Research Uptake in a Humanitarian Context: Insights on Designing and Implementing a Research Uptake Strategy

Dissemination, communication and uptake are concepts which seem to get used interchangeably, even though they are quite different. In fact, many actors use the word research ‘uptake’ to imply dissemination, communication or both; however, according to the DFID 2013 Research Uptake Guide, ‘uptake’ has much larger implications for how one plans to share project information and results, by way of continuous engagement with key stakeholders.

The principles and theories behind research uptake have been detailed; however the actual implementation of such a strategy, what it looks like on a daily basis and the myriad of practical considerations that are involved in designing the strategy are not as documented. There are several lessons and experiences that would be beneficial to learn from and share more widely from those who are currently working to implement research uptake. For this reason, the panel discussion on ‘Research Uptake in a Humanitarian Context: Insights on Designing and Implementing a Research Uptake Strategy’ was organised by the Research on Food Assistance for Nutritional Impact (REFANI) Consortium, a 3-year research project funded by DFID, with specific co-funding provided by ECHO for the explicit purpose amplifying research uptake.

Hosted by DFID on 2 February 2016 in London, United Kingdom, the discussion was intended to benefit those who work on research and research uptake, but also benefit DFID and other agencies like it; all those working to design and provide better humanitarian programming. Panellists included members from REFANI, Oxfam, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and DFID, who spoke to the core components of a research uptake strategy – stakeholder engagement, communications, capacity building, and monitoring and evaluation. By highlighting the challenges and opportunities they have faced when implementing a research uptake strategy in humanitarian contexts, the panellists provided productive methods and ideas to work around the key difficulties.

The report below summarises the presentations of the four speakers and the discussions stemming from questions from the audience.

Resource type:

Research summaries/systematic reviews


Action Against Hunger


Key words:

Humanitarian settings




Humanitarian and conflict-afflicted