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Community Contribution

Using CLA to Design and Operationalize the Embedded Research Translation Model

L. Riddering, P. Brunese, A. Towns, Y. Yih, and A. Raman

LASER (Long-term Assistance and SErvices for Research) PULSE (Partners for University-Led Solutions Engine) is a five-year program that delivers research-driven solutions to field-sourced development challenges in USAID partner countries. We understand that novel approaches are required to address complex international development challenges like poverty, migration, and climate change. LASER PULSE promotes research translation to deliver co-produced evidence-based research for development, but there is a lack of established models or processes for research translation in international development. Therefore, we faced two challenges: (1) to design a model for researchers and practitioners to be systematic and intentional about research translation, and (2) to operationalize the model. We did not start intentionally with CLA, but the need for it emerged in the first two years of programming. Through internal collaboration, and pause & reflect, we built mutual understanding to design a research translation model called Embedded Research Translation (ERT). Then through monitoring & evaluation, external collaboration, and leveraging learning into adaptive management, we implemented processes to operationalize ERT. CLA improved our organization effectiveness and development outcomes. Before, our management was ad hoc. Since applying CLA approaches, our team is more effective at working collaboratively and adapting to learning. We implemented the ERT model and processes in September 2020 and expect to observe improved research translation through changes in development programs and policy. Initial evidence shows changes at the individual level because our ERT processes improve collaborations between researchers and practitioners in research projects. The COVID-19 pandemic reinforced the need for CLA.

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