Engagement of health research institutions in knowledge translation in the Eastern Mediterranean Region
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Background: Health research institutions in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) can play an integral role in promoting and supporting Knowledge Translation (KT). Assessing institutions' engagement in KT and bridging the "research- policy" gap is important in designing context-specific strategies to promote KT and informing funding efforts in the region. Aims: The objective of this study was to explore the engagement of EMR institutions in KT activities. Methods: A cross-sectional survey of institutions undertaking health research in the 22 EMR countries was undertaken. The survey covered institutional characteristics, institutional planning for research, national planning for health research, and knowledge management, translation and dissemination. Results: 575 institutions were contacted of which 223 (38.3%) responded. Half the sampled institutions reported conducting priority-setting exercises, with 60.2% not following a standardized approach. Less than half institutions reported frequently/ always (40.5%) involving policymakers and stakeholders in setting priorities for research on health. Only 26.5% of respondent institutions reported that they examine the extent to which health policymakers utilize their research results. Moreover, only 23.3% reported measuring the impact of their health research. Conclusions: There is still misalignment between national health research priorities and actual research production, and KT activities are still rarely undertaken by institutions in the EMR. National governments and international funding agencies are called to support research production and translation in the EMR. Institutions and researchers are also called to produce policy-relevant research and be responsive to the needs and priorities of policy-makers.
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