This program has helped scientists and researchers bridge the gap between science and policymaking.

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

MVI has collaborated with African malaria vaccine researchers and scientists to ensure that stakeholders have the information they need to make early decisions on use once a malaria vaccine is available.
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 has collaborated with malaria vaccine researchers and scientists working in African countries to develop a cadre of "policy champions" for malaria vaccine development.

The program has helped participants to:
  • 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), aimed to bridge the worlds of science and policymaking at national, regional, and international levels. Malaria Vaccine Advocacy fellows came away from the program with strengthened communications skills and focused advocacy plans, often gaining international media attention and affecting positive policy change. 

The MVAF, which began in 2006 and ran for nine years, was made possible through the generous support of the ExxonMobil Foundation.