There is increasing focus on evidence-informed decision making with the recognition that better informed decisions increase impact and value for money. An important step in strengthening the international development community's capacity for evidence-informed decision making is the production and dissemination of systematic reviews.
Strengthen the capacity to make evidence-informed decisions by providing rigorous and timely assessments of the evidence base to decision makers.
Build support for the use of systematic reviews to increase evidence-informed decision making.
Support the development of an institution to manage the creation and dissemination of systematic reviews as public goods.
Make it easier for policy makers and practitioners to develop evidence informed policy by using systematic reviews.
Increase the value for money of policy by basing decisions on a rigorous understanding of what works.
See the call information here.
Evidence-informed policy is about decisions based on the careful use of the most up-to-date evidence. Making policies and decisions in this way increases the success of policies, their value for money and their impact by basing decisions on what we know. This is important in international development, where limited funds are targeted at some of the world's most pressing problems.
There is currently an obstacle to developing evidence-informed policy in international development. While there is a lot of primary evidence, this is not being systematically and neutrally laid out and mediated to decision makers. The fact is policy makers and practitioners do not have the time to assess the evidence base for each policy or practice questions. They rely on single studies, well-placed experts or traditional and unsystematic scoping studies or literature reviews.
But individual studies, no matter how rigorous or scientific, are not a sufficient evidence base from which to make informed policy and practice decisions. There is a gap in the delivery of systematic assessment of development evidence, which presents a challenge to evidence-informed policy making.
Systematic reviews have been used in health, education and social policy to meet this need. Systematic reviews are a well-established and rigorous method to map the evidence base in an unbiased way as possible, assess the quality of the evidence and synthesize it. Systematic reviews can then be mediated in specific ways to make it easier for policy makers and practitioners to rapidly understand the body of evidence and use this as a strong foundation on which to base policy and practice decisions.
The Department for International Development is developing a program to develop and disseminate systematic reviews in international development that will neutrally map, quality grade and synthesize the evidence in international development.
A pilot is running from January-September 2010 that will test the approach by developing 25 systematic reviews. If this is successful, DFID will be supporting the creation of an independent and international collaboration to oversee the creation and dissemination of systematic reviews that will focus on creating public good outputs to the highest academic standard.
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Download the application form here
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