Bridging the gap between science and policy

MVI advocacy program supports work by scientists and researchers

Slow decision-making all too frequently results in a substantial lag between the availability of lifesaving interventions and developing countries' access to them. Researchers and scientists working on new health interventions can help to close this costly gap.

Minding the gap

The malaria vaccine community's goal of developing and licensing a first-generation vaccine by 2015 is fast approaching. To help make this goal a reality, MVI is collaborating with African malaria vaccine researchers and scientists to ensure that stakeholders have the information they need to make early decisions on vaccine use.

A number of factors contribute to the science–policymaking gap. For example, scientists and researchers might not:

  • Take the time to communicate progress and challenges of vaccine development.
  • Know how to communicate the policy implications of their work.
  • Know who their key audiences are.
  • Understand how to frame their messages.
  • Provide information that policy audiences need.

Developing policy champions

MVI collaborates with malaria vaccine researchers and scientists working in African countries to develop a cadre of "policy champions" for malaria vaccine development.

The program helps participants:

  • Communicate progress and challenges related to malaria vaccine development.
  • Develop the skills to communicate their research beyond technical circles.
  • Influence policy debates.
  • Engage the media about the drive for an effective malaria vaccine.
  • Encourage African stakeholders to begin to gather the information they need to make early decisions on malaria vaccine use.
  • Advocate for increased and sustained funding for malaria vaccine research and development.

This program, known as the Malaria Vaccine Advocacy Fellowship (MVAF), aims to bridge the worlds of science and policymaking at national, regional, and international levels.

The MVAF is made possible through the generous support of the ExxonMobil Foundation, which has made it possible to strengthen the skills of 61 malaria R&D advocates from the United States, Europe, and Africa. Read about past fellows.