Cultivating Researcher-Policymaker Partnerships: A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Model for Training Public Psychologists

D. Max Crowley, J. Taylor Scott, Elizabeth C. Long, Lawrie Green, Cagla Giray, Brittany Gay, Azaliah Israel, Rachel Storace, Mary McCauley, Michael Donovan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Key to bringing psychological science to bear on public policy is developing scholars’ engagement and rapport with policymakers. Scholars benefit from support navigating the policy arena in ways that strengthen their independent policy engagement. This study presents findings from a randomized controlled trial of the Research-to-Policy Collaboration (RPC) model, which develops and trains a rapid response network of researchers to respond to legislative requests for scientific evidence. Researchers were surveyed on their concerns about how policymakers support or use scientific research, how they engaged with policymakers, and perceived benefits to their research. Researchers randomized to the RPC reported fewer concerns about policymakers’ support and use of research, greater involvement in supporting policymakers’ understanding of problems (i.e., conceptual use), and more responses to external prompts for their involvement. Subgroup analyses examined how experiences differed for those identifying as Black, Indigenous, or Person of Color (BIPOC). At baseline, BIPOCidentifying researchers perceived greater costs of policy engagement and reported less involvement in supporting conceptual or instrumental uses of research than White-identifying researchers. Subsequent to the RPC, BIPOC-identifying researchers in the intervention group were reportedly less concerned about federal support of science, more engaged in supporting conceptual uses of research, and perceived greater benefits of policy engagement for their research than BIPOC-identifying researchers in the control group. These differences were not observed among White-identifying researchers. Findings are discussed in light of disparities experienced by marginalized scholars, the ways in which resources and supports may counteract these challenges, and possible strategies to strengthen public psychology overall.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1307-1322
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


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