Research and Development Systems and Policies

Science and Knowledge for Impact

The Science and Knowledge for Impact unit in the Evidence and Intelligence for Action in Health Department (EIH) of the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) encompasses principles and standards of good practice to achieve and continuously improve the quality of research and development across systems for improving health interventions, programs, and policies benefitting countries in the Americas.

As a coordinating regional hub for R&D, its mission is to provide new and improved ways to equitably support healthier populations, and to ensure that Member States can apply the best of R & D to achieve the health-related Sustainable Development Goals.

Regional observatory on R&D:  The regional observatory is a comprehensive source of information, tracking and analyses on R&D across all health categories. It includes horizon scanning, living reviews, evidence mapping, among other procedures, and constitutes a strong instrument for investigating and monitoring health information, detecting emerging technologies, identifying gaps, analyzing existing policies, or preparing for health emergencies.

Strengthen governance and standards for R & D: Developing frameworks for the governance of R&D in the Americas, in line with regional and globally leading practices, and the unit will provide norms and standards, especially for Member States that do not have their own national organizations for normative guidance and will measure the performance and impact of R&D at regional and national level.

Develop R & D roadmaps for public health priorities:  The unit will establish roadmaps encompassing basic research through to late-stage development, licensure, and early use of priority interventions. It will support the rapid activation of R&D activities during epidemics, accelerating the availability of effective diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines.  

Strengthen Pre-clinical Research (lab) and Clinical trials to provide high-quality evidence: With the adoption by the World Health Assembly of the WHOs resolution (WHA75.8) on 'Strengthening clinical trials to provide high-quality evidence on health interventions and to improve research quality and coordination’, the unit will promote equity in clinical trial capability, both by strengthening the clinical trial regional ecosystem to evaluate health interventions and by working to strengthen country capacities to conduct clinical trials. Setting of new guidance as needed on best practices for pre-clinical research and promoting the WHO‑International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP), improving research transparency, validity, and scientific evidence base.

Institutionalization of health policy and systems research: To support the generation and use of evidence that strengthens health systems, ensuring knowledge from policy-relevant research is effectively used to improve health and health equity, especially in low resource countries. Offering advice to Member states to strengthen their R&D systems.

Application of Artificial Intelligence for advancing R & D: The unit will leverage Artificial Intelligence and more specifically Machine Learning, to drive profound health impact and quality of-life improvements regionally.