Transforming Nutrition: Ideas, Policies and Outcomes

Monday 16 July 2018 - Friday 20 July 2018 09:00-17:00
Institute of Development Studies

Available for purchase December 20, 2017

URGENT ANNOUNCEMENT: We are experiencing some technical issues with our online payment system. If you make an online application and DO NOT receive a confirmation email please email who will confirm whether your application has been received.

Learn and network with leaders in nutrition policy and practice to develop more effective approaches to eliminating malnutrition in all its forms. 

Photo of African child being measured for height

This course guides participants through cutting-edge knowledge and evidence on nutrition globally. Using an interactive diagnostic approach, you will learn to apply such knowledge to specific national or sub-national situations to identify strategic areas for nutrition action. The course is designed to provide a base from which you can develop your own future leadership for transformational change in nutrition.

During the five-day course, you will interact with and learn from highly qualified, experienced professionals from leading organisations in the field, including Inka Barnett and Jody Harris (IDS),  Purnima Menon (IFPRI, India), and Lawrence Haddad (Director of GAIN, former co-chair of the Global Nutrition Report and one of the founders of the course).

"This course provides an excellent overview of global public health nutrition and of key policy developments. For me, it was a great opportunity to update my knowledge on the latest evidence of what works and to meet others working on similar issues. It was also a great opportunity to discuss challenges on the ground and exchange views of how best we can address these. I thoroughly enjoyed the week, including the social events organised by IDS, and felt re-energised by the end of it." (Silke Seco-Grutz, Human Development Adviser, DFID Participant 2012)

"It's really quite exciting, learning with people from other countries... what I've realised is that what we really need to look at is what we're doing down there especially making sure we streamline our interventions based on evidence... I have learnt for instance, that water and sanitation has to be child centred. So my intention is to take this kind of evidence back to my programme and realign my own thinking, my own strategic and development plans, to make sure that they orientated based on evidence." (Kabir Aliyu, Director of Primary Health Care, Jigawa State in Nigeria Participant 2015)

Course aims

To equip development policymakers and practitioners with the knowledge and skills to more effectively design, improve and implement strategic approaches to address nutrition issues at regional, national and global levels.  

Who is the course for?

 Mid- and senior-level professionals working in government, think tanks, bilateral or multilateral agencies, NGOs, media organisations, or community organisations, and others who want to accelerate and intensify their own efforts to address malnutrition and influence others in this area.

The course is not intended as a course in programme design, but will equip leaders to understand the data and evidence necessary for relevant situational diagnostics and strategic choice-making to craft appropriate policy and programmatic responses to malnutrition.

How will you learn?

Now in its seventh year, this professional short course has been shaped in response to the positive feedback from previous participants. The course is divided into modules where you will explore the nature, causes and consequences of malnutrition and ways of addressing malnutrition in all its forms. Individual and group exercises and discussions focus on helping you build a solid understanding of the nutrition situation at a global and country level, learning from examples of country-level successes in nutrition, interpret data and evidence, and develop strategy.

Learning outcomes

After completing the course you will be better able to contribute to accelerating the reduction of undernutrition in your sphere of influence by deepening your understanding of the following concepts and issues:

  • The differences between undernutrition, malnutrition, food insecurity, hunger and hidden hunger
  • The distribution of undernutrition and links to wider forms of malnutrition
  • The causes and consequences of malnutrition
  • What works where in addressing malnutrition and its determinants
  • How to assess what works and why
  • How to contribute to creating an enabling environment for nutrition, from policy to implementation.

You will also join a growing network of nutrition leaders and champions, comprising previous cohorts of the course. As part of this supportive peer network you have the opportunity to  engage with other alumni members and broaden existing networks; join discussion forums and online dialogues; become an IDS Ambassador; and share best practice for mutual learning with alumni at local and international events. 

See the Storify from last year's course

Teaching team

Inka Barnett is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies. She is a nutritionist (LSHTM) and Epidemiologist (University of Cambridge). Inka is currently leading several projects for IDS on the use of digital technologies for nutrition service delivery in Africa and South East Asia. Previously she worked for Young Lives, a longitudinal study on childhood poverty in Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam based at the Department of International Development, University of Oxford. For the last 15 years she has conducted research on health and nutrition-related projects, including projects on water and sanitation supply in West Africa, agricultural interventions for HIV/Aids infected communities in Africa and famine early warning systems in Ethiopia.

