Knowledge translation after COVID-19:
Driving change through the evidence-policy-society interface

Monday, 15 November 2021, 16:15-17:05 CET

Interpretation available: ARA, FRA, POR, RUS, SPA

> Session flyer

The COVID-19 response saw unprecedented global research and collaboration to prevent and control the spread of the novel coronavirus, but also exposed limitations and room for improvement in evidence-to-policy processes. Existing advisory processes and knowledge translation mechanisms often provided hands-on support to countries’ COVID-19 responses.

Yet many of these mechanisms still miss a sustainable institutional basis, lack systematic strategies to leverage scientific evidence for effective decision-making and appropriately weigh other factors that influence these processes, and remain insufficiently prepared to timely respond to future health emergencies. 

As COVID-19 showed clearly, inclusive, multisectoral and interdisciplinary collaboration and networking among those producing, translating, and using different forms of knowledge are crucial to effective evidence-informed decision-making and accountability among stakeholders. Yet actors across the evidence ecosystem also need a better understanding of decision-making processes and needs, as well as of the respective political and policy contexts. This holds particularly true in a pandemic caused by a novel virus, when only limited evidence is available and research findings can prove inconclusive or conflict with each other.

The global expert panel will convene seasoned knowledge brokers and specialists in evidence-informed decision-making to take stock of lessons from the pandemic and key opportunities that have the potential to inform new concepts and practices of knowledge translation.

Key questions and session highlights 

The expert panel will reflect on a series of strategic knowledge translation aspects:

  • How have different inputs (including evidence) been weighed to make decisions in times of a global health crisis, and how have the different types of evidence been combined to inform decision-making processes during the COVID-19 pandemic ? 

  • How can health policies and safe and effective health programmes be reliably informed by a large amount of rapidly changing new evidence? What potential do living evidence syntheses have to address emerging health issues? 

  • What are the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic for re-designing evidence-support systems both in response to further health emergencies and for ongoing challenges in health systems globally?

  • Keeping in mind the answers you’ve heard to the previous questions and others that could have been asked: what are your top-line messages about how to better prepare ourselves in future for using evidence to drive responses to health emergencies and on-going health-system challenges?