The Impact Initiative has closed. This website has now been archived and will no longer be updated.
The Impact Initiative has closed. This website has now been archived and will no longer be updated.

Vlog: How research evidence can influence change

Photograph: Arjan De Haan being interviewed for The Impact Initiative at the Power of Partnership conference in Delhi in December 2018. Photo credit: IDS/The Impact Initiative 2018.

May 2019

The ‘Power of Partnership: Research to Alleviate Poverty’ conference, held in New Delhi in December 2018, focused on the ESRC-DFID Joint Fund for Poverty Alleviation Research. It brought together over 100 researchers - funded through the Joint Fund - along with policy actors and practitioners, to look at how the evidence coheres around key policy issues and the role of partnerships in achieving impact.

During the conference, key staff from development and donor agencies including DFID, ESRC, IDRC and UNECA were interviewed to discuss the value of social science research evidence to influence policy and bring about change. They reflected on several key questions, including:

  • How can research evidence influence change?
  • What do you see as some of the big opportunities for research to be influencing development policy?

Articulating the messages research evidence sends to policy makers

Thokozile Ruzvidzo from UNECA talks about how research evidence can influence change

Thokozile Ruzvidzo, Director, African Centre for Gender and Social Development, UN Economic Commission for Africa, Ethiopia

Thokozile Ruzvidzo considers some of the key challenges that she faces in trying to promote evidence use to UNECA partners, and discusses what needs to be considered in relation to evidence that might be perceived as generated somewhere else, versus data that countries feel they have ownership of.

The importance of research evidence to inform decision making at the highest levels


Pamela Mason from ESRC talks about how research evidence can influence change

Pamela Mason, Strategic Lead for International Development, Economic and Social Research Council, UK

Pamela Mason reflects on the key learnings from the ESRC-DFID Joint Fund and considers why social science is so important for enhancing development and UK Aid Investment.

The role of research in informing the general public

Arjan De Haan from IDRC talks about how research evidence can influence change

Arjan De Haan, Director, Inclusive Economies, International Development Research Centre, Canada

Arjan De Haan discusses some of the intermediaries or channels that help connect research with more academic audiences, and reflects on the key challenges that he faces in trying to promote evidence use to IDRC partners. 

Why evidence is key for effective programming

Diana Dalton from DFID talks about how research evidence can influence change

Diana Dalton, Deputy Director, Research and Evidence Division, Department for International Development, UK

Diana Dalton considers the inclusion of processes that are effective in helping get research into action when designing a research call, the key challenges that DFID itself faces in promoting evidence use within UK government around development, how the DFID approach to commissioning and the use of research might develop in the future, and how the case can be made for social science, which can be a harder sell than applied science.

Thanks to all those who participated.

The Impact Initiative blog posts are either from individual researchers or from major research programmes. Some of the blog posts are original source and are written by researchers and experts connected to the two research programmes jointly funded by ESRC and FCDO: the Joint Fund for Poverty Alleviation Research and the Raising Learning Outcomes in Education Systems Research Programme. Other blog posts are imported from related websites and programmes. 

The views expressed in these blogs reflect the opinions of each individual and may not represent the Institute of Development Studies, the University of Cambridge, ESRC or FCDO.


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