In a world flooded with information from a multitude of sources, collecting, managing, making sense of and communicating knowledge, or evidence, is highly challenging.
INASP and partners have been commissioned by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) to design and deliver short Masterclasses, as part of the JRC’s work to bring together policy makers and researchers to explore skills and tools for increased uptake of scientific evidence in policy making. Our Masterclasses draw on our expertise in participatory workshop design and adult learning approaches to enable researchers and policymakers to learn from each other and strengthen opportunities for dialogue.
These Masterclasses have been delivered at the following events
Evidence Informed Policy Making Seminar: Water-Energy-Food-Health, December 2018, Pretoria, South Africa.
Bringing together 130 early to mid-career policymakers and scientists from across the African continent, the event was organized by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) and hosted in partnership with the South African Department of Science and Technology (DST), African Academy of Sciences (AAS), UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA).
Evidence and Policy Summer School: Science, Policy and Demography: September 2018, Laxenburg, Austria
Bringing together early to mid-career scientists and policymakers from Europe, the event was organised by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), in collaboration with the International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA) and the Global Young Academy (GYA).
EU-AU-IIASA Evidence and Policy Event: Water- Energy- Food Nexus, September 2016, Ispra, Italy
Jointly organised by the African Union and the European Commission, this event was held under the auspices of the Joint EU-Africa Strategy and gathered over 100 African and EU scientists and policymakers to develop new skills in evidence-informed policymaking.
Use of evidence in parliaments’ Masterclass
INASP partnered with the African Centre for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA) to design and deliver a short workshop to strengthen researchers’ and civil servants’ understanding about how African parliaments function and use evidence, drawing on our co-authored paper on the subject as well as case studies from the water, energy, food and health nexus in Africa.
The masterclass served as an introductory workshop to familiarise participants with some of the key functions of parliaments, how evidence is used in relation to these, and how they could consider strengthening their engagement with parliaments. Participants gained a stronger understanding of the important role parliament plays in democratic accountability, and the critical function of evidence within this; as well as some practical ideas about how they could engage with their own parliaments.
‘Understanding the demand side of evidence use’ Masterclass
This highly participatory workshop used the Context Matters Framework to explore opportunities (entry points) for improved evidence use and organisational change, and implications for policymakers and researchers. Participants co-developed ideas to improve evidence informed policy making in public institutions in the area of water, energy, food and health.
Policy-making participants gained an enhanced insight into institutional contexts and explored ideas to promote an evidence culture in their organisations. Research participants gained an understanding of the challenges policymakers face in their use of evidence in policy decisions (eg. accessibility, institutional and cultural constraints, capacity), and approaches to help address them.
Masterclass on Strengthening dialogue for research impact
INASP facilitated this masterclass to strengthen communications and engagement skills between scientists and policymakers.
Building on the combined experience of scientists and policymakers in the room, the session sought to enhance collective understanding of the research-policy interface, and from there, to co-develop practical recommendations for action in the workplace.
The workshop highlighted the importance of ‘soft skills’ such as active listening and non-verbal communication to better improve engagement, offering policymakers and researchers the opportunity to put these and other skills from the JRC’s Skills Map into practice. Participants shared practical tips from their experience on how to improve the use of evidence in migration policy in Europe at different stages of the policy cycle.
As a result of the session, participants gained a better appreciation of the importance of understanding each other’s views to improve effective engagement.
Masterclass: Stimulating Effective Engagement
In partnership with CommsConsult, INASP facilitated this short workshop aiming to strengthen trust between researchers and policymakers working on water, food and energy. Using role play activities and case studies, participants explored different methods for oral and written communication of evidence, including presentations and policy briefs. The workshop encouraged policymakers and scientists to differentiate ‘dissemination’ from communication and research uptake, focusing on practical skills for developing and clear messages for policymakers in both African and European contexts.