Background information

Joint Inspection Unit Project "Strengthening the policy research uptake in service of the 2030 Agenda"

Expected respondents: academics and researchers from universities and research institutes, as well as their associations and networks that have engaged with the work of the United Nations system and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, or are familiar with that work and they would like to engage in partnerships with the United Nations or other forms of collaboration. While educated opinions are welcome, the survey will be well-served by responses based on experience and evidence.


The Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) is the only independent external oversight body of the United Nations system mandated to conduct evaluations system-wide. JIU operates with respect to the legislative organs and the secretariats of 28 funds, programmes and specialized agencies and other organisations, within the United Nations system, that have accepted its Statute. JIU has the authority to recommend actions to the General Assembly and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, as well as to the Executive Heads and the legislative bodies of all the other participating organisations.

In 2018, JIU undertakes a review on policy research uptake aiming at identifying ways to improve the existing mechanisms and processes of producing and using policy research originating within and outside the United Nations system. For the purpose of this review, policy research means bringing together information and knowledge in support of decision-making. Policy research uptake is defined as the process of becoming aware of, and accessing research, alongside with policies, systems and mechanisms supporting this process. It thus includes all activities facilitating the use of research evidence by United Nations staff and policy makers.

The review intends to assess four main components associated with research uptake function: i) adequacy and effectiveness of existing research uptake mechanisms and policies; ii) internal practices and processes, alongside organisational culture, awareness and incentives for managers and staff to build on existing research in performing their functions; iii) opportunities on coordinated research uptake across the United Nations system; iv) best use of external resources (academia, research institutes, think tanks etc.) and building bridges between the United Nations system and the academic community.

This survey is part of the information collection and analysis stage of the review (the third and fourth component as described above).  The objective of this survey is to collect and integrate views and evidence on the efficient use by the United Nations system of research produced externally, by academic/research communities.

Concrete recommendations for action would be welcome and taken into consideration in the preparation of the JIU report.