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New interactive map empowers researchers to navigate complex UK health policy landscape

Treemap diagram of the UK Evidence Ecosystem for Health Policy. The map is divided into color-coded sections representing different sectors: Government (purple, largest section), Healthcare (blue), Tech/Industry (yellow), Voluntary and charity (orange), Media (teal), Higher Education (pink), and Other (light blue). Each sector contains subsections, such as 'Local government' and 'NHS', illustrating the complex network of organisations involved in UK health policy.

Researchers from the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences at the University of Oxford, in collaboration with the Oxford Policy Engagement Network (OPEN) and with support from the NIHR ARC OxTV, have launched an innovative resource designed to transform policy engagement for health researchers: The UK Evidence Ecosystem Interactive Map.

The interactive map, created by Dr Cervantée Wild and Maeve Moran, with visualisation support from NIHR ARC OxTV, depicts key institutions and their roles in health policy across the UK, from government bodies to healthcare providers, charity and voluntary organisations, and academic institutions.

Dr Cervantée Wild, co-creator of the tool, said: "Our aim was to demystify the complex world of health policy for researchers. By providing a clear, interactive overview of the key players and their relationships, we hope to empower academics to engage more effectively with policymakers and ultimately increase the impact of their research."

Researchers can use the map to identify key stakeholders for collaboration, understand policy-making processes, and help to align their research with current policy priorities. The tool is particularly valuable for those in primary care and related fields looking to enhance their policy engagement strategies.

Professor Richard Hobbs, Director of NIHR ARC OxTV, commented: "We are delighted to support this significant step forward in translating high-quality research into real-world impact. By helping researchers navigate the policy landscape more effectively, we can ensure that evidence-based insights reach decision-makers and ultimately improve health outcomes for our communities."

The launch of this tool comes at a crucial time when bridging the gap between academic research and policymaking is more important than ever for addressing pressing health challenges and ensuring evidence-based decision-making in health and care.

The UK Evidence Ecosystem Interactive Map is now available on the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences website, accompanied by a guide on leveraging the tool for effective policy engagement.

This innovative resource not only showcases the researchers' commitment to applied research but also contributes to the broader goal of supporting a more connected and responsive health research ecosystem in the UK.