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Linking research to policy in Vietnam: how can complexity concepts help?

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Presentation on theme: "Linking research to policy in Vietnam: how can complexity concepts help?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Linking research to policy in Vietnam: how can complexity concepts help?

2 Vietnam Academy of Social Science 1000 researchers 29 research institutes Link to Central Communist Party Committee Hierarchical structure Not linked to a specific ministry UNDP/VASS support for capacity development (2008-11) Research management (PRINCE2/MSP) Link research evidence to policy making Produce a National HDR

3 Which concepts from complexity thinking could be use to implement the project and document lessons learned?

4 What do specific complexity concepts suggest? (1)Interconnected and interdependent systems The idea of interconnected and interdependent systems can be of use in thinking about how the "research system" and the "policy system" currently link to each other In the Vietnam context, it could be seen as loosely coupled, so that changes in research system only diffusely influences the policy system. However, when it does, change happens very quickly.

5 What do specific complexity concepts suggest? (2) non-linearity On what areas / issues are research and policy already interconnected to the degree that a little input can lead to large outcomes? Which other actors should be engaged in order to bring about such change (e.g. media, international researchers, etc)

6 What do specific complexity concepts suggest? (3)adaptive, self-organising, co-evolving agents How to link to researchers own adaptive capacities, and work around resistance? How to become accepted? What balance between classroom-based capacity development or support to learning by doing? How to avoid resistance from policy communities?

7 What do complexity concepts suggest (4) how to make sure the three elements are greater than the sum of the whole? Evidence-based policy is just one element of the project How to make the programme itself a complex adaptive system, rather than a collection of disparate parts?

8 Definitions Policy: a purposive course of action followed by an actor or set of actors Evidence: the available information supporting or otherwise a belief or proposition Evidence-based Policy: public policy informed by rigorously established evidence. Research: any systematic effort to increase the stock of knowledge

9 The linear logical model… Identify the problem Commission research Analyse the results Choose the best option Establish the policy Implement the policy Evaluation

10 Monitoring and Evaluation Agenda Setting Decision Making Policy Implementation Policy Formulation The reality in Vietnam – what role for research? Civil Society Donors Party National Assembly Cabinet Private Sector

11 The Western model suggests different notions of evidence Colloquial (Contextual) Anything that seems reasonable and practical Policy relevant Timely Clear Message Policy Makers Evidence Source: Phil Davies Impact to Insight Meeting, ODI, 2005 Scientific (Context free) Proven empirically Theoretically driven Whenever it comes Caveats and qualifications Researchers Evidence

12 Policy makers are… Speed Superficiality Spin Secrecy Scientific Ignorance Vincent Cable – Lib. Democrat MP & Shadow Minister of Finance More at: …practically incapable of using research-based evidence because of the 5 Ss…

13 …in reality… The whole life of policy is a chaos of purposes and accidents. It is not at all a matter of the rational implementation of the so-called decisions through selected strategies 1 Reflection is more often regarded as the opposite of action rather than a response to ignorance 3 1 Clay & Schaffer (1984), Room for Manoeuvre; An Exploration of Public Policy in Agricultural and Rural Development, Heineman Educational Books, London 2 Omamo (2003), Policy Research on African Agriculture: Trends, Gaps, and Challenges, International Service for National Agricultural Research (ISNAR) Research Report No 21 3 Surr (2003), DFID Research Review

14 The political context – political and economic structures and processes, culture, institutional pressures, incremental vs radical change etc. The evidence – credibility, the degree it challenges received wisdom, research approaches and methodology, simplicity of the message, how it is packaged etc External Influences Socio-economic and cultural influences, donor policies etc The links between policy and research communities – networks, relationships, power, competing discourses, trust, knowledge etc. In these tightly coupled situations, the following areas all harmonise (the ODI view)

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