Core Competencies of an IMPACT-oriented Scientist

IMPACT has developed the following competencies that reflect the skills that IMPACT-oriented scientists use to reach, engage, and influence decision-makers toward evidence-informed policies:

Conducting IMPACT-Oriented Science

  1. Forming policy-relevant research questions and methodologic approaches using appropriate methods (including community and stakeholder engagement).
  2. Understanding the spectrum of policy change opportunities.
  3. Communicating findings in ways that resonate with relevant decision-makers and community members.

Recognizing Researcher’s Responsibilities

  1. Abiding by institutional and federal rules about advocacy and lobbying, and adopting strategies to engage partners if these rules constrain your work.
  2. Identifying conflicts of interest.
  3. Knowing when there is sufficient and adequately rigorous data to advocate for a governmental or non-governmental policy approach; and conversely, researchers’ responsibilities when policy moves faster than science.
  4. Recognizing your obligation to promote a body of scientific work, not just one’s own research, in discussions with decision-makers.

Partnering with Decision-Makers

  1. Identifying key decision-makers and the representatives and stakeholders/communities who they respond to.
  2. Cultivating relationships with decision-makers, community members, and other organizations involved in the policy process.
  3. Acknowledging, working within, and respecting decision-makers’ constraints.
  4. Strategies for moving forward when policymakers are resistant or skeptical of evidence-informed solutions.
  5. Partnering with community members, organizations, and community advocates to engage and influence decision-makers.
  6. Sustaining health advocacy through the lifecycle of a policy change and implementation.

Growing an IMPACT-Oriented Career

  1. Securing funding to support IMPACT-oriented work.
  2. Developing skills in interdisciplinary collaboration (Team Science), including with non-traditional research partners and community members/organizations.
  3. Achieving advancement and promotion with an IMPACT-oriented career.

Translating and Disseminating for Decision-Makers and Other Community Partners

  1. Using diverse channels of communication.
  2. Identifying the best messenger for the message.
  3. Recognizing core values of the relevant audience.
  4. Using clear, non-technical language.
  5. Integrating data with stories and visuals.
  6. Developing appropriate targeting and framing.