Knowledge translation versus knowledge integration: A “funder's” perspective


  • Jon F. Kerner PhD

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD
    • Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, 6130 Executive Blvd, EPN 6144, Bethesda, MD 20892
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Each year, billions of US tax dollars are spent on basic discovery, intervention development, and efficacy research, while hundreds of billions of US tax dollars are also spent on health service delivery programs. However, little is spent on or known about how best to ensure that the lessons learned from science inform and improve the quality of health services and the availability of evidence-based approaches. To close this discovery-delivery gap, researchers and their funding agencies not only must recognize the gap between basic discovery and intervention development, addressed in part through translational research investments, but they must also work together with practitioners and their funding agencies to recognize the growing gap between innovative interventions developed through research and what is actually delivered to reduce the burden of chronic disease within the United States. From a funding-agency perspective, the complexity of the challenges of translating lessons learned from science to public health, primary care, or disease specialty service settings requires a multifaceted partnership approach to accelerate the translation of research into practice. This essay reviews the background and challenges of closing the development-to-delivery gap and some exemplar strategies that have been used by funding agencies to address these challenges to date.