Developing policy evaluation in an academic setting: assets and challenges

Developing policy evaluation in an academic setting: assets and challenges

Snowball seminar organized by LIEPP as part of CIVICA Research (Democracy in the 21st Century)
Friday, June, 24th, 2022, 2:00-5:30 PM, Sciences Po Paris
  • Actualité Sciences PoActualité Sciences Po

This half-day snowball seminar organized at Sciences Po (Paris) aims at bringing together scholars interested in discussing the specificities of developing policy evaluation in an academic setting. The practice of evaluation involves a diversity of actors beyond academia: public administrations, parliaments, private consultants, NGOs… What are the specificities of academic evaluation, and how can we foster this practice in an academic setting?

There are arguably particular assets to developing evaluation from an academic standpoint, for example in terms of autonomy in the choice of objects of evaluation, in the possibility of developing long-term research frameworks, or in the capacity to bring “non-evaluation” academic research into the evaluative discussion. On the other hand, there are challenges to developing evaluation in an academic setting: for example, the rhythm of academic research may be too slow for evaluative needs, doing evaluation is valued to very varying degrees in the different academic disciplines, and the interdisciplinary approach often required by evaluation is a challenge when researchers themselves are evaluated based on disciplinary criteria. To what extent does producing research in an evaluative perspective favour certain types of methods, formats or research designs, such as systematic literature reviews or the promotion of more participatory approaches?

Beyond producing evaluative research, how can we make sure that the process and results of this research are conveyed to relevant stakeholders in adapted and efficient format that actually favour their impact on policymaking and civil society? Making research actionable and relevant to policymakers and civil society is a key component of policy evaluation. What publics do academic institutions target, what are the relevant formats? What role should academic institutions play in the training of policymakers, NGOs, etc., in evaluation? Can investing in training favour a broader awareness of the need for a more systematic evaluation of public policies?

The organization of this snowball seminar draws on the experience of Sciences Po’s Laboratory for interdisciplinary evaluation of public policies (LIEPP), in view of exchanging with scholars from other CIVICA member institutions on these institutional aspects of developing academic evaluation. It aims at connecting research centres and individual academic researchers involved in policy evaluation, and functioning as a breeding ground for new projects in this domain.

Location: Room K.008 (1 place Saint Thomas d'Aquin), 75007 or zoom

Mandatory registrationRegister for a physical attendance - Register for a remote attendance

Programme: 

2:00 - 2:10 : Introduction by Anne Revillard (Associate Professor, member of OSC and director of LIEPP, Sciences Po Paris)

2:10 - 3:40 : Roundtable 1: Developing academic evaluative research

This roundtable will reflect on the specificities of developing evaluative research from an academic setting. Who conducts evaluative research within academia? How is this research funded? What are the topics covered? How can we draw on the inputs of topic-based fundamental research to better inform evaluative practice? To what extent does producing research in an evaluative perspective favour certain types of methods, formats or research designs, such as systematic literature reviews or the promotion of more participatory approaches? This roundtable will also address the challenges to developing evaluation in an academic setting: for example, the rhythm of academic research may be too slow for evaluative needs, doing evaluation is valued to very varying degrees in the different academic disciplines, and the interdisciplinary approach often required by evaluation is a challenge when researchers themselves are evaluated based on disciplinary criteria. These are some of the questions which will be addressed in this first roundtable.

Speakers: 

  • Lucia Corno (Executive director, Laboratory for Effective AntiPoverty Policies (LEAP), Bocconi University, Milano) 
  • José Luis Fernández (Director of Care Policy and Evaluation Centre, London School of Economics, London)
  • Danielle Mason (Head of Policy, What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth, Centre for Cities) 
  • Gaby Umbach (Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute, Florence)
  • Anne Revillard (Associate Professor, member of OSC and director of LIEPP, Sciences Po, Paris)

3:40 - 4:00: Pause 

4:00 - 5:30 : Roundtable 2 : The role of academic institutions in outreach and training in evaluation

Making research actionable and relevant to policymakers and civil society is a key component of policy evaluation. This roundtable addresses the role of academic institutions in outreach and training in evaluation. Beyond producing evaluative research, how can we make sure that the process and results of this research are conveyed to relevant stakeholders in adapted and efficient format that actually favour their impact on policymaking and civil society? What publics do we target, what are the relevant formats? What role should academic institutions play in the training of policymakers, NGOs, etc., in evaluation? Can investing in training favour a broader awareness of the need for a more systematic evaluation of public policies?

Speakers: 

  • Thilo Bodenstein (Associate Professor at the Department of Public Policy, Central European University, Budapest)
  • Andrew Cartwright (Associate Professor at the Department of Public Policy, Central European University, Budapest)
  • Ioana-Roxana Melenciuc (Head of Department of International Relations and European Integration, Scoala Nationala de Studii Politice si Administrative, Bucarest)
  • Diane Stone (School of Transnational Governance, European University Institute, Florence)
  • Kai Wegrich (Professor of Public Administration and Public Policy, Hertie School of Governance, Berlin)
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