Professional development course

Shaping Policy with Evidence

Course details

From 30 March 2020 until 1 April 2020
Institute of Development Studies
£1600 Charities, civil society and public sector; £1200 Small charities (income under £10 million); £2000 Private sector

Coronavirus update

To help limit the spread of Coronavirus, this course has been postponed. If you have any queries about the course, please contact our Short Course Coordinator.

Transform your use of evidence for policy and practice

There is increasing pressure on government officials, research programmes and NGOs to make better use of evidence to produce viable policy options. Influencing decision makers and contributing to policy formulation and implementation with research requires an explicit focus on power and politics – seeking ways to promote positive change in highly complex policy environments.

“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.” – Aileen Patricia ODonovan, Deputy Head of Development, Irish Aid Ethiopia

You’ll 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’ll 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.

“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

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’ll 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: BBC Media Action, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nigeria; International Indigenous Women’s Forum; International Growth Centre, Irish Aid; Macedonian Center for International Cooperation; Queen Rania Foundation; Save the Children; Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology; UNICEF; University of Sussex; UN Women; Water Aid.

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.

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.

Course contributors

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. 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.

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.

Jessica Meeker, 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.

Louise Clark, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Manager, IDS

Louise has worked as a monitoring, evaluation and learning professional for the past 10 years, in which time she has worked for both Oxfam America and Action Aid International and as an independent evaluator. She has a particular interest in Theory of Change as a tool to build shared ownership of project outcomes and to challenge assumptions about how change happens to support learning and improvement.

Please note that course facilitators may be subject to change.

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.

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 to secure your place on the course.

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

Coronavirus update (13 March 2020): To help reduce the spread of Coronavirus, this course has been postponed until further notice. We know from our research on epidemics that community action is an essential part of effective responses, and this has informed our decision to put in place this measure. Registered participants have been contacted.  Applications will re-open once a new course date has been set. If you have any queries about the course, please contact the Short Course Coordinator.

Teaching staff

Image of James Georgalakis
James Georgalakis

Director of Communications and Impact

Image of Alan Stanley
Alan Stanley

Digital Knowledge Manager

Image of Louise Clark
Louise Clark

MEL Manager

Image of Hannah Corbett
Hannah Corbett

Head of Communications and Engagement

Image of Jessica Meeker
Jessica Meeker

Knowledge Officer


About this professional development course

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