Sharing lessons from the ESRC-DFID Impact conference

Published on 8 April 2016

Last month, almost two hundred social scientists, donors and NGOs met in South Africa to explore how evidence and research has shaped the last ten years of addressing poverty at the The ‘Lessons from a Decade’s Research on Poverty: Innovation, Engagement and Impact’ conference. The conference highlighted the full breadth of research carried out during the lifetime of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Department for International Development (DFID) Joint Fund for Poverty Alleviation Research.

With academics, practitioners, policymakers and activists taking part, the conference provided the platform for reflection and looking to the future. It comes at a seminal point in time to identify key learning and knowledge which can help position researchers to more effectively respond to development policy agendas.

About the conference

Hosted by The Impact Initiative, the event included researchers that are supported from the Joint Fund’s 139 projects and their partners, donors, policy actors and practitioners. Attendees shared learning and forged new connections. Sessions addressed the co-construction of research with communities; research as political scrutiny and on the informal economy and crisis recovery, and much more. It delved into the challenges and successes of research uptake; exploring the themes of gender, disability, and health and nutrition, and included sessions on methods. Participants also had a lot of fun! The Cross-Sectoral Collaboration Game session led by Professor Ulrike Zeshan was the perfect antidote to death by PowerPoint.

Blog posts

In the run up to, during and following the event, advisory panel members and participants shared their reflections through a number of blog posts:

Other resources

The conversations and key ‘soundbites’ that took place at the conference, were captured by a scribe, Jorge Martin.

Interviews and personal reflections will be shared shortly.

What is The Impact Initiative?

The Impact Initiative for International Development Research exists to increase the uptake and impact of two programmes of research funded through the ESRC-DFID Strategic Partnership. These are: (i) The Joint Fund for Poverty Alleviation, and (ii) The Raising Learning Outcomes in Education Systems programme.

The Initiative helps identify synergies between these programmes and their grant holders, and supports them to exploit influencing and engagement opportunities and facilitates mutual learning. The Impact Initiative is a collaboration between the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and the University of Cambridge’s Research for Equitable Access and Learning (REAL) Centre.


For more details please contact:

[email protected]

[email protected]

All illustrations should be credited to Jorge Martin.

Key contacts

Kelly Shephard

Head of Knowledge, Impact and Policy


+44 (0)1273 915795

Vivienne Benson

Communications and Impact Manager


+44 (0)1273 915653


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