Jody Harris is a nutritionist with a research interest in nutrition policy and politics. She has ten years of experience in international nutrition research and practice in various contexts in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly Zambia. Jody is currently leading research into aspects of nutrition policy processes in various countries. She holds a visiting fellowship to Johns Hopkins University Global Food Ethics and Policy Program, under which she is investigating the ethics of international nutrition policy and the role of a ‘right to nutrition’ in national policy. She is also principal investigator to support the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Secretariat in understanding multi-stakeholder platforms (MSPs) for nutrition in order to improve MSP design in 59 SUN countries.

Lawrence Haddad is Executive Director of GAIN. Prior to this, he was Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in the Poverty, Health and Nutrition Division. From 2004-2014 Lawrence was the Director of IDS. He was also the UK’s representative on the Steering Committee of the High Level Panel of Experts of the UN’s Committee on World Food Security. Before joining IDS, he was Director of the Food Consumption and Nutrition Division at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).  He has published extensively on issues of poverty and nutrition and was the founding co-chair of the Global Nutrition Report from 2014 to 2016.

Purnima Menon is Senior Research Fellow in IFPRI's Poverty, Health and Nutrition Division, and is based at IFPRI's Asia office in New Delhi, India. She conducts applied nutrition research in the South Asia region, with a focus on programmes and policies to improve maternal and child nutrition. She directs POSHAN Partnerships and Opportunities to Strengthen and Harmonize Actions for Nutrition in India), a multi-year initiative to build evidence, partnerships and communications to improve nutrition policy and program actions for nutrition in India. She has worked on programme evaluations in countries as diverse as Haiti, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Ethiopia and Vietnam. She is a member of the independent expert group for the Global Nutrition Report, the Countdown to 2030 coverage measurement group and routinely advises policymakers in diverse contexts.

Entry requirements

It is essential that participants have some experience of working in the field of nutrition and have a personal or organisational goal to accelerate and intensify their own efforts to address malnutrition and influence others in this area.

The course is taught in English. To derive the maximum benefit from the course, participants should be proficient in English and able to take an active part in discussions. Your English needs to be of an intermediate standard or higher; participants must have an International English Language Test System (IELTS) score of 6.5 or above, or a Common European Framework for Languages (CEFR)score of B2 or above. 

Course fee

The course costs £2350. This fee includes course fees and all materials, lunch, refreshments, two evening meals and a drinks reception on the final day. It does not include accommodation, travel or insurance.

Once you have received confirmation that your application has been approved, the fee must be paid in full before the course commences.


We are offering four fully-funded and one partly-funded (covering 20 per cent of course fees) scholarships for this course. The fully-funded scholarships have been endowed by Irish Aid; the partly-funded scholarship is supported by IDS.

The fully-funded scholarships cover course fees (£2350) and essential travel, visa and living costs to the maximum value of £1650. You will need to fund any additional travel and living costs yourself.

To be eligible for the fully-funded scholarship you must:

- Be a national of and currently living in one of the follwing lower- or middle-income countries with a high burden of malnutrition: Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam, Zambia.

- Be a leader within a national, provincial or local government institution with a remit to tackle malnutrition (for example Department of Education, Health or Agriculture, on policy formulation or delivery); OR be a member of staff within a civil society organisation (that is focused upon programme delivery, research, advocacy or achieving changes in social norms relevant to nutrition); OR a journalist looking to significantly improve your coverage of nutrition in your own country and beyond.

The partly-funded scholarship covers course fees to the maximum value of £470. You will need to fund the remainder of the course fees, travel, visa and living costs yourself.

To be eligible for the partly-funded scholarship you must:

- Be an IDS alumni AND demonstrate through your previous experience and future plans, that you are committed to working to improve nutrition outcomes in your home country.

These scholarships are assigned based on a highly competitive process, so if you can secure funding from your organisation you will have a greater chance of obtaining a place on the course.

To apply for a scholarship, please complete the relevant sections in the short course onlinen application form. For all enquiries about scholarships for this course, please contact Leah Plati (

How to apply

Before applying please read our Terms and Conditions (pdf).

The application procedure is a three-stage process:

Stage 1: Apply by completing the online application form at the top of this page. Deadline for applications is midnight 16 April (deadline extended from original date of Sunday 17 March 2018).

Stage 2: You will be notified by 20 May 2018 as to whether your application has been approved or not. Successful applicants will receive the Stage 2 application form and an invoice for the course fee. Places on the course are not guaranteed until fees have been received.

Stage 3: Once fees have been received, you will be sent confirmation of your place on the course and a letter to support your visa application (if required).

You are responsible for organising your own travel and visas (where needed). Information about local accommodation will be provided by the course coordinator once your fees have been processed. A limited number of study bedrooms at IDS are available for rent on a first come first served basis.


Image: Brian Soko / IDRC / Panos

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