This international symposium looks at the politics of policy-oriented poverty research and pro-poor policymaking. The symposium aims to explore the research and policymaking nexus by asking: what are the processes by which research agendas are defined, which may shape the interpretation of findings; what are the kinds of poverty research that is being conducted; how is this knowledge used in the development and application of policies addressing poverty? Going beyond simple understandings of evidence-based policymaking, participants will be asked to problematise concepts such as research ‘uptake’ and policy ‘impact’ and share insights of practice from the ‘real world’ of policy engagement.
A provisional programme for the event is now available (last updated on 15 November).
A detailed event announcement with full content information is also available.
ABOUT THE SYMPOSIUM
Content scope and focus
The symposium will take as its focus the research and policy terrain of the core development challenges: alleviating poverty and inequality, which in the case of South Africa at least will relate directly to issues of inclusive growth, job creation and employment.
The symposium aims to go beyond assumptions of dominant understandings about ‘evidence informed policymaking’, by inviting participants to share their experiences and lessons of how research is used (and misused) in the real world of policymaking – and how policy concerns in turn can direct (and misdirect) the agendas of pro-poor social science research.
A recent PLAAS Working Paper titled 'Making Sense of Evidence - Notes on the Discursive Politics of Research and Pro-Poor Policy Making' will be presented by its author, PLAAS Director Andries du Toit, in an introductory session of the symposium. Some recent reviews on the paper can be found on Enrique Mendizabal's blog Onthinktanks.org and on Kirsty Newman's blog Kirstyevidence.
Limited spaces are still available for those interested to attend the symposium. To express interest to attend, please contact the organisers.
Some key speakers at the symposium include:
Neva Makgetla, Deputy Director General: Policy at the Economic Development Department
After completing her Academic qualifications, Neva Makgetla went on to lecture at different universities both in Africa and abroad. She lectured at the New School for Social Research, New York and the University of Zambia. She was also a Visiting Lecturer and Visiting Professor at acclaimed universities, such as the University of Massachusetts Boston and University of Redlands, California. Makgetla then went on to serve as the coordinator for the Economics Commission and helped draft the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP). Makgetla spent the majority of her time between 1995 and beyond 2008, serving the South African government, in many different roles and responsibilities. Not excluding as Senior Researcher for the National Labour and Economic Development Institution. Deputy Director General at the DPSA and Lead Economist at the Development Bank of Southern Africa.
The Programme to Support Pro-poor Policy Development (PPSPD) is a partnership between the Presidency of South Africa and the European Union (EU). The PSPPD aims to promote evidence-based policy and public policy interventions which address poverty and inequality and contribute towards achieving the economic and social development goals of South Africa. The purpose of the Programme is to develop a cadre of researchers and policy-makers with a deeper understanding of household dynamics and poverty to enable more informed evidence-based policy-making. The PSPPD is a complementary programme to the National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS), a South African panel study. The NIDS dataset is being used to further build the evidence-base in policy relevant research. The key stakeholders of the PSPPD are policy-makers and researchers from government, as well as social researchers and academics from higher education institutions.
The Economic Development Department (EDD) aims to strengthen government capacity to transform the economy, through a pro-employment growth path that addresses the structural constraints to absorbing large numbers of people into the economy and creation of decent work.
The Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) is a policy research organization focusing on issues relating to poverty, marginalized livelihoods, rural development and agrarian reform in Southern Africa. PLAAS produces Use-Inspired Basic Research and, although it is based at the University of the Western Cape, it relies heavily on project funding. Since 2007 the Atlantic Philanthropies has supported PLAAS through a project entitled Connecting Research to Policy, aimed directly at exploring innovative approaches and learning lessons of experience in the dissemination of policy-relevant research. The described symposium is a culmination of this project aimed at sharing the lessons that PLAAS has learnt on a wider forum and facilitating a discussion around emerging issues.
The Southern Africa Trust is an independent non-profit agency that supports deeper and wider regional engagement to overcome poverty in southern Africa.
The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) conducts large-scale, policy-relevant, social-scientific projects for public-sector users, non-governmental organisations and international development agencies, in partnership with researchers globally, but specifically in Africa. As the national social science council of South Africa, the HSRC wishes to serve as a knowledge hub to bridge the gap between research, policy and action; thus increasing the impact of research. This is achieved through collaboration with key constituencies, including government, other research organisations, multinational agencies, universities, non-government organisations, and donor and development organisations.
Mendizabal Ltd Mendizabal Ltd aims to undertake the best possible research, develop the most original and innovative ideas and provide the most honest and useful advice to think tanks, policy research networks and their main stakeholders. The organisation will work with other when necessary through very clear and transparent relationships. The main platform for sharing their work is http://onthinktanks.org/