Document Type


Subject Area(s)

Capacity Building; Humans; Implementation Science; Organizations; Research Personnel


BACKGROUND: The field of dissemination and implementation (D&I) science has grown significantly over recent years. Alongside this, an increased demand for training in D&I from researchers and implementers has been seen. Research describing and evaluating D&I training opportunities, referred to here as 'capacity building initiatives' (CBIs), can help provide an understanding of different methods of training as well as training successes and challenges. However, to gain a more detailed understanding of the evidence-base and how D&I CBIs are being reported in publications, a field-wide examination of the academic literature is required. METHODS: Systematic review to identify the type and range of D&I CBIs discussed and/or appraised in the academic literature. EMBASE, Medline and PsycINFO were searched between January 2006 and November 2019. Articles were included if they reported on a D&I CBI that was developed by the authors (of each of the included articles) or the author's host institution. Two reviewers independently screened the articles and extracted data using a standardised form. RESULTS: Thirty-one articles (from a total of 4181) were included. From these, 41 distinct D&I CBIs were identified which focussed on different contexts and professions, from 8 countries across the world. CBIs ranged from short courses to training institutes to being part of academic programmes. Nearly half were delivered face-face with the remainder delivered remotely or using a blended format. CBIs often stipulated specific eligibility criteria, strict application processes and/or were oversubscribed. Variabilities in the way in which the D&I CBIs were reported and/or evaluated were evident. CONCLUSIONS: Increasing the number of training opportunities, as well as broadening their reach (to a wider range of learners), would help address the recognised deficit in D&I training. Standardisation in the reporting of D&I CBIs would enable the D&I community to better understand the findings across different contexts and scientific professions so that training gaps can be identified and overcome. More detailed examination of publications on D&I CBIs as well as the wider literature on capacity building would be of significant merit to the field.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


© The Author(s). 2020 Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

APA Citation

Davis, R., & D’Lima, D. (2020). Building capacity in dissemination and implementation science: A systematic review of the academic literature on teaching and training initiatives. Implementation Science, 15(97).