Affecting Change Through Communications

Researchers and academics nominated for GDN Awards and Medals have been helped to promote their research to a wider audience through more effective communication at a two-day workshop.

The GDNet Research Communications to Policy workshop, run for two days prior to the start of the conference, was designed to develop and move research into policy. Attendants cultivated media-savvy skills through a series of exercises and workshops designed to promote research to a wider audience as a catalyst for changing policy.

Participants were taken through their presentations, wrote a press release and shown how to produce a policy brief. Nick Scott who facilitated the workshop said “The guys were quite pre-occupied because of their presentations but extremely focused at the same time” (See video at the top of the post).

Ganna Vakhitova from the Kyiv School of Economics said “The workshop encourages researchers to get out of their cabinet or room and help policy-makers inform their decisions by providing them with evidence.” She added “I’m personally very shy but now I feel I have a better understanding of how to frame and communicate my research.”

Ganna added “Be brave, stand up and say this is what I have found.” Overcoming the academic format is a big hurdle for many researchers but the skills learned in the workshop by identifying audience, planning effective communications through press releases , and honing presentation techniques is vital to inform policy-makers.

Gilberto Libânio from the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil will outline his project on the relationship between economic structures and the state economy at the conference. He said “The workshop gave us a systematic knowledge of presenting research. I will be more prepared to share the things I’m working on.”

On the GDN conference itself Gilberto said “It is an outstanding forum for discussion and there are very few forums on economic development. Diversity and the amount of people and the quality of work give visibility to the field.” Nick added “The conference seems like a useful place to bring a disparate community of researchers together. “It is a broad and decentralised group of people and this encourages a cohesive network.”

Gilberto said “Some of the topics can be looked at from different points of view this is very exciting because it stimulates the debate.”

One of the biggest challenges facing researchers is getting people to hear what they have to say. The ODI workshop has helped more than 20 researchers to begin to overcome this problem, and to make their research more visible.

See more stories from the GDN 2010 Conference, watch participants’ videos interviews, download conference presentations and papers

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