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Relay: Communicating research

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Through our Relay programme, we connect journalists and researchers by helping academics make their work more widely known through the media and encourage journalists to see research as an important resource for their reporting. We produce free-to-use radio and print features based on research findings, in-depth topic guides for journalists, and run workshops to enhance researchers’ understanding of how the media work.

Academic research makes a crucial contribution to development but too often findings are kept within the research community. The media can play a part in communicating this knowledge to a wider audience.

Policies and practices are more likely to benefit society when they are informed by research knowledge. By clearly communicating research to a wide audience – whether this is development practitioners, policymakers, civil society representatives or the general public – it can inform public debate and scrutiny. Ultimately this leads to more relevant and sustainable development efforts.

The mainstream media can play an important role in communicating research to a range of audiences in ways that make it easy for people to understand how the research relates to them, their community and society at large.

However, we know that effective communication of research through the media is not straightforward. It depends on factors such as the capacity of the media and their professionalism as well as environments that allow open, vibrant and critical public debate.

It relies on the willingness of research institutions to recognise the value of communicating research to non-academic audiences, and to engage with the media and other communicators. Research funders are in a position to encourage and support institutions to do this.

Supported by DFID

For more information on DFID funded research and research communication programmes visit Research for Development (R4D) at http://www.research4development.info/

Latest updates

Wellcome Trust supports ‘academic spring’

Kelly Green, Cancer Research Scientist at Cancer Research UK, Cambridge - David Rose | Panos Pictures

One of the world’s largest funders of science research has given its support to a growing campaign for publicly-funded research papers to be shared openly online.

Meet Relay’s journalist fellows from Northeast India

This is Tingri village; which will be badly affected once the dam has been constructed. It is home to a Mising Community. The Mising are a Scheduled Tribe; which means that their rights as indigenous people are protected to a degree under the Indian Constitution (http://bit.ly/e5kioj). This village is typical of Mising communities: houses are on stilts because the area is prone to seasonal flooding.

We’re proud to be able to show you a documentary video made by Panos Relay journalist fellow Sandeep Patil, as well as other work from the concluding project.

Sharing research communication skills in Portugal

Clube de Journalistas - Annie Hoban | Panos London

“I shared insights, from the experience of the Relay programme, about working with researchers and the media to build relationships and communication skills to reach the wider public through media coverage.”

Relay workshops update

IDRC Building Solutions workshop held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania - Tania Ghosh/Panos London

Workshops held by Relay help improve reporting on research. This blog looks at two workshops held in August in East Africa.

Tax research on primetime Ugandan radio

A senior tax collector / Jan Banning | Panos Pictures

Tax and governance issues hit primetime airways in Uganda as a result of a workshop bringing journalists and researchers together.

Reporting health research

A doctor examines an X-ray of the chest of a patient suffering from tuberculosis (TB) / Sven Torfinn | Panos Pictures

This case study shares recommendations and details the lessons learned during a communications project to improve media reporting on tuberculosis (TB) in Zambia.

Practical tips for communicating research

INDIA | A teacher speaks to the Mising community about the health impacts from large dams / Tania Ghosh - Panos London

Tania Ghosh from the Relay programme introduces the first in a series of blogs on communicating research findings.

Dams and development

China | A construction worker takes a break during the construction of the Three Gorges Dam. Mostly completed the dam now provides 3% of China's energy needs, around 80TWh per year / Chris De Bode - Panos pictures

The topic guide considers areas of potential conflict between countries, concerns over policy guidelines regarding dam building and the socio-economic impact of displacement.

Protestors, power and mega-dams

A report published by Forced Migration online, titled 'Development induced displacement and resettlement', finds that adivasis (tribal people) in India account for 8 per cent of the population but are estimated to make up 40 to 50 per cent of those displaced by development projects. Although only 38 families have been directly displaced and, as such, compensated for living on the actual dam site, the impact on the ecology of the river may force scores of people in downstream areas to leave. Credits: Tania Ghosh - Panos London

Mega-dams have caused controversy around the world. The Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric project, being constructed in Arunachal Pradesh, North-east India is no exception.

Improved media coverage and debate in Kenya

Issa Hussein from the Kenya Pastoralist Journalist Network practises interviewing Kenyan tax expert, Jack Ranguma. / Annie Hoban - Panos London

Panos London's Relay Programme Manager, Annie Hoban, talks about a new case study that shows how researchers and journalists worked together to talk tax and governance in Kenya.

