Policy Engagement


By engaging with policymakers, OUCRU aims to influence decision-making and improve public health.

As a leading health research institute, OUCRU recognises the need to communicate frequently with national and international stakeholders in the policy-making and policy-influencing environment. This ensures that our research remains relevant and useful, and is best positioned to achieve impact on health.

At OUCRU, engagement with policy stakeholders is factored into the whole research system. We aim to have systemic involvement and feedback from policy stakeholders from conception of studies and design of the research programme, to communication and dissemination of results.

To achieve this goal, we conduct comprehensive activities to facilitate both internal engagement with our researchers and external engagement with key policy stakeholders in Viet Nam, Indonesia, Nepal and in the region.

Policy engagement research

We aim to ensure that our policy engagement practice is evidence-informed. To enable this, we have a policy engagement research programme, which allows us to ask questions about the policy-making environment in the areas where we work, as well as the about the best ways to facilitate effective engagement between researchers and policy stakeholders in those environments.

Stakeholder Advisory Boards (Vietnam-specific)

Outbreak Advisory Board

In 2020, we established the Outbreak Advisory Board (OAB) in response to COVID-19, but with the intention to exist after the crisis of the pandemic. The OAB consisted of 3 OUCRU members and 10 members from external policy-making or policy-influencing organisations from multiple levels in the Vietnamese COVID-19 response: national and regional, domestic and international – to ensure broad perspectives are included. During the pandemic, the board convened quarterly using Zoom.

OUCRU Infectious Diseases Research and Policy Discussion Forum

In 2022, we extended the scope of the OAB to include other major infectious diseases such as drug resistant infections, tuberculosis and vaccine preventable diseases, and established the OUCRU Infectious Diseases Research and Policy Discussion Forum (OUCRU IDDF). With the OUCRU IDDF, we aim to facilitate equal, two-way discussion and sharing – giving both OUCRU researchers and policy stakeholders the opportunity to learn about one another’s priorities, concerns, and opportunities to collaborate. The OUCRU IDDF consists of 4 permanent members from OUCRU, and 14 members from external policy making or policy influencing organisations. The Forum is additionally supported by two members of the OUCRU Policy Engagement team who act as facilitators.

Consultation and support for OUCRU projects with policy engagement components

We provide consultation and support for new and on-going research projects with policy engagement components, facilitating communication and collaboration between OUCRU researchers and policy stakeholders and driving for continuous engagement at all research stages.

Notable projects that we have contributed to:

RESHAPE – Establishing a dengue controlled human infection model in Viet Nam

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SPEAR (Understanding the Socio-Cultural Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Three Countries in Asia)

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Multi-Species Farming, Viral Diversity, And Risks Of Cross-Species Transmission In The Central Highlands Of Viet Nam

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Dengue Advanced Readiness Tools (DART)

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Southeast Asia Initiative to Combat SARS-CoV-2 Variants (SEACOVARIANTS)

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Building citizen science intelligence for pandemic preparedness and response – Pilot study

Global Antibiotic Resistance Partnership-2 (GARP-2)

Contributions to international policy engagement networks

We contribute to the activities of international networks in the field of policy engagement and science advice including:

Oxford University Open Engagement Network (OPEN)

A network of researchers, doctoral students and professional services staff at the University of Oxford who share a vision of public policy powered by the world’s best available research evidence and expertise
In June 2022, we organised the online event entitled “Policy engagement and research culture: a case study from Viet Nam” to share about policy engagement as an important part of our institutional research culture and discuss the approach we have taken to enhance policy engagement at OUCRU in Viet Nam, with the support of Wellcome

International Network for Governmental Science Advice (INGSA)

A collaborative platform for policy exchange, capacity building, and research across diverse global science advisory organisations and national systems

In September 2021, we presented on the model of the Outbreak Advisory Board as a way to engage with policy stakeholders in the Day 1’s session entitled “Innovations in Science Advice – COVID-19: Reshaping Science Board”

INGSA reports on COVID-19 policies

Between December 2020 and April 2021, we contributed to two reports by INGSA and the University of Oxford’s COVID-19 Government Response Tracker (OxCGRT) on Viet Nam policies during COVID-19 including:

Training and support for OUCRU researchers

The policy engagement team provides regular training and support for OUCRU researchers. This includes formal training, as well as bespoke support at project and thematic levels.

We organise interactive, in-person training for early-career researchers and other staff, introducing basic knowledge and skills to engage effectively with key stakeholders in the policy-influencing environment.

Policy metrics and impact management

OUCRU aims to have impact on health, and in order to evaluate this we need to manage our policy-related metrics and outputs. The Policy Engagement team at OUCRU tracks and measures data related to our policy engagement outputs and outcomes. Based on the collected data, we produce reports, case studies and data visualisation for monitoring and evaluation as well as for supporting our policy engagement practice from an evidence-informed standpoint.

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