Innovations in Making Evidence Useful – IPPO Event Series

From September 2023, IPPO will begin a series of public, online events on new methods for mobilising evidence for greatest impact, to guide researchers, policymakers and intermediaries.

Details for every session will be updated here. Please also sign up to our newsletter to get further insight into all of our work.

New Digital Tools For Linking Evidence to Action

This discussion will explore how new tools are improving our ability to synthesise evidence and more clearly connect research evidence with public policy outcomes.

Our speakers are:

  • Basil Mahfouz, a PhD student in UCL Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (STEaPP), who is looking at novel ways to map the links between research supply and demand by looking at the dynamics of the spread of research.
  • Tom Wilkinson, Chief Data Officer in the Scottish Government, a specialist in the field of collective intelligence, who is building tools to help networks of people and computers make better decisions than any one individual.
  • James Thomes, deputy director of the EPPI Centre, a leading centre of excellence for research synthesis and its methodology.
  • Boaz Kwakkel, Cisco Associate System Engineer, who will be discussing automatic policy paper generation using research embeddings and Large Language Models.

September 5th, 2023: 14:00-15:00. Watch the recording here and read our post here.

How to Commission Rapid Evidence Assessments for Policy

The discussion will explore what are the best ways to fast track research synthesis while maintaining academic rigour? And what should be the future of rapid synthesis of research?

Join our panel discussion event that marks the release of our latest report: “Rapid Evidence Assessments: A Guide for Commissioners, Funders, and Policymakers.” written in partnership with UK Post Parliament, Rapid Research Evaluation and Approach (RREAL) and Capabilities in Academic Policy Management (CAPE).

As part of a series of IPPO events on Innovations in Evidence, we invite the panel to reflect on how to manage rapid reviews to get the best outcomes, lessons learned—or lost—from the COVID pandemic, and the future of rapid reviews for policymakers, followed by a Q&A. A copy of the report will also be shared with attendees after the event.

The event will be chaired by Jonathan Breckon, Thematic Director, International Public Policy Observatory, and guest speakers include:

• Andrea Tricco, Associate Professor, University of Toronto; lead co-author of the WHO guide on rapid reviews

• Sandy Oliver, Deputy Director, EPPI Centre, and co-author of the Commissioning Guide

• Harry Achillini, Evidence Synthesis Lead, Research and Evidence Division, Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, UK

October 31st, 2023: 15:00 – 16.30. Watch the recording here and read more here.

Systems Mapping: Best Approaches and What Works for Policy Design

This discussion will look at the potential for systems maps to provide a common picture of how things work. We’ll look at where evidence is strong and weak, and who has the power to influence change, in fields ranging from net zero to poverty.

We’ll discuss what are the best approaches to systems mapping, and explore how academics can use these techniques to give policymakers a clearer understanding of social complexity.

With presentations from Viliana Dzhartova of Reimagined Futures, Alex Penn of CECAN, Roisin Dillon who won the Map the System Global competition in 2018, Alice Louka leads the Map the System programme, and Tom Hughes, senior policy adviser from the National Infrastructure Commission, we’ll explore how academics can use these techniques to give policymakers a clearer understanding of social complexity.

November 1st, 2023: 14:00 -15:00. Watch the recording here and read more here.

Transferability of Understanding: It Might Work, But Not For Everyone

This discussion looks at the question of transferability: if something works in one place and time, how do we know if it will work in others? We’ll be looking at the many frameworks and methods for helping assess and adapt evidence, and how these might evolve in the future, including lessons from other fields including business.

Speakers include:

David Halpern, the ‘What Works’ National Adviser since 2013 and Chief Executive of the Behavioural Insights Team, Robyn Mildon, CEO of the Centre for Evidence and Implementation, Dylan Kneale from the EPPI Centre and Sir Geoff Mulgan, IPPO’s Co Principal Investigator.

December 6th, 2023: 13:00-14:00. Watch the recording here.

Using Evidence during Crises and Fast-Paced Policy Environments

As part of our Innovations in Evidence series, this discussion looks at how evidence can be used in fast-moving situations, from pandemics, riots and fires to financial crises.

