? Fruit is an analogy for research findings Its not a perfect analogy but helps to think about the different actors in the supply chain between research producers and ultimate intended research consumers – often people making decisions on development policy and practice
  • 8. In some cases research findings go directly to the intended consumer Lots of reasons eg: Consumer not interested in that research and/or at the time Research producers not always effective communicators Research producer doesn’t have right connections But often they don’t – why?
  • 9. Roles for I&K intermediaries in this chain – adding value <ul><li>Leveraging access to research </li></ul><ul><li>Collecting research - acting as a repository </li></ul><ul><li>Organising research </li></ul><ul><li>Summarising, synthesising </li></ul><ul><li>Raising or advocating issues </li></ul><ul><li>Active communication with key audiences </li></ul> Like in the fruit supply chain, there are a wide range of intermediaries playing different roles and connecting with other actors
  • 10. Attendees at recent K&I intermediaries workshop <ul><li>The fruit idea was discussed at a recent meeting of 10 people from 10 organisations who play an intermediary role who met with IDS people in Brighton in May 07. They were (service in bold ): </li></ul><ul><li>Economic and Social Research Foundation, Tanzania - Tanzania Online </li></ul><ul><li>Philippines Institute of Development Studies - Social and Economic Research Papers – Philippines (SERP-P) </li></ul><ul><li>D-Net Bangladesh - Bangladesh Development Research Network </li></ul><ul><li>African Institute for Capacity Development, Kenya Poverty Alleviation Information Knowledge System (PAIKS) </li></ul><ul><li>Healthlink International, UK - Source </li></ul><ul><li>Global Development Network, International - GDNet </li></ul><ul><li>UNESCO, International - HIV and Education Clearing House </li></ul><ul><li>Euforic – you’ve heard of that! </li></ul><ul><li>Human Sciences Research Council, South Africa Service forthcoming </li></ul><ul><li>Centre for Science and Environment, India - Service forthcoming </li></ul>
  • 11. From this the I-K-Mediary Working Group was born <ul><li>The I-K-Mediaries Working Group is an emerging group of development actors who involved in providing information and knowledge services. </li></ul><ul><li>Broadly these services share a common purpose: to improve the usage of information – in particular research findings - by people making decisions about development policy and or practice </li></ul>“ I was struck by how similar our purposes were, and how different our approaches”
  • 12. Our hunches <ul><li>“ Intermediaries” are development actors too – their decisions are political </li></ul><ul><li>There are significant differences between these actors and other actors in more acknowledged fields </li></ul><ul><li>There are more and more of this kind of intermediaries </li></ul><ul><li>“ Intermediaries” in this context are quite invisible – even to themselves </li></ul><ul><li>Greater understanding of and connections between these kinds of roles would have a positive development outcome </li></ul>
  • 13. General questions – things to chew on <ul><li>What differences between information and knowledge intermediaries? </li></ul><ul><li>Can intermediaries ever stimulate change? </li></ul><ul><li>What is an intermediary anyway? </li></ul><ul><li>Are you a research intermediary? Do you know one? </li></ul><ul><li>Is this a useful idea? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you share our belief that an intermediary role is important? </li></ul>
  • 14. Thanks for listening! <ul><li>Hope this has provided you with fruit for thought. </li></ul><ul><li>For further info on this emerging thinking (which isn’t all about fruit) and the I-K-Mediaries Working Group please contact me at [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>A report from the recent intermediaries workshop will soon be available. </li></ul>
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