Providing valid evidence to policy-makers is a key factor in the development of evidence-informed policy-making (EIPM). This study aims to review interventions used to promote researchers’ and knowledge-producing organizations’ knowledge and skills in the production and translation of evidence to policy-making and explore the interventions at the individual and institutional level in the Iranian health system to strengthen EIPM.
The study was conducted in two main phases: a systematic review and a qualitative study. First, to conduct the systematic review, the PubMed and Scopus databases were searched. Quality appraisal was done using the Joanna Briggs Institute checklists. Second, semi-structured interviews and document review were used to collect local data. Purposive sampling was used and continued until data saturation. A qualitative content analysis approach was used for data analysis.
From a total of 11,514 retrieved articles, 18 papers were eligible for the analysis. Based on the global evidence, face-to-face training workshops for researchers was the most widely used intervention for strengthening researchers’ capacity regarding EIPM. Target audiences in almost all of the training programmes were researchers. Setting up joint training sessions that helped empower researchers in understanding the needs of health policy-makers had a considerable effect on strengthening EIPM. Based on the local collected evidence, the main interventions for individual and institutional capacity-building were educational and training programmes or courses related to the health system, policy-making and policy analysis, and research cycle management. To implement the individual and institutional interventions, health system planners and authorities and the community were found to have a key role as facilitating factors.
The use of evidence-based interventions for strengthening research centres, such as training health researchers on knowledge translation and tackling institutional barriers that can prevent well-trained researchers from translating their knowledge, as well as the use of mechanisms and networks for effective interactions among policy-makers at the macro and meso (organizational) level and the research centre, will be constructive for individual and institutional capacity-building. The health system needs to strengthen its strategic capacity to facilitate an educational and training culture in order to motivate researchers in producing appropriate evidence for policy-makers.