Social Media

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Research Use Capacity in Provincial Governments

Creso Sa
Daniel Hamlin

Three things to know about research use capacity in provincial ministries:

1. For decades, researchers have indicated that the use of high-quality research has the potential to enhance the effectiveness of public policy.   Yet, research use has remained stubbornly minimal at provincial levels of government where many of Canada’s most critical policies on healthcare, education, and economics are formulated. Understanding the factors that bolster provincial capacity to use research in the policy process is important for increasing research use.

2. Although research use capacity in provincial ministries appears to be generally low, some ministries have undertaken initiatives to enhance capacity in recent years by developing research use coordination strategies, including forming research steering committees, creating researcher in residence positions, and implementing ministry-wide training programs.

3. Other important capacity building efforts include appointing civil servants with research expertise to leadership positions as well as developing working relationships with academic researchers at local universities.

Three myths about research use capacity in provincial ministries:

Myth #1: Governments don’t care about research.

The Reality: Civil servants across provincial ministries share a general interest in using research to inform decision-making. However, civil servants are often uncertain how to apply research findings to their specific contexts.  

Myth #2: Vast resources are needed for governments to invest in research capacity

The Reality: Larger provinces may have greater financial resources. However, smaller provinces without large operating budgets may be tighter knit communities and able to develop relationships with local researchers for accessing and generating locally relevant research.

Myth #3: Governments don’t care about the views of academics

The Reality: Governments need to act with available information, and their decisions reflect a number of factors beyond what is known about the problem. Moreover, civil servants may not have well-developed channels for gaining access to scholars. However, deliberate initiatives aimed at developing on-going relationships appear useful for creating enduring partnerships with scholars.  

Further Reading:

Sá, C. & Hamlin, D. (2015). Research use capacity in provincial governments. Canadian Public Administration, 58(3), 1-20.

No comments:

Post a Comment