Professional development course

Shaping Policy with Evidence (online)

Course details

From 18 January 2022 until 17 February 2022

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Complete the online application form

Gain the skills and knowledge to shape policy with evidence more effectively.

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.

You will join research programme managers, government officials and policy advocates to explore what we mean by evidence, whose knowledge really counts and how you can more effectively engage and shape policy with evidence. You will acquire conceptually rigorous tools for analysing policy context, identifying and assessing policy relevant research and framing it for policy. The course attracts a diverse range of evidence producers and users, advisors and advocates, which provides you with a unique opportunity to share learning and reflect on your own organisational context and how to make better use of research.

Unfortunately we are unable to offer scholarships for this course.

Course aims

To equip you with the concepts, skills and competencies required to operate effectively at the interface between policy and research. To enable you to design achievable plans to produce, review and communicate research and to enhance your capacity to deliver rigorous compelling evidence-based policy offers.

Who should attend?

The programme is ideally suited to those leading policy and research in their organisation or programme 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, developing proposal winning evidence uptake strategies, or adapting to fast-changing demands for research, we will help you locate your work in relation to the theory and latest trends in knowledge for development.

You will 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.

Previous clients include: Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nigeria; Ministry of Public Works, Chile; Ministry of Agrarian, Territorial and Urban Development, Mexico; Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology;  African Population and Health Research Centre; Oxfam Novib; Rainforest Alliance; UNDP; UNICEF; International Growth Centre; Irish Aid; Foreign and Commonwealth and Development Office, UK; Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, UK; GIZ; Queen Rania Foundation; Save the Children; Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine; International Water Management Institute; International Livestock Research Institute; International Committee of the Red Cross; Haiti Impact Group, Open Doors International; Water Aid.

How you’ll learn

Our online programme combines lectures, peer learning webinars, group work, and presentations. Through the course, you will develop a framework for strengthening evidence-informed policy and practice focused around specific aspects of evidence literacy and adaptive policy engagement. 

A pre-course induction, to introduce the digital learning platform and help you with any technical queries, will take place on Wednesday 12 January. 

The course will run over five weeks starting on Tuesday 18 January and finishing on Thursday 17 February 2022.

It will require six to eight hours of your time per week. This will consist of a mix of lectures and live webinars, small group sessions, facilitated group work and self-directed learning.

The course has been designed to allow you to work as flexibly as possible but approximately 2.5 hours per week will be made up of scheduled sessions at fixed times. Webinars and study groups will take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 12:00 and 14:30pm UK GMT. You will be assigned a course facilitator and to a small study group and be able to keep the conversation going via a dedicated online channel throughout the course. Pre-recorded lectures, presentations and reading materials, along with a comprehensive workbook, will be made available in advance. 

The timing of sessions will be confirmed and agreed with participants once registration has closed. Whilst we will try to accommodate participants needs and adjust to take account of different time zones, it may not be possible to accommodate everyone so some flexibility will be required.  

Learning outcomes

After completing this course you will be able to:

  • Re-evaluate your 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.

What our participants say

“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

Course convenor

James Georgalakis, IDS Director of Communications and Impact
James has worked predominantly in advocacy and policy communications roles over the past 20 years, joining IDS in 2010. He has designed and 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 Directed the ESRC-FCDO Impact Initiative for International Development Research and leads the IDRC COVID-19 Response for Equity (CORE) programme. His Doctoral research explores the role of networks and relationships in the mobilisation of research knowledge for development.

Entry requirements

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.

Participants will need an internet connection sufficient to stream live video (Zoom, Facetime or similar) in order to engage fully with the course 

Course fees

£995 per person

Once you have received confirmation that your application has been approved, the fee must be paid in full to secure your place on the course.

Charities, civil society and public sector

A limited number of discounted places (20 per cent discount) are also available for participants from small not-for-profit organisations (income under £10 million), plus civil society and public sector organisations in low income countries. This is at the discretion of the course convenor. Please indicate in your application if you wish to be considered for this discount.

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 booking Terms_and_Conditions  (pdf) and IDS 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 16:00 GMT, 7 January 2022.

Stage 2: You will be notified within one week as to whether your application has been approved or not. Successful applicants will receive the registration 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.

This is course is run regularly. To register your interest in future sessions, please contact us at: [email protected]

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Teaching staff

Image of James Georgalakis
James Georgalakis

Director of Communications and Impact

Image of Jessica Meeker
Jessica Meeker

Knowledge Officer

Image of Tom Barker
Tom Barker

Senior Health & Nutrition Convenor

Image of Vivienne Benson
Vivienne Benson

Communications and Impact Manager

Key contacts

Image of Leah Plati
Leah Plati

Programme Officer (MA) Programme Manager (Short Courses)


+44 (0)1273 915832


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