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Table 2 Illustrative examples of interfaces/boundary tasks and mechanisms

From: Who needs what from a national health research system:lessons from reforms to the English Department of Health's R&D system

Tasks & activities at the interfaces/boundaries between stakeholders Examples of interface mechanisms in English Department of Health's R&D system Areas that may require more attention
Agenda setting/research problem definition:
Research funders scoping research needs and priorities, negotiation/consultation with the various stakeholders
The role of the Biomedical Research Centres in bringing many interests together; advisory groups e.g. HTA, for consumer involvement; NICE; various UK health research collaborations and clinical research networks that involve many stakeholders including industry. Capacity to undertake collaborative comprehensive/systems needs assessment, especially for policy research in some non medical areas (eg workforce issues) where there has been less focus.
Research commissioning:
Engaging stakeholders in research specification & selection of researchers
Diverse commissioning panels for the wide range of NIHR programmes, including HTA, SDO programmes. Development of role of different actors (especially patients/public) and the need for innovative methods to involve them.
Research processes:
Researcher control of methods but liaison between researchers & users during projects & collaboratively undertaking research
DH Research Liaison Officers; clinical research networks help to ensure research capacity is developed. Researchers' ability to control methods when demands are made for speeding up of processes
Reviewing & synthesising research HTA & SDO programmes; funding for UK Cochrane Centre and Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD); DH Policy Research Programme projects. Agreed upon methods and capacity for reviewing organisational and policy research; building on the SDO/Canadian initiative;
Research communication:
Formatting research for different users; research brokerage; research networks
CRD; DH Research Liaison Officers; Cabinet Office Policy Hub; topic-specific research networks; integrating research information systems & databases. Expanding research brokerage to link user groups at the systems level; developing systems-level media and communication strategy
Facilitation of research absorption & utilisation:
Building capacity to receive and use research for policy, practice, and informed health decision-making
NICE; National Screening Committee; clinical research networks; NIHR Biomedical Research Centres and Units and Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care will lead adoption of research into clinical practice Strengthening capacity, eg of receptor bodies for SDO and policy research; further developing absorptive capacity widely through NHS - geographic spread and the full range of staff; further improving population health literacy.
Research performance assessment NIHR successfully argued for wider impacts of health research on policy and practice to be included in the Research Assessment Exercise as it is in the review of DH research units Ensuring NHS performance measures reflect research contributions.
Research incentives:
Appropriate for different types of research
Researchers (ie 'Faculty') becoming part of NIHR to attract clinical researchers; Senior Investigators important. Further development of ways to recognise health services and policy research contribution to healthcare and the wider economy