Update on the Development of the Implementation Science Collaborative

November 5, 2018

Two key meetings took place on the Implementation Science Collaborative (ISC) at the Health Systems Research Symposium (HSR), each providing key momentum to move the ISC towards its launch next year at the World Health Assembly. As noted in previous posts, the ISC, will operate as an inclusive on-line community of practice. Through the ISC, stakeholders will work together will promote the better evidence access use of by policy-makers and program leaders in resource-limited settings.

HEARD Partners from UC Berkeley and City University of New York lead a discussion on how to engage a wide range of stakeholders in implementation science

Over the last year and a half, an ISC Ad Hoc Governance Committee has worked to provide initial input into the ISC Governance structure, reacting to and shaping zero drafts of the various formation documents needed for an eventual launch. The Ad Hoc Governance Committee officially concluded its scope of work at HSR, providing final feedback into the draft Framework, By-laws, Governance Manual and Work Plan.  As a next step, an ISC Interim Steering Committee, which is a larger and more diverse body more closely resembling the eventual ISC Steering Committee was established.  The Interim Steering Committee is organized as six stakeholder groupings, with the expectation that there will be three representatives from each grouping in the final Committee.  Diversity of geography, ensuring representation from all WHO regions, will also be required. The Interim Steering Committee will provide additional input into the ISC governance and work plan during its Fall 2018 meeting. 

Proposed ISC Stakeholder Groupings:

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Members of the Ad Hoc Governance Committee also organized an event entitled, Update on the Development of the ISC, for partners interested and potentially interested in the ISC. The purpose of this meeting was to provide an update on the work that has taken place since the concept for the ISC was first announced at the HSR in Vancouver in 2016. Maeve McKean, the Policy Advisor for the HEARD Project, provided an update on the current status of the structure, governance and processes including the decisions made by the Ad Hoc Governance Committee.  She noted the opportunities to engage with the Interim Steering Committee who will shepherd the entity toward a launch at the World Health Assembly.  

Ms. McKean also provided an update on the work to establish agreed upon principles for stakeholder engagement in the agenda setting process.  She noted how the work to create these principles relates not simply to the ISC, but rather the need for agreed to practices for any implementation science research collaborative. The premise behind the creation of these principles is that robust and inclusive engagement at the initial stage of work, to jointly articulate a problem and the questions needed to address an issue, will result in better questions being asked, and the meaningful partnership. During the session participants were asked to respond to a survey about their own experiences regarding stakeholder engagement. If you are interested in participating in the survey, please find the link at The results will be published in the coming months as part of a comprehensive review of the results of this survey which has been given at various locations.  

The majority of the time was devoted to an interactive discussion lead by the University of California Berkeley’s, Dr. Stefano Bertozzi, of a key leader in the ISC governance in which he asked, “What could the ISC do/how could it serve ‘your’ organization”?  The discussion highlighted the common needs across stakeholder groups for information sharing via a neutral arbitrator.  Specifically, key themes included the need for:

  1. An implementation science knowledge base
    • A place to turn to for best practices on the ‘how to’ ‘models of IS collaboration’  
    • Support translation/dissemination of research findings/best practices
  2. Contacts for experts in implementation science  
  3. A neutral convener of multiple disciplines/stakeholders:
    • To facilitate broad stakeholder engagement – to share information, leverage funding opportunities
    • To incubate collaborative efforts (link to sustainability, innovation)
  4. Capacity building/strengthening
  5. Advocacy regarding implementation science—including producing the products needed for that advocacy, white papers, position positions for policy makers etc.

The ISC Interim Steering Committee will receive a comprehensive readout of this consolation, incorporating suggestions, thoughts and concerns voiced by the diverse participants to shape the first-year work plan.  This will be a key item of discussion during their initial meeting this Fall 2018.