The physical sciences are fundamental to our ability to tackle the global challenges that humanity currently faces and physics sits at the heart of scientific innovation.
In June 2020, The Institute of Physics (IOP), the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) and a network of partners proposed an ambitious Africa-UK physics partnership programme to address the Global Challenges using the capabilities that physics can provide. The intent was for African nations to drive scientific solutions to the Global Challenges from a physics perspective and for the UK to be a partner in this endeavour.
INASP was commissioned to work with IoP and ACU to facilitate a workshop and develop a Theory of Change (ToC) for the programme proposal to be submitted to the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
This Theory of Change (ToC) workshop was one part of a long process to develop a proposal to convince the UK Government to fund a big multiyear programme to strengthen physics research and innovation in Africa. It was designed to build on the ACU/IOP Africa-UK physics partnership fund feasibility study.
That study itself drew on earlier work to map physics research and innovation capacity in Africa, and included a survey of universities and large-scale national research facilities, key informant interviews and focus group meetings.
INASP designed and facilitated an actor-focused workshop using the principles of outcome mapping with expert participants to translate the evidence in the feasibility report, into a high-level Theory of Change.
The workshop combined plenary and working group discussions across a series of 90 minute online sessions using online tools such as Mentimeter and Miro.
The workshop results in a comprehensive ToC for the programme with:
- Overall goal and outcome statements, and three high-level contributory outcomes
- Identification of priority stakeholders/boundary partners, intermediate Outcomes and inputs and preconditions for work with each of the priority stakeholder groups
- Identification of Interlinkages, assumptions and cross-cutting issues
The resulting ToC can be seen in section 1.3 of the Africa-UK Physics Partnership Programme Feasibility Study Report.