The Policy > Action Network (P>AN) is hosted by the Research Use and Impact Assessment Unit (RIA) at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and is supported by the Department of Science and Technology.

P>AN supports the policy community by sourcing information on social policy with the aim of contributing to rigour in policy making and greater participation in policy processes. This site contains a range of resources including case studies, policy briefs, research reports, events info and ‘how-to’ info on getting research into policy, and getting policy into action.

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Newsletter: From Evidence to Action

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This report was a response to the outbreak of xenophobic violence in South Africa in May 2008. It is based on a roundtable hosted in June 2008 in Pretoria that was attended by around 50 key stakeholders from government, civil society and from affected communities. It was the result of a partnership between the Democracy and Governance (D&G) research programme of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and the British High Commission of South Africa. The roundtable and this report build on a rapid field study carried out by D&G in the immediate aftermath of the violence that left more than 60 people dead and tens of thousands displaced. The study was entitled Citizenship, Violence and Xenophobia in South Africa: Perceptions from South African Communities , and was handed to Social Development Minister Zola Skweyiya on June 05 2008. Importantly this report presents consensual principles and what the research needs are to address this issue.  


The Migration Issue Briefs are a resource for practitioners. They summarise state of the art research and are intended to inform discussions and debates surrounding human mobility in Southern Africa. This series extends from 2010-2014 and is published by the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CORMSA).

In 2009, the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) embarked on a nine-month strategy to improve the way it sourced, handled and used evidence to make policy. It had seen how another government department, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra ), had developed a strategic approach to managing its evidence base and decided to run a similar process to develop its own Science & Evidence Strategy (S&ES). This case study outlines what happened over the nine months. It contains lessons for others who are helping small government departments or individual policy teams think about their evidence needs in a strategic and systematic way.

One in a series of policy seminars on IID which aimed to deepen our knowledge and understanding of the various impacts resulting from innovation practices on the nation’s inclusive development efforts and strategies and how we may be able to measure these contributions. It also sought to unpack the criteria to be considered, the pros and cons of each methodology as well as the ethical, logistical and policy considerations.

One in a series of  Innovation for Inclusive Develpment (IDD) policy seminars which aimed to explore challenges that emanate from ambiguities in the way innovation for inclusive development (IID) is defined, conceptualised, studied and understood, both in the global North and South. The aim of the seminar was to unpack the conceptual differences that exist while providing a clear roadmap on the definition, terminologies, understanding and framing of IID as it relates to South Africa’s science technology innovation (STI), development and political ecosystems and contexts.

One in a series of policy seminars on innovation for inclusive development which looked at the role of universities in IID. Universities have been identified as key actors in various innovation and development theories and frameworks such as the National System of Innovation (NSI), “Triple Helix”, political economy, and many others. The seminar examined the role of universities in supporting IID and debated issues such as teaching and learning, capabilities for policy research, capacity development, the production and dissemination of policy-relevant IID research and knowledge.

One in a series of policy seminars on Innovation for Inclusive Development which discussed and shared the lessons learnt from the implementation of the Accelerated Sustainable Water Service Delivery (ASWSD) project which was designed to 'demonstrate how to expedite the provision of reliable safe drinking water (potable water) to underserviced, or unserved, communities living in remote rural areas through the application of science and technology' (Marcelle et al., 2013, p.7). The seminar explored how this and similar government commissioned projects may contribute in ways such as linking formal and informal STI sectors and knowledge sources thus promoting IID, enhancing co-creation, reducing poverty, inequality and unemployment, and providing access to S&T-centric innovation by marginalised rural communities and citizens. Issues of capabilities, scalability (where applicable), sustainability, directionality of innovation, participation, diffusion, learning and policy implications, amongst others, were examined. Please email if you would like to receive one of the CSIR presentations (by Ngorima) which is too big to upload.

The first in an ongoing series of seminars on Innovation for Inclusive Development (IID) which drew specifically from the impact of the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC) resolution to build socio-economic infrastructure through the use of the innovative building technologies (IBT), requiring 60% of government's social infrastructure building to be constructed from IBTs by 2017. The seminar discussed the built environment, using examples such as clinics, schools and student residences, as outlined in the PICC resolution.

The seminar reflected on science engagement in South Africa, against the background of the DST’s new Science Engagement Framework. It included reflection on the broader role of science in society, and on the role of the social sciences in science engagement, including the conceptual and empirical challenges that face researchers and policy-makers. Participants also considered the Science Engagement Framework from the national, international, and developing country perspectives. On this basis, the seminar examined prospects for the implementation of the strategy. Using the Square Kilometre Array telescope as a case study  the seminar examined how the different dimensions of the science engagement debate and actors can work together to successfully implement a science engagement strategy.

Drawing upon recent and on-going research in South Africa, this workshop shared knowledge about the development of new measures of spatial inequality and their application as explanatory variables in order to better understand outcomes at both the individual level (e.g. people’s attitudes towards inequality and options for redress) and the area level (e.g. hotspots of social unrest and violent crime). The programme and presentations can be downloaded above. Any other documentation will be uploaded when it becomes available.