Supporting evidence-informed policy and scrutiny: A consultation of UK research professionals

Lindsay A. Walker, Natalia S. Lawrence, Chris D. Chambers, Marsha Wood, Julie Barnett, Hannah Durrant, Lindsey Pike, Gerard O’Grady, Sven Bestmann, Andrew P. Kythreotis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (SciVal)


Access to reliable and timely information ensures that decision-makers can operate effectively. The motivations and challenges of parliamentarians and policy-makers in accessing evidence have been well documented in the policy literature. However, there has been little focus on research-providers. Understanding both the demand- and the supply-side of research engagement is imperative to enhancing impactful interactions. Here, we examine the broader experiences, motivations and challenges of UK-based research professionals engaging with research-users relevant to policy-making and scrutiny in the UK using a nationwide online questionnaire. The context of the survey partly involved contributing to the UK Evidence Information Service (EIS), a proposed rapid match-making service to facilitate interaction between parliamentary arenas that use evidence and research-providers. Our findings reveal, at least for this sub-sample who responded, that there are gender-related differences in policy-related experience, motivations, incentives and challenges for research professionals to contribute to evidence-informed decision-making through initiatives such as the EIS. Male and female participants were equally likely to have policy experience; however, males reported both significantly broader engagement with the research-users included in the survey and significantly higher levels of engagement with each research-user. Reported incentives for engagement included understanding what the evidence will be used for, guidance on style and content of contribution, and acknowledgement of contributions by the policymaker or elected official. Female participants were significantly more likely to select the guidance-related options. The main reported barrier was workload. We discuss how academia-policy engagement initiatives can best address these issues in ways that enhance the integration of research evidence with policy and practice across the UK.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0214136
Pages (from-to)e0214136
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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