Table 3

Key findings and implications

Key findingsImplications
Studies with statistically significant intervention effects are more likely to have impactsSo that health systems do not continue to fund interventions found to be ineffective, it is important that the findings of policy relevant negative studies are given equal consideration to those of positive studies; and mechanisms for discontinuing ineffective intervention studies are available
If findings are consistent with, or add to existing evidence, the study is more likely to have policy and practice impactsIndividual studies are less likely to provide sufficient evidence for policy or practice change. Replication and evidence synthesis is needed. Funding bodies should support research that replicates and advances the evidence base for existing interventions. However, this should not come at the expense of funding innovative studies that may lead to the development of new solutions
Peer-review journal publication on intervention effects appears to be necessary, but not sufficient, to produce policy and practice impactsPublication of intervention results in peer-reviewed journals should be specifically identified when considering the track record of researchers or research teams in grant assessment processes. Academic achievement systems should include translational outputs, and specifically identify peer-reviewed publication of intervention results
Study findings and researchers’ perceptions of their implications determine the extent to which researchers engage in ‘active’ dissemination strategiesGrant application processes should include a requirement for researchers to discuss the potential implications of their research and outline an explicit translation strategy. However, there should also be funding for research that does not aim to achieve immediate or direct impacts on policy and practice
The accumulation and interaction of active dissemination efforts over time influences whether a study has policy and practice impactsFunding bodies should include systems for funding programmes of research that support existing lines of research enquiry initiated by individual researchers or research teams, as well as their ongoing dissemination efforts
Studies are more likely to have impact if any translational outputs that are produced are readily accessible to the target audience and available through a stable delivery mechanismFunding bodies should include systems for dissemination trials, which include preparation of translational outputs, and support academic-policy partnerships
A diverse range of postresearch contextual factors are influential; these are not static or predictableResearchers should be required to demonstrate in grant applications that they understand the policy and practice context in which their research will be implemented, as well as outline the strategies they will employ in order to keep abreast of new developments or changes in this context.
As part of the grant application, researchers should outline their translation and dissemination plans, and include reference to key end user groups and relevant policy or practice factors
Studies are more likely to have impacts when the researchers involved are experienced and engage with these contextual factors as part of the dissemination processAs well as academic achievements, grant assessment processes should emphasise experience and track record in translational activities, and the extent of the research team's networks and connections outside of the research sector.
At the same time, systems to develop expertise in knowledge translation strategies should be introduced