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Playing the role of a ‘boundary organisation’: getting smarter with networking

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Author(s): Drimie Scott | Quinlan Tim

Journal: Health Research Policy and Systems
ISSN 1478-4505

Volume: 9;
Issue: Suppl 1;
Start page: S11;
Date: 2011;
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ABSTRACT
Abstract Background This paper discusses the practices of organisations that cross the boundary between research and politics, to promote evidence-based policies and programmes. Methods It uses the experience of a network of organisations in Africa to describe the methodology, challenges and successes of efforts to promote utilisation of research on the inter-connections between HIV/AIDS, food security and nutrition in South Africa. It emphasises that crossing the boundary between science and politics can be done systematically and is inevitable for any attempt that seeks influence policy making. Results The paper reveals the complexity of the research-policy making interface and identifies key lessons for the practice of networking and engaging policy and decision-makers. Conclusion The concept of boundary organisation is a helpful means to understand the methodological underpinnings of efforts to get research into policy and practice and to understand the ‘messy’ process of doing so.
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