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Rapid Response Network

Many researchers are drawn to share their research because they want their work to benefit and serve the general public. Often there is little support for researchers to translate their work for policymakers. This is especially challenging when there’s too little time to navigate policy opportunities independently. The network leverages innovative technologies for efficiently notifying scholars of policy opportunities that match their areas of study. This tool builds the capacity of the scientific community to respond to policymakers’ questions and needs.


A prior experiment demonstrated that facilitating timely and responsive connections between researchers and policymakers can support policymakers’ value of research for understanding issues and their use of research in bill development. Researchers involved in an experiment participating in the network also report greater policy engagement, increased policy skills, and benefits to their research.

What researchers have said about their meetings with legislative officials…

How it works:
Those who enroll provide information about their areas of study. The enrollment form is used to search for scholars who might share interests with policymakers. Participants receive tailored notifications via email that prompts them to respond in an online forum visible only to fellow researchers. This allows researchers to share their knowledge, discuss timely issues, offer resources, and create fact sheets. Ultimately, these responses allow project teams to match researchers with more direct opportunities for interacting with policymakers (e.g., meetings, speaking engagements).

The Rapid Response Network was created as a core component of the Research-to-Policy Collaboration model and now supports the implementation of the Family Impact Seminars and SCOPE. Since 2015, the Network has enrolled nearly 1,000 research-oriented professionals across nearly every state. Network membership is crowd-sourced by TrestleLink Partners and thus supports a number of projects with aims aligned with our nonpartisan mission for supporting policymakers’ research needs.


Participants are asked to reply to time-sensitive questions drawn from meetings with policymakers. Sometimes participants engage in trainings, writing fact sheets, speaking at briefings or seminars, or meeting with policymakers.

Time Commitment:
The time demands vary depending on (a) individual preference, (b) current project topic areas, and (c) needs identified by policymakers. Participants have full autonomy to decide whether or when to participate in a rapid response, collaborations, or other opportunities (e.g., trainings). Most find the time commitment of receiving and replying to emails to be fairly manageable. If there are no active efforts in your area of study, the time commitment is very low, but having your information allows us to move quickly should projects in your study area be awarded.

Who is a “Researcher”:
Inclusive of academic and non-academic scholars. You do not need to be a university faculty member to join this network. We welcome applied researchers and nonprofit professionals using research in practice. Though we admire and appreciate diverse voices in policymaking processes, we do not encourage the participation of lobbyists or activists here since we explicitly do not take specific policy stances as part of our efforts.

Who is a “Policymaker”:
At this time, the majority of our projects focus on work with state or federal legislators in a range of policy domains.

Enrollment form:
Researchers’ study areas are cataloged to allow us to filter our communications so you only receive updates relevant to you. Thus, these fields are very important for receiving the notifications you believe will be most rewarding to you. Please consider the topic areas as outcome variables of your research since policymakers tend to ask about the problem (e.g., child abuse) more often than the predictors (e.g., parenting).

Network members have a unique opportunity to become nationally recognized experts of their field who are called upon to advise state and federal policymakers. Researchers primarily report value in the research impact mission and have confidence of their impact due to the rigorous testing of TrestleLink models. Participants also report the value of networking in their area of study, developing collaborative partnerships, and staying up to date with research in their areas. Some even report using their experiences in their instruction. Award recognition with a written letter is also valued by highly active participants.

There is no cost to participate in the Network. This resource is sustained by TrestleLink partner projects.