Value of consultation in establishing a public health research network: lessons from APPRISE
Objectives: To understand the challenges and benefits of an extensive consultation process relating to the establishment and ongoing funding of a novel, disseminated national research network for infectious disease preparedness.
Methods: We used a two-part modified Delphi process to identify and rank factors relating to the consultation process across the different stages of setting up a new research network.
Results: Research priorities for the new research network remained the same following consultation with a broad range of stakeholders. Broad networking and the establishment of a nationally recognised preparedness research network were clearly identified as the consultation’s key strengths. The need for ongoing management of diverse expectations, particularly between researchers and public health practitioners, are clear challenges. Clarity on the distinct roles of researchers and decision makers are necessary to integrate research into a translational pathway. Researcher expectations for investigator-driven detailed inquiry must be balanced with expectations of routine public health activities and decision making.
Conclusions: Consultation had a clear benefit for the development of a complex public health network with a focus on policy translation. Ongoing challenges include managing diverse expectations and recognising the need for continuing relationship management. Understanding the strengths and limitations of consultation to enable ongoing funding should inform the development of further collaborative research networks in multidisciplinary and translational contexts in health.