IFS operates at the interface of science and sustainable development. We contribute to, and are supported by, science academies and development organisations. Science holds the potential to transform the contemporary global challenge and it can provide the evidence for policy change and the basis for international development impact.
Recognising that research products are just a starting point in the broader process of putting research into use and enabling innovation, there are two key challenges to be addressed in this context over the course of the ten-year strategy. The first is to begin to build capabilities and competencies at an early stage in science careers that help to put research into use in developing countries. A key capability requirement for researchers in this context is the understanding of the political and incentive context for the uptake of research by entrepreneurs, industry, and medicine, and in policy and decision-making. Within the ten-year strategy IFS aims to introduce courses on Understanding of the Political and Incentive Context for Science Use to better prepare researchers for engaging with others to put research into use.
Related to this, on a very practical level is capability in Science Communication for Impact, through support in science writing as well as media development (drama, film, mobile phone and internet, web 2.0 applications) to influence policy and practice.
However, to put research into use often requires a champion who is able to navigate complex business, political and institutional landscapes, building networks of practitioners and policy actors willing to advocate and promote the approach – and this is unlikely to be the originator of the research. Therefore the second challenge is that of building links and brokering networks and alliances that support demand for and use of research. This will include working with partners towards establishing more supportive policy and institutional environments that can create effective demand for appropriate research products, and building links to society at large, and the business community, including through networks, science fairs and conferences.