Nicola Roxon’s five tips on how to get research into policy
Nicola Roxon
Nicola Roxon
Former Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon says researchers must be able to explain their ideas to policy makers simply and quickly.

Researchers who want to see their findings translated into policy have been given some tips on the best ways to capture the attention of politicians by the former Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon.

In an interview published in the Sax Institute journal Public Health Research & Practice, Professor Roxon, who was health minister from 2007‒2011, gives her insights on how researchers can engage most productively with government.

Advice to researchers

Professor Roxon’s advice to researchers includes the following:

  • Just because your idea is good or worthy isn’t enough
  • Put yourself in the headspace of the minister who you hope will act on your research, and be clear on why your proposal will help them
  • Be able to explain your idea simply and quickly when you do have the opportunity to address decision makers
  • On contested public health issues, try to find the right lever, at the right time for the decision maker you are trying to convince
  • Alliances among consumers, clinicians, advocates and researchers can be very powerful, giving your argument depth and weight.

Professor Roxon, now adjunct professor and chair of the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre at Victoria University, urges researchers who feel their work is being ignored to reassess whether they have done all they can to “create a fertile environment to encourage government leadership”.

“When they do, governments will provide leadership,” she says.

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