Hot Off The Press:  “Building Implementation Science in Nutrition”

A paper written by SISN Board Members, Dr. Andrea Warren and Dr. Edward Frongillo, together with Dr Rahul Rawat from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, was recently published as an advance article in Advances in Nutrition. This open access article  “Building Implementation Science in Nutrition” is based on two workshops convened by SISN at international conferences in June 2019. The authors present important insights into the challenges facing advancement of implementation science in nutrition.

The abstract is provided below or click here for the full text.


The field of nutrition has been investing in the development of many nutrition-specific and -sensitive policies and programs aimed at improving population-level malnutrition in all its forms. When there is a need to learn about a new system, programmatic context, or target population to understand how to effectively deploy an intervention to help improve nutrition, it is important to be able to ask a broad range of questions, both in topic and in scope. Our aim is to provide a simple and conceptually clear definition and principles to elaborate the science of implementation for nutrition to distinguish it from other ways of knowing and learning and to serve as a guide to the articulation of implementation science questions and methods. Implementation science is a body of systematized knowledge about how to improve implementation that 1) is distinguished by its aims to learn about the process of implementation, 2) uses methods that derive from and fit with the aims, and 3) is built with tacit (as well as expert) knowledge and experiential learning. Implementation science aims to generate the learning needed to improve implementation through facilitating collaboration among stakeholders to articulate and pursue the aims; capturing and using tacit knowledge and experiential learning from stakeholders, systems, providers, and recipients; and applying a mix of methods suited to the aims. This elaboration of the science provides a simple way to help those who already do, or want to do, implementation science understand and communicate how this science is unique and the value that it adds to the current landscape of nutrition priorities, innovations, and the attendant complex learning needs that follow. Implementation science encompasses both discovery- and mission-oriented research, and centers implementation as the object of study for the purposes of broad-based learning.