Feeling the pinch: impacts of the financial crisis on developing countries

New research highlights some of the impacts that the global financial crisis is having on developing countries. Here unemployed people queue for their unemployed insurance fund (UIF) in Elizabeth, South Africa / James Oatway - Panos pics

Overview According to recent studies it is the world’s poorest who will be hit hardest by the global recession. There have been many reports on how developed countries have been affected by the current financial crisis, but new research, which has come out in the past few months, has shown how the global downturn is…

From soldier to civilian: the challenge of reintegration

Peace can only be arrived at when former fighters are disarmed and successfully reintegrated into their community / Sven Torfinn - Panos Pictures

Overview Armed conflict is an all too familiar theme for journalists in many parts of Africa and Asia. But what happens when the fighting stops? Do people just put down their guns and go home? Do they even have homes to go to? And how will they make a living and support their families? The…

Moralising fails to curb teen pregnancies

Children play on a roof near the Pacific coast of Ecuador. A new report has said that health professionals in the coutry are compromising adolescents' sexual health by stereotyping how men and women act / Rhodri Jones - Panos pictures

Researchers have criticised the attitude of health service providers in Ecuador, saying their judgmental approach is compromising adolescent girls' rights to sexual healthcare.

Legacy of Make Poverty History was to ‘Africanize’ poverty

Nelson Mandela attends a Make Poverty History rally in Trafalgar Square in the run up to the 2005 G8 / Gary Calton - Panos Pictures

The 2005 Make Poverty History (MPH) campaign turned Africa’s poverty into the media focus and public face of the campaign, a new report claims. It argues this focus on Africa damaged the campaign diluting it’s overriding message of social justice.

Ethiopian inequality will widen says climate report

Ethiopia | A young boy holds onto his mother in an area suffering from drought. A new study says that climate change will increase inequality in the region / Dieter Telemans - Panos Pictures

A new study predicts the effects of climate change will reduce Ethiopia's economic growth and widen the gap between the country's poorest and richest people by 20 per cent.

Communication leads to more equal roles in the home

A family in their home in Honduras. A new education programme is helping women negotiate more equal roles in the home / Sean Sprague - Panos Pictures

An education programme focussing on communication skills is helping rural women in Honduras negotiate equal roles in the home, says a researcher.

Early diabetic deaths due to high cost of treatment

Ethiopia | 40 year old Astur Farah Ilmi lost her husband to diabetes seven months ago. A new report has uncovered that children with Type 1 diabetes in Sub-Saharan Africa are dying one year after developing the disease/ Frederic Courbet - Panos pictures

Children with Type 1 diabetes in Sub-Saharan Africa die one year after developing the disease, as healthcare costs drastically outstrip earnings.

Fishermen overlooked by climate change research

Fishermen in Bangladesh collect the day's catch. A new report suggests that fishermen are being overlooked by climate change research / Espen Rasmussen - Panos pictures

More than 500 million people rely on fishing to make a living yet there is little information about how their livelihoods are affected by climate change, according to researchers in Malaysia. A new report by the World Fish Center in Penang, Malaysia, now aims to fill this research gap.

Macho culture fuels spread of TB in prisons

A man in an El Salvadorian prison wait before attending a trail. A new report suggests that TB is being spread more quickly through South American jails because of macho culture / Moises Saman - Panos pictures

Macho culture in South American prisons is helping to fuel the spread of tuberculosis (TB) among male inmates, according to researchers. A new study suggests that male inmates are reluctant to tell their cellmates they are ill and fail to seek medical attention in case they appear weak.

The motivations behind African peacekeeping contributions

A Nigerian United Nations (UN) Peacekeeper at a checkpoint in Liberia / Tim A Hetherington - Panos Pictures

States that are poorer, have lower "state legitimacy" or lower levels of political repression, are likely to contribute higher number of troops to regional peacekeeping operations suggests a new report.

Refugees in Kenya left in legal limbo

The children at the Sheorapara learning centre receive close attention from their teach Helena / G. M. B. Akash - Panos London

A new report has found that the Kenyan government has not clearly defined the rights of refugees in Nairobi, meaning neither the police nor refugees know where they stand within the law.

Nepali women’s groups help cut infant deaths

Developing women's confidence can help reduce deaths among newborn babies by up to 30 per cent / Tom Pilston - Panos pictures

A new report claims that women's groups in Nepal have helped to cut deaths among mothers and newborn babies by up to 30 per cent. The study suggests this was achieved by developing women's confidence and encouraging them to share their experiences of childbirth.

Street children start out as school truants, says South African study

Children play outside a home for street children in Cape Town, South Africa / Chris Sattlberger - Panos pictures

School truancy could act as an early warning sign helping authorities to identify children at risk of becoming homeless, according to a report on street children in South Africa.

Commercial interests determine Nestlé’s aid allocation

An advert for Nestlé in India. A new report suggests that commercial interests, rather than need, drives Nestlé's aid allocation / Mark Henley

A new report claims that Nestlé's aid to developing countries is determined by commercial investments rather than poverty levels.

Lesotho’s farmers miss out on agricultural information

A young cattle herder in Lesotho. New research says that information from Lesotho's Agriculutral Information Service (AIS) is not being used by many of Lesotho's famers / Giacomo Pirozzi - Panos pictures

According to researchers an agricultural information service in Lesotho is failing to reach the majority of farmers in the country. The study, from the university of Botswana, says that many poorly educated farmers do not see information as relevant to them.

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