Bridging the gap between science and policy: an international survey of scientists and policy makers in China and Canada

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Title: Bridging the gap between science and policy: an international survey of scientists and policy makers in China and Canada
Authors: Choi, Bernard C K
Li, Liping
Lu, Yaogui
Zhang, Li R
Zhu, Yao
Pak, Anita W P
Chen, Yue
Little, Julian
Date: 2016-02-06
Abstract: Abstract Background Bridging the gap between science and policy is an important task in evidence-informed policy making. The objective of this study is to prioritize ways to bridge the gap. Methods The study was based on an online survey of high-ranking scientists and policy makers who have a senior position in universities and governments in the health sector in China and Canada. The sampling frame comprised of universities with schools of public health and medicine and various levels of government in health and public health. Participants included university presidents and professors, and government deputy ministers, directors general and directors working in the health field. Fourteen strategies were presented to the participants for ranking as current ways and ideal ways in the future to bridge the gap between science and policy. Results Over a 3-month survey period, there were 121 participants in China and 86 in Canada with response rates of 30.0 and 15.9 %, respectively. The top strategies selected by respondents included focus on policy (conducting research that focuses on policy questions), science-policy forums, and policy briefs, both as current ways and ideal ways to bridge the gap between science and policy. Conferences were considered a priority strategy as a current way, but not an ideal way in the future. Canadian participants were more in favor of using information technology (web-based portals and email updates) than their Chinese counterparts. Among Canadian participants, two strategies that were ranked low as current ways (collaboration in study design and collaboration in analysis) became a priority as ideal ways. This could signal a change in thinking in shifting the focus from the “back end” or “downstream” (knowledge dissemination) of the knowledge transfer process to the “front end” or “upstream” (knowledge generation). Conclusions Our international study has confirmed a number of previously reported priority strategies to bridge the gap between science and policy. More importantly, our study has contributed to the future work on evidence-based policy making by comparing the responses from China and Canada and the current and ideal way for the future. Our study shows that the concept and strategies of bridging the gap between science and policy are not static but varying in space and evolving over time.
URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13012-016-0377-7
http://hdl.handle.net/10393/34691
CollectionLibre accès - Publications // Open Access - Publications
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