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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The 20 Year Review synthesis report published in 2014 was informed by several thematic areas. These are regarded as focal areas to tell the story of South Africa’s progress since democracy. The 21 thematic background papers were written by officials in the Presidency and other government departments using research and other evidence to inform progress, sector developments and challenges still remaining. The body of work that went into developing these papers was extensive with the goal of understanding where we came from in order to inform South Africa’s future trajectory.  Each of the thematic papers was based on background papers which are available at the link above.

Indonesian village law

Watch the podcast of  Working politically: A story of change about the contribution of research evidence to the new village law in Indonesia. On December 18th 2013, the Indonesian House of Representatives passed the new Village Law, a vote that was the culmination of a journey that started in 2007. This story of change takes the passing of the village law as its starting point and describes the relative influence that research-based evidence produced by the Institute for Research and Empowerment has had at critical junctions of the legislative process. It concludes that good quality research-based evidence is necessary but not sufficient to influence policy-making processes. Suggests that researchers and research organisations need to think and work politically to achieve their influencing goals and adapt to changes in local circumstances.  

The primary audience for this book is researchers in systems and policy research, seeking to strengthen their capacity at the individual and at the organizational level, from particular research projects to larger issues of organizational development. This book emphasizes that successful publication on the part of researchers is not 'job finished.' It is 'job started.' It then sets out what more must be done—and how—to drive the research findings to wherever they need to be to provide real and maximum benefit to policy, to practice, to people.

The latest annual South African Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators publication, launched by the National Advisory Council on Innovation (NACI). The report provides aggregated data from various sources to evaluate the state of science, technology and innovation (STI) in South Africa by appraising, among other things, the country's human capital development, research capacity and export performance, and the impact this has on quality of life and wealth creation. The 2014 report focuses mainly on data for the period 2004 to 2014, which allows for a proper trend analysis over a period of time.

Bridging the know-do gap

This book from the Australian National University focuses on three groups—policymakers, service providers and researchers—to examine how to enhance their ability to work together. The particular emphasis is on how to improve the uptake of sound research evidence into government policy and into service provision. How can research knowledge be brokered to achieve effective decision making and action that improve children’s wellbeing? The aim is to provide examples of different ways this can be achieved, as well as laying foundations for further development of knowledge-brokering initiatives.

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.