Evidence Institutes: Lessons for Australia from the UK, US and Canada
28 September 2023
There is a significant gap between the research and evidence of what works, and the implementation of this in policy and practice. Simply producing evidence does not automatically lead to uptake or improved outcomes, there is a gap between what we ‘know’, and what we ‘do’. Evidence Institutes are organisations that generate, synthesize, and curate high-quality and robust research, data, and evaluation, with a specific objective to influence and improve the decision-making of policymakers, practitioners, NFPs, and the public. They can act as intermediaries, connecting decision-makers to evidence, and advocate for and facilitate its application. There are already several evidence institutes in Australia, but PRF wanted to test whether there was demand from stakeholders for an evidence institute focused specifically on disadvantage, whether this is needed, and potential other ways to reduce the ‘know-do’ gap. And so in early 2022 we commissioned a report to review the landscape of evidence institutes, and explore if a new evidence institute in Australia focused specifically on disadvantage would help break cycles of disadvantage. The report explores in what ways evidence institutes can be effective, and identifies the gaps and challenges in the Australian evidence landscape. Finally, the report details some opportunities for improving the evidence landscape in Australia.