Making Federal Research Meet the Needs of the American People

USAID leaders receiving feedback on the Feed the Future Learning Agenda
  • The most common format for engagement was in-person meetings and virtual meetings or webinars (e.g., conferences, workshops, and individual meetings or consultations).
  • The level of engagement varied based on audience, need, and resources (e.g., staffing or time allocation).
  • A participatory process was crucial to engaging external stakeholders, while consistent, regular communication was key for internal agency staff.
HUD officials gather for Stakeholder HUDdle
  1. Gather research questions: External stakeholders identify research questions through email, web forums, conferences and webcasts, and targeted meetings. Internal staff participate in listening sessions. Roadmap coordinators record suggestions and catalogue them (without individual attribution) by the session or medium in which they were received.
  2. Organize questions: Coordinators compile a database of the suggestions from stakeholders, categorizing each suggestion as a research question, project idea, data need, or other type of comment. Suggestions are divided into topical focus areas to help HUD leadership prioritize the questions.
  3. Prioritize questions: Subject matter experts review research questions and assign a priority rating of 0 to 3 to each suggestion. A heat mapping process is used to elevate the top tier of questions for review and discussion by HUD’s leadership and management team.
  4. Develop research proposals: HUD research staff complete brief project proposals for each prioritized research question, which become the core of the Research Roadmap.
  • Stakeholder engagement is an ongoing, integral process not a standalone effort.
  • Use engagement to create a culture of learning and growth. Ask stakeholders to help the agency figure out what is working and not working, and include a “no surprises” clause to ensure agency researchers talk to stakeholders before releasing findings.
  • Engage important internal stakeholders (e.g., senior leadership, program offices, regional and field offices) as well as external ones (e.g., grantees, T.A. providers, researchers, policymakers).
  • Categorize stakeholders and engagement strategies to maximize limited resources. Stakeholders could fall into those an agency wants to inform, to consult, to participate/involve, or to actively collaborate. Agencies can also link capacity/resources to each category.
  • Map stakeholders, find out where they convene, and go to them (when possible) for input and help with dissemination.
  • Provide clarity about role and outcome of engagement to stakeholders.
  • Dynamic and interactive modes of engagement can be valuable to increase participation and improve usefulness of suggestions.
  • Make equity a priority; think about fairness and representativeness, who may be missing or unable to engage, and whether agency work has a disproportionate impact on certain populations that need to be engaged.
  • Engage stakeholders about dissemination and use of research, not just for generating potential research questions.



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Results for America

Results for America


Working with decision-makers at all levels of government to harness the power of evidence and data to solve the world’s greatest challenges.