Evidence for Policymakers
An international conference on structuring evidence and data for improved policymaking#

December 15 - 18, 2020
The Hague, The Netherlands

Event website

Target groups#

  • Strategic Policymakers on international, national and sub-national level
  • Policy Oriented Scientists, Coordinators of Policy Research
  • Governmental Science Advisors, Governmental Data Scientists
  • Policy Evaluators

Academia Europaea is a partner of the conference and AE members are invited to register at a special registration fee rate. The president of Academia Europaea, Prof. Sierd Cloetingh is an invited speaker at the conference. The conference will take place in a hybrid format. A selected group of speakers will present at the conference.

Background#

In times of crisis, the relationship between evidence and policymaking may change dramatically. The current Covid-19 Crisis generated manifestations of “evidence based policymaking” in an unprecedented way, both internationally and nationally. It also showed that the need to use internationally organized reliable data for effective policy interventions has never been more urgent in times of peace. This information needs to be both profound and directly available.

This conference treats the outcomes of the current crisis as input for the process for professionalizing the structured interaction between evidence and policymaking. The current learning processes and challenges will be analyzed in the context of the existing knowledge infrastructure for policymakers. Instruments for creating evidence for policymakers have tremendously grown with the introduction of Big Data and the development of algorithms for generating new insights. Another widespread development is the use of Randomised Controlled Trials (RCT’s) in order to enhance the effectiveness of policy instruments and the growth of new standards for experimental policies.

Evidence for the effectiveness of new policy interventions is often related to the evaluation of policymaking. National Statistical Offices and many other governmental agencies play a role here. Evidence may also - especially in crisis situations - be used for the prediction of the effectiveness of new policies. In the Netherlands, the Policy Analysis Agencies (Plan Bureaus) have gained a special reputation to generate broadly accepted calculations which predict the effectiveness of political programs. Behavior Insight Teams in different parts of the world also have gained a reputation in creating well substantiated instruments to predict and enhance the effectiveness of policy interventions.

In all of these processes of shaping evidence informed policymaking, scientists from all kind of disciplines, whether it is data science, statistics, policy research, behavioral sciences or a structured way of fact checking, play a crucial role to substantiate the development of policies. These processes for a sound substantiation for policymaking are a main contribution to more effective and predictable policies, if well organized.

Organizing evidence for policy#

The way that evidence for policy is organized, differs strongly per country or region in the world. In the Anglo-Saxon culture we see Chief Government scientists, organizing the impact of science form inside the Ministries. In 2010, the UK Prime Minister has successfully launched its What Works Networks with their related Behavior Insight Teams. In the US, we have seen What Works Cities and the “data for evidence” initiatives, started at the White House. Moreover, in January 2019, the US federal government has signed into law the “Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act”. In the European Union in 2016, the Science Advice mechanism has evolved and Joint Research Centres play a role. The Netherlands has its Central Policy Analysis Agencies. In Singapore we see a National Research Council, housed at the Prime Minister’s Office.

Evidence for effective policies needs to be robust and preferably universal. Bringing together the managers of these processes will create new insights and mutual benefits. This conference has the aim to bring together these experts worldwide to learn which methods and instruments can be applied for which situations and how they may improve the quality of evidence provided.

The Hague

Topics#

The conference will treat a range of issues that influence our capacity to enhance the development and practical use of evidence for policymakers. The topics that will be addressed are:

  • Policies and Strategies for Evidence Informed Policymaking (Tuesday December 15)
    • Approaches to stimulate the effectiveness of policies in a structured way
    • How can we systemize the development, sharing and use of evidence for policymakers?
    • How can we optimize the development and dissemination of evidence for policymakers?
    • Activating public research from Evidence Informed Policy
  • Creating and Using Ex-ante Evidence (Wednesday December 16)
    • Generating evidence before policies have started
    • Recommendations for using Ex-ante evidence for policies and politics
  • Data and Algorithms for Better Policy (Thursday December 17)
    • How can we be both responsible and effective?
    • How can providers and users of AI create more substantiated policies
  • Structuring Evidence in Government and Politics (Friday December 18)
    • How can we effectively develop and share evidence for thematic policies?
    • How can we structure the use of evidence for policymakers and politicians?

Organization#

The Conference is organized jointly by Leiden University, Faculty for Governance and Global Affairs (FGGA) and ScienceWorks. ScienceWorks will coordinate the full organization of the event, while the content and supervision will be coordinated by the PAC, Chaired by the Dean of FGGA, Erwin Muller.

Program Advisory Committee (PAC)#

Leiden University. Erwin Muller (Chair)
Alliance for Useful Evidence/NESTA: Jonathan Breckon
The Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR): Frans Brom
Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcome: Daniel Sarewitz
Ministry of Finance: Nynke de Witte
International Network for Government Science Advice: Peter Gluckman
Results for America: David Medina
OECD Unit for Evidence, Monitoring and Policy Evaluation: Stephane Jacobzone
Unit Science Advice to Policy, EU: David Mair
Evidence & Policy Journal: Katherine Smith
Dutch Association of Universities (VSNU): Pieter Duisenberg
USA Data Coalition: Nick Hart
Africa Center for Evidence: Ruth Stewart
Dutch Association for Policy Evaluators (Vide)/SWOV: Peter van der Knaap
Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO): Peter Werkhoven
University of Twente: Barend van der Meulen
Science Advice Initiative of Finland: Jaakko Kuosmanen
Science Advice for Policy by European Academies: Toby Wardman
Transforming Evidence: Kathryn Oliver
Campbell Collaboration Howard White Leiden Centre for Datascience: Jaap van den Herik
Leiden University: Bernard Steunenberg
Research Policy Online: Peter van Hoesel
Rathenau Institute: Patricia Faasse
Statistics Netherlands (CBS): Bert Kroese
Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment: Niels-Ingvar Boer
Data for Policy: Zeynep Engin
Dutch Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO): Jeanet Bruil
Leiden University: Valérie Pattyn

Download the programme(info) (updated 21 October 2020)

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