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Research uptake and impact

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Ensuring that research produced at UNICEF is shared and findings are used is a significant part of our mandate. The Office of Research-Innocenti oversees a variety of initiatives to promote the uptake and impact of UNICEF research in policy and programming. Our knowledge products are produced in various formats according to audience needs, with an emphasis on ensuring free and easy access (open access).

Our approach to measuring research uptake and impact

We commission independent research impact case studies to capture the uptake and impact of particular research projects.

We continuously monitor the reach of our research to better shape our programme strategies and influence policy change.

We invest in tools to track how research outputs are shared and cited in blogs, news articles, policy documents, and social media.

We run an annual competition to capture the best quality and most impactful research across UNICEF.


Independent impact case studies

Since 2015, Global Kids Online has been supporting countries to conduct their own research into children’s experiences online, with an emphasis on low- and middle-income countries. An impact assessment in 2019 showed that research findings from this international network has had extensive collective impact in policy and practice.

We have influenced education policy and contributed to digital strategies for child protection online. Research findings have also been used to design apps and to inform a new law on telecommunications to include digital literacy. Training for parents has helped them keep their children safe online. The public awareness campaigns run in Ghana and Uruguay are examples of how we have helped change the debate around internet safety. Read more about the research findings and impact here.

The Changing National Policy on Violence Affecting Children in Peru assessment of our Multi-Country Study on the Drivers of Violence affecting Children in Peru outlines our contribution to improving access to high quality information on violence. This included our contribution to a number of policy and programme changes in Peru, including the passage of a law banning corporal punishment in all settings. The study also improved access to high quality information on violence, as well as national coordination efforts regarding violence prevention. It has also influenced how other countries in the region approach violence issues, with study partners continuing to work on violence issues. Read the Snapshot of Findings from Italy, Peru, Viet Nam and Zimbabwe here.


Our contribution to policies and programmes

Our research is regularly used to inform national and regional policy and programmes by governments, institutions and think tanks. It is also regularly cited in evidence reviews and research programmes, and by media outlets.

Our research into the Impacts of Pandemics and Epidemics on Child Protection: Lessons learned from a rapid review in the context of COVID-19 was cited by the G20 Interfaith Forum, emphasising that children are at higher risk of starvation, homelessness, abuse and ill-being.

Argentinian think tank CIPPAC cited our research on Parental Engagement in Children’s Learning: Insights for remote learning response during COVID-19 in its review of COVID-19 and the global educational emergency: designing systems for recovery and resilience.

Our Cash Transfers project works with the FAOUniversity of North Carolina, UNICEF regional and country offices, national governments, and local research partners to provides rigorous evidence on the effectiveness of large-scale national cash transfer programmes in 13 countries. The project has highlighted that the overall impacts of state-sponsored cash transfer programmes in sub-Saharan Africa have strong effects on food security or food consumption, as well as children’s wellbeing. Download the free ebook: From Evidence to Action: The Story of Cash Transfers and Impact Evaluation in Sub-Saharan Africa.


Media coverage of our recent research


Contact research@unicef.org for more information.