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12 January 2022, 12:37 UTC Share

Engaging with Evidence Toolkit

A toolkit on how to utilise, synthesise, scrutinise, and engage with evidence and expertise for policy development.

This toolkit was created by Nesta in partnership with CAPE and the Chief Scientific Adviser’s (CSA) Office at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). It will help you to understand how to harness data, information, knowledge, and wisdom (aka evidence) to inform live problems, and understand what ‘good’ and ‘better’ evidence use means in policy practice. It will also support you to access diverse forms of expertise and engage with the UK scientific community to progress your goals.

It offers a range of interactive activities that you can use to determine what evidence and expertise is needed for what purposes – and the principles, processes, methodologies, and tools that can support this work. We call these evidence use and expert engagement capabilities.

Key Features

  • This open access toolkit weaves together a range of case studies, content, and activities that are grounded in existing practice and signpost to supporting literature.
  • The toolkit is designed to be used by teams or groups working through the activities and exercises together.
  • Activities within the toolkit can be completed in interactive PDF format, or printed for use in workshops or team sessions. Time estimates for subsections have been provided throughout to help you use the tools you need at the times you need them.
  • The toolkit was designed for people working in UK policy and delivery professions, but the tools are relevant for any project or group interested in improving capabilities for evidence use and expert engagement.

About CAPE

Capabilities in Academic Policy Engagement (CAPE) is a knowledge exchange and research project funded by Research England from 2020-2024, which has been exploring how to support effective and sustained engagement between academics and policy professionals. The project is a partnership between UCL and the Universities of Cambridge, Manchester, Northumbria and Nottingham in collaboration with the Government Office for Science, the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology, Nesta and the Transforming Evidence Hub.

About CAPE Resources

CAPE’s resources have been developed collaboratively with their policy partners and using practice-based experience. The toolkits and guides are designed to be flexible so they can be adapted to meet the specific needs of different university and policy systems. All resources are intended as an entry point into addressing common challenges in academic-policy engagement and to inspire new and deeper forms of engagement. The CAPE team encourage practice-based feedback on all CAPE resources, to improve their efficacy and to ensure that future resources cover the needs in academic-policy engagement. Get in touch here.


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