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Objectives and importance of study: The importance of health policy and systems research (HPSR) has been acknowledged since 2004 and was recognised by the United Nations World Health Assembly in 2005. However, many factors influence its development. This paper aims to analyse the impact of politics and political determinants on HPSR funding in selected countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. Methods: Using a standardised protocol, we performed an analysis of available data and financing structures for health research and HPSR based on research in eight countries, including interviews with key stakeholders (n = 42). Results: Dollar depreciation and gross national product growth in the region may play a role in how governments fund research. There have been shifts in the political spectrum in governments, which have affected research coordination and funding in positive and negative ways. HPSR funding in some countries was dependent on budget decisions and although some have improved funding, others have regressed by decreasing funding or have completely cancelled financing mechanisms. Caribbean countries rely mainly on institutional funding. HPSR is recognised as important but remains underfunded; stakeholders believed it should be used more in decision making. Conclusion: Although HPSR is recognised as valuable for decision making and policy development it does not have the financial support required to flourish in Latin America and the Carribean. Data on health research financing were not easy to access. There was little or no evidence of published reports or papers about research financing, health research funding, and HPSR funding in particular in the studied countries Because of the fragility of health systems highlighted by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, HPSR should be of great relevance and value to both policy makers and funders.

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