Data, Research and Evaluation: Fund implementation research

OBJECTIVES

To strengthen the national evidence base underpinning HIV prevention, testing and treatment initiatives.


CURRENT ISSUES

  • Australia has a long-standing commitment to producing world class research to inform our efforts to achieve the goals of successive national strategies;
  • The quality and relevance of the research is a tribute to the skill and dedication of Australian HIV researchers and the collaborative relationship between the research centres and community-led organisations;
  • The bulk of Australia’s HIV research investment is in epidemiological, behavioural and social research;
  • There is now an urgent need to complete that research with investment in implementation research – that is, research that is explicitly focussed on program design and implementation (as opposed to mapping trends in population behaviours); and that is both formative (that is, helps inform program development at the outset) and evaluative;
  • Implementation research would provide intelligence on key questions such as ‘are our approaches effective?’ ‘what are gay men’s preferences in engaging with the service system?’, ‘how do we best target less engaged gay men in relation to PrEP?’ and ‘where else should our efforts be focused to maximise impact?’;
  • The required implementation research must be immediately responsive to community- led program needs and therefore must be embedded within the community-led response. This would involve formal partnership between a national community-led organisation and researchers, under community-led direction. Embedding implementation research in this way allows for rapid research response to questions and issues emerging from community programs and intelligence.

PROPOSED ACTIVITIES

Fund and establish dedicated implementation research capacity that is embedded and controlled by the national community-led HIV response.

IMPACT

Creating dedicated capacity for implementation research will generate data not currently available to the response, which in turn will improve the capacity of the workforce to deliver tailored and impactful interventions.

COST-BENEFIT

A more tailored response will increase the impact of HIV prevention efforts and result in an increase in testing and retention in care.

ADDITIONAL INVESTMENT

$1.5 million per annum