Government policy making often happens under intense time pressures. These can result from both endogenous and exogenous drivers factors – not only crises (from pandemics to natural disasters) but also political commitments and public expectations of action. These situations involve conditions of high uncertainty, and the need to make critical decisions with wide-ranging impacts at great speed. To meet these challenges governments must quickly identify and employ the best available sources of evidence. These fast-paced policy contexts require a reconsideration of what kinds of evidence are relevant, valued and able to be absorbed when working under pressure.

Our speakers include Eleanor Williams who is leading the recently launched Australian Centre for Evaluation (ACE) – an organisation that aims to support and amplify evidence of what works in the Australian public sector, Arjen Boin, Professor of Public Institutions and Governance, Leiden University and Carrie Heitmeyer, Head of Social Science at the Government Office for Science (Go Science).

January 25th, 2024: 10:00-11.00 GMT. Watch the recording here.

Lived Experience, Lived Expertise and Evidence

Researchers are increasingly looking to bring ‘lived experience’ – knowledge from people with first-hand experience of a social issue or issues – into their analysis of how policy can solve socio-economic problems.

There is growing acknowledgment of the unique perspectives lived experience can provide, and the importance of including lived experience evidence to build trust between policy-makers and the groups their decisions will affect. Yet doing lived experience research meaningfully requires significant resource, and translating experiences into policy isn’t always straightforward.

As part of our Innovations in Evidence series, this discussion will focus specifically on the process of translating qualitative research and lived experience evidence into policy-making, and the process of influencing decision-makers with this kind of evidence.

How much do we know and understand about using lived experience as evidence to influence policy? What are the benefits and challenges of a ‘lived experience’ approach? And how exactly do you translate the stories of those with lived experiences into concrete recommendations for policy?

This event will be chaired by Urte Macikene, Policy Evidence Lead at the International Public Policy Observatory, with contributions from Dr. Debbie Foster, Professor of Employment Relations and Diversity at Cardiff University, Emily Morrison, Director of Sustainability and JUST Transition and Interim Director for the Institute for Community Studies and Rebecca Curtayne, External Affairs Manager at Healthwatch England.

Please note this event will be recorded and made publicly available.

Thursday 22nd February, 2024: 15:30 – 16.30 – Watch the recording via this link.

Evidence Ecosystems: What Have We Learned, What Makes Them work?

Over the last few decades the UK and other countries have tried to create more sophisticated systems for linking evidence to decision-making, particularly in government and public services. Dozens of institutions play their part in this system, including many intermediary organisations, some of which are quite big such as NICE and EEF.

In this session we’ll examine what’s been learned. How has the supply of evidence connected to demand? Why did many intermediaries choose to focus on professional practice rather than policy? Why has it proven hard to engage politicians? What’s the right balance between direct communication of evidence to policy-makers and indirect communication via the media? What should the UK be learning from other countries?

The event will be chaired by Sir Geoff Mulgan, Co-Investigator and Thematic Director for Net Zero and Place and Spatial Inequalities. We will also hear from people closely involved in the UK evidence ecosystem and discuss both what’s been learned, and possible priorities for the future. Guest speakers include:

  • James Canton, Deputy Director of Public Policy and Engagement at ESRC
  • Will Moy, CEO at Campbell Collaboration

Tuesday 9th April, 2024: 15:00 – 16:00 – Please sign up via this link.

How Data Can Best Be Used for Smart Policymaking

This hour-long, online discussion will examine the key ideas around how data can inform policymaking, so we can better manage and deliver our public services.

Speakers will include:

  • Dr Emma Gordon, Director of ADR UK (Administrative Data Research UK) and Interim Deputy Editor‑in‑Chief of The International Journal of Population Data Science (IJPDS)
  • Prof Jennifer Symonds, Director of CLOSER, the interdisciplinary partnership of leading social and biomedical longitudinal population studies, the UK Data Service and The British Library.
  • Mary Gregory, Director of Population Statistics at the Office for National Statistics (ONS)
  • Theo Blackwell, Chief Digital Officer for London

Thursday June 27th, 2024: 13:00 – 14:00. Please sign up via this link.

The Art and Craft of Knowledge Mobilisation

This discussion will explore the role of knowledge brokers, mechanisms for knowledge mobilisation, and processes and toolkits that can support that activity.