IU Supports Research Translation Around the World
Indiana University (IU) faculty and staff share their expertise in applied research and community engagement to improve development efforts around the world through involvement in the LASER PULSE Consortium.
LASER PULSE, which stands for Long-term Assistance and SErvices for Research (LASER) Partners for University-Led Solutions Engine (PULSE), is a 5-year, $70 million cooperative agreement with USAID led by Purdue University with partners University of Notre Dame, Makerere University, Catholic Relief Services and IU.
Through the IU Office for International Development and IU Center for Global Health, IU supports LASER PULSE projects by providing strategic direction during the creation of programs, monitoring progress, and providing technical support for research translation strategies and deliverables. Research translation involves designing simple ways to get complex solutions into the hands of people who need them and to inform evidence-based changes in practice and policy around the world.
IU provided this type of guidance to recently ended projects to enhance food security in Western Kenya, measure teacher well-being in Uganda, and assess the scope of human trafficking in South Africa, as well as ongoing work on air quality in Vietnam and rural development in Colombia. IU has also led efforts for capacity strengthening and developed a set of publicly accessible tools and online trainings that projects use to translate research into action.
IU’s LASER PULSE principal investigator is Teshome Alemneh, PhD, director of the Office of International Development (OID). Dr. Alemneh is also co-principal investigator on a project entitled "Applied Nutrition Research Capacity Building in Laos" and has facilitated IU anthropology faculty involvement in “Cultural Restoration Program for Northern Iraq.” IU’s work on "Impact Evaluation of Psychosocial Support on Children's Well-being, Literacy, and Math Outcomes in the Integrated Essential Emergency Education Program" in South Sudan with the School of Education concluded in 2020. OID is further involved in international conference planning, conducting a Research for Development Workshop in Ethiopia next month and targeting one in Vietnam for 2023.
“IU’s involvement in the LASER PULSE partnership gives our faculty and staff diverse opportunities to improve lives around the world through research, seeking evidence-based solutions to development challenges,” said Dr. Alemneh. “Working with our consortium partners, we are able to provide the tools and resources to quickly and effectively put research findings into practice.”
At the IU Center for Global Health, Christopher Rice is the LASER PULSE lead for research translation communication. Rice provides technical assistance and capacity building to nearly 40 LASER-funded research projects in their efforts to translate research into practice, and also shares projects’ learnings and impacts through a webinar series called LASER Focused.
“Participating in the LASER partnership allows us to utilize the lessons learned from IU’s three-decade AMPATH partnership in Kenya, as well as faculty experiences in research translation, research communication, and community engagement to assist research projects around the world with translating their findings for impact at the practice or policy level,” Rice said. “Joining in on this large USAID project empowers IU to support a wide variety of development projects while gaining additional perspective and developing tools built for a new way of doing research,” he added.