Professional development course

Engaging Evidence and Policy for Social Change

Course details

From 24 July 2019 until 26 July 2019
Institute of Development Studies
£1600 Charities, civil society and public sector; £1200 Small charities (income under £10 million); £2000 Private sector
University of Sussex, Library Square. Credit: University of Sussex
University of Sussex, Library Square. Credit: University of Sussex

Help shape your organisation’s use of evidence and engagement with policy

With the global rise of inequality and conflict and the acute challenges facing the most socially and politically excluded, civil society organisations, charities and development agencies are increasingly concerned with how to effectively broker the knowledge of marginalised communities. Influencing decision makers and institutional practice with evidence requires an explicit focus on power and politics – seeking ways to promote positive change in highly complex policy environments.

During this unique learning experience you’ll join other organisations dedicated to social change to explore what we mean by evidence, whose knowledge really counts and how you can more effectively engage policy communities with the lived experiences of those whose voices often go unheard. You’ll acquire conceptually rigorous tools for promoting evidence informed policy and practice and with peer support adapt these to your own organisational context.

In addition to your three-days at IDS, the course includes an online learning exchange on 7 November 2019.

Course aims

To equip you with the concepts, skills and competencies required to operate effectively at the interface between policy and evidence. To enable you to design achievable plans to enhance your organisations’ or programmes’ capability to broker knowledge on behalf of marginalised communities and put these to the test.

Who should attend?

The programme is ideally suited to those 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.

Whether your key interests relate to: Understanding policy processes in a particular context, delivering evidence-informed policy advocacy, or adapting to fast-changing demands for evidence, we will help you locate your work in relation to the latest trends in knowledge for development.

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

How you’ll learn

The programme combines seminars delivered by leading international experts, peer learning group work and presentations on key technical areas with plenty of time for critical reflection. Over the three days at IDS you’ll develop a framework for strengthening evidence informed policy and practice focused around specific aspects of evidence literacy and adaptive policy engagement. You’ll then have the opportunity to validate concepts and test approaches in your organisation or sector before re-joining the cohort in April for an online facilitated knowledge exchange event.

Learning outcomes

After completing this course you will be able to:

  • Re-evaluate your organisations 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 coherent evidence informed policy offers.

Course contributors

Vivienne Benson, Communications Officer, IDS
Vivienne is a communications specialist in the IDS Knowledge, Impact and Policy Team. Her expertise ensures IDS research and knowledge reaches the right audiences, enabling the Institute to engage in key policy debates, link different perspectives and build new relationships. She has designed and delivered uptake strategies for a wide range of national and international research programmes.

Hannah Corbett, Head of Communications and Engagement, IDS
Hannah leads the Communications and Engagement team at IDS which is responsible for the coordination, planning and delivery of cross-institutional policy engagement, corporate communications, publishing and marketing. She has over 10 years of communications and policy engagement experience gained working in, and with, academic institutions, charities, and the public and private sectors.

James Georgalakis, Course Director, Director of Communications and Impact, IDS
James has worked predominantly in advocacy and policy communications roles over the past 20 years, joining IDS in 2010. Editor of the Social Realities of Knowledge for Development (IDS 2017), he has delivered learning events on policy engagement for researchers and practitioners to many university faculties, research organisations and NGOs in South Asia, Africa, Eastern and Central Europe and the UK. He is also Director of the Impact Initiative for International Development Research. He regularly blogs on research to policy processes.

Jessica Meaker, Knowledge Officer, IDS
Jessica is a Public Health Nutritionist (LSHTM) with research interests in malnutrition in all its forms and nutrition sensitive approaches. She works as a Knowledge Officer in the Knowledge, Impact and Policy team, co-ordinating a number of projects with a focus on research uptake, stakeholder engagement and policy influence.  Before joining IDS, Jessica worked in the Policy and Advocacy department for Save the Children UK and at the Centre for International Health and Development, UCL where she worked on developing a competency framework for staff working in emergency settings.

Alan Stanley, Knowledge Manager, IDS
Alan has over 20 years’ experience developing and delivering high quality websites, digital content and publications on a broad range of development and environmental issues. A key theme throughout his work has been promoting open and equitable access to information using digital technologies. He manages Eldis  – one of the leading global portals providing access to research on international development.

Dr Stephen Thompson, Research Officer, IDS
Stephen Thompson is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the Participation, Inclusion and Social Change Cluster. He is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He primarily works on the ‘Inclusion Works’ and ‘Disability Inclusive Development’ programmes, which focus on disability inclusion in low income settings. He has worked for both research institutes and non-government organisations in both Europe and Africa. He completed his doctorate at the Technological University Dublin, as an African Vision Research Institute Post Graduate Student. Stephen previously worked on the ‘Knowledge and Evidence for Development’ programme at IDS, assisting the UK Department for International Development with evidence use and policy creation.

Please note that course faciliators my be subject to change.

Entry requirements

All participants will be expected to join the online knowledge exchange event on 7 Nov 2019.

The course is taught in English. To derive the maximum benefit from the course, you 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. Ideally you will 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 fees

Course fees include lunches and refreshments, an evening group dinner, and course materials. It does not include accommodation.

  • £1600 Charities, civil society and public sector
  • £1200 Small charities (income under £10 million)
  • £2000 Private sector

Once you have received confirmation that your application has been approved, the fee must be paid in full on receipt of invoice.

Scholarships and bursaries

IDS alumni bursary
We are pleased offer one bursary for IDS alumni. This single award, funded by IDS, is in the form of a 20 per cent course fee discount. It is subject to terms and conditions, and will be offered to one applicant on a first-come first-served basis. Please indicate on your application form that you wish to be considered for this bursary.

How to apply

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

The application procedure is a three-stage process:

Stage 1: Apply by completing the online application form. Deadline for applications is 17 June 2019. The course code is KM/18012.

Stage 2: You will be notified within one month 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). Please note that UK visa applications can take months to process. 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.

Course reviews

“The course strengthened by 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. It was a fun way of learning and improving my skills.” – Aileen Patricia ODonovan, Deputy Head of Development, Irish Aid Ethiopia

“Joining this short course provided a great opportunity to learn from IDS methodologies and approaches, especially around framing evidence for policy change. Being able to spend three days at IDS with a really fascinating group of other students (consultants, government officials, and fellow NGO staff) allowed me to learn and consider how evidence can better inform my work, thereby making me a stronger and more effective advocate in global policy spaces.” – Kathryn Tobin, Advocacy Coordinator, WaterAid

Teaching staff

Image of James Georgalakis
James Georgalakis

Director of Communications and Impact

Image of Vivienne Benson
Vivienne Benson

Communications Officer

Image of Jessica Meeker
Jessica Meeker

Knowledge Officer

Image of Alan Stanley
Alan Stanley

Digital Knowledge Manager

Image of Hannah Corbett
Hannah Corbett

Head of Communications and Engagement


About this professional development course

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