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Case study

Specialist short course:
'Shaping Policy with Evidence' (online)

This five-week online specialist short course equipped participants with the concepts, skills and competencies required to operate effectively at the interface between policy and research. Since we began running the course in 2019, we have helped to build the capacity of more than 115 individuals to make better use of evidence for the production of viable policy options.

Dates
Delivered twice yearly, since 2019.
Approximate cost
£995 per person
Format
Five-week online course.
Location
Online (live and pre-recorded) using Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Mural.

Objective

To equip participants with the skills and knowledge to shape policy with evidence more effectively.

Relevance

There is increasing pressure on government officials, research programmes and NGOs to make better use of evidence for the production of viable policy options. Influencing decision makers with evidence and contributing to policy formulation requires an explicit focus on power and politics in highly complex policy environments. The course equips participants with the concepts, skills and competencies required to operate effectively at the interface between policy and research. It enables them to design achievable plans to produce, review and communicate research and to enhance their capacity to deliver rigorous compelling evidence-based policy offers.

Design

Participants join an international cohort of policy and evidence innovators from governments, development agencies, charities, social enterprises and research organisations, to share learning and gain new insights into improving policy processes through better use of evidence.

The Knowledge, Impact and Policy Cluster at IDS leads the course and brings a wealth of experience in the theory and practice of engaging knowledge with change processes.

The course combines lectures, peer learning webinars, group work, and presentations.

Participants are assigned a course facilitator and small study group to help keep the conversation going via a dedicated online channel throughout the course.

Pre-recorded lectures, presentations and reading materials, along with a comprehensive workbook, are provided in advance.

Delivery

The facilitation team and speakers include:

Participants

The course attracts individuals leading policy and research in their organisations or programmes who are seeking to enhance their evidence literacy and policy engagement capacity to become more effective advocates for social change.

Past participants include:

  • Communications Advisor at Christian Aid UK
  • Country Office Manager, International Development Law Organisation, Kenya
  • Engagement Officer on the Global Impact team at the Institute for Health Metrics & Evaluation
  • Members of the UNICEF China Social Policy team
  • Programme Coordinator at the CGIAR GENDER Platform
  • Researcher at the School for Development Studies of the University of Cape Coast, Ghana

Participant numbers

  • Approximately 30 participants per course.

Impact

Since we began running this course in 2019, we have helped to build the capacity of more than 115 individuals to make better use of make better use of evidence for the production of viable policy options.
Each course has enabled participants to:

  • Re-evaluate their organisation’s or programme’s use of evidence and theories of change.
  • Adapt to fast-changing policy demands and deploy new tools for understanding how change happens in a particular context.
  • Systematically identify and appraise policy relevant evidence.
  • Frame research for policy and practice and develop compelling evidence informed policy offers.

The course has resulted in a number of follow-up requests for technical support or partnerships including tailored courses or learning events for the Ministry of Education in Jordan, and the Regional Durable Solutions Secretariat (the NGO Coalition for durable solutions for displacement-affected communities in East Africa and the Horn of Africa.)

Overall, the entire course was amazing, rich, informative and powerful – and delivered in a smooth and friendly way. I found the ‘power analysis’ and ‘learning and engagement’ components of the course particularly interesting and the case study was a good opportunity to test all the learnings as we went.
- Ali Al-Agri, Social Policy Specialist, UNICEF, Yemen
The course strengthened my understanding of the link between evidence and the politics of influencing social change in a complex world. I particularly enjoyed the networking and interaction with people from different disciplines across the globe.
- Aileen Patricia ODonovan, Deputy Head of Development, Irish Aid Ethiopia
The course is unique in that it connects topics related to the production of evidence to the use of evidence in policy making and influencing. It broadened my understanding of the different types of evidence – beyond scientific research – and their legitimacy to inform policies.
- Henk Gilhuis, Manager of Science & Impacts, Rainforest Alliance

The first lecture from the IDS Shaping Policy with Evidence course

Key contacts

About this case study

Research themes
Evidence into policy

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