The Think Tank Initiative (TTI) will be bringing together 40 representatives from research funding organizations, policy research institutions, and institutional capacity building programs from around the world to discuss effective ways of supporting local change processes in low- and middle-income countries, within the context of a changing global funding environment.

In recent years, many research funders have contributed towards social and economic change through investments that support local knowledge systems and the strengthening of local research capacities, research uptake in policy and practice, and/or the strengthening of evidence to policy processes at the national and regional level. However, a visible shift in funding priorities is now taking place, as a result of some funders having to respond to financial pressures, changes in domestic policies that seek to re-prioritize national interest, and a focus on private sector-led growth. These changes often result in reduced budgets for overseas development assistance.

Meanwhile, lessons learned from programs such as TTI demonstrate that policy research institutions are effective local enablers of change who are well-equipped to work with funders in contributing to development outcomes. This is true given their ability to influence and shape national policy priorities, convene stakeholders around public debate, support sustainable implementation measures, provide independent analysis and evaluation, and engage in policy dialogue from sub-national through to regional and even global levels.

In this “Evidence to Policy Dialogue” – taking place on April 3-4, 2017 in London, UK – participants will reflect on the value and importance of providing longer-term, flexible forms of support to policy research institutions, as key local actors in evidence to policy processes. Ultimately, the dialogue seeks to generate innovative ideas on how research funders and policy research institutions can better work together to achieve positive, lasting change.

To read about key points from the discussions, be sure to follow TTI on twitter (@TTI_ITT) and check the hashtag #E2PD.