This section outlines the Impact Initiative’s approach and learning on strengthening relationships and networks across an epistemic community of researchers funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) (formerly Department for International Development – DFID). A key element of the Impact Initiative’s strategy to maximise the impact of a diverse portfolio of research was to act as a broker to create connections and build networks between researchers and with policy audiences. Social network analysis (SNA) was used throughout the programme to monitor and generate evidence of how Impact Initiative activities strengthened connections and networks and to reflect and learn about our different strategies to broker research evidence. This section is structured around a series of different examples of how SNA was applied to explore this concept of brokerage to share our learning on:
- Identifying synergies and connecting bodies of knowledge by building relationships across research communities
- Facilitating spaces that promote engagement between researchers and policy audiences and creating opportunities to discuss and interact around evidence findings
- Supporting repeat engagement and furthering our understanding of the concept of sustained interactivity as a key element of effective research–policy partnerships.