Addressing the tensions and complexities involved in commissioning and undertaking implementation research in low- and middle-income countries
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Rapid scale-up of new policies and guidelines, in the context of weak health systems in low/middle-income countries (LMIC), has led to greater interest and funding for implementation research. Implementation research in LMICs is often commissioned by institutions from high-income countries but increasingly undertaken by LMIC-based research institutions. Commissioned implementation research to evaluate large-scale, donor-funded health interventions in LMICs may hold tensions with respect to the interests of the researchers, the commissioning agency, implementers and the country government. We propose key questions that could help researchers navigate and minimise the potential conflicts of commissioned implementation research in an LMIC setting.