Capacity Development Projects

Capacity building of African researchers and policy makers to improve evidence use in policy decisions

  • Funder/Sponsor: Joint Research Centre of the European Commission; The African Academy of Sciences UK Research and Innovation; International Network for Government Science Advice; South African Department of Science and Technology.
  • Dates: December 2018
  • Partners: INASP; PACKS

    Workshop with African researchers and policymakers. Pretoria, South Africa.

Together with INASP and PACKS-Africa, P&I helped African mid-career policy makers and researchers strengthen their understanding of the main factors affecting the use of evidence in public agencies. We participated in the Evidence Informed Policy Making Seminar: Water-Energy-Food-Health, co-organized by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, The African Academy of Sciences, UK Research and Innovation, the International Network for Government Science Advice and the South African Department of Science and Technology in Pretoria in December. We co-facilitated sessions in which more than 60 policy makers and researchers learned about the Context Matters Framework, we explored opportunities for improved evidence use, organisational and collaboration, and we co-developed ideas to improve evidence informed policy making in public institutions.


Seminar to encourage Argentinean policy makers to try innovative approaches to plan and manage their work

  • Funder/Sponsor: Ministry of Modernization, Argentina
  • Dates: November 2018

 The Ministry of Modernization in Argentina invited P&I to participate in the “Inspirational talks” Cycle. A group of 18 policy makers from different agencies and sectors learned about the adaptive planning approach and how they can incorporate them in their practices and processes to achieve better outcomes and strengthen programme management.


Online courses “Leaders of change: helping policy makers develop their capacity to promote the use of knowledge in policy”

  • Funder/Sponsor: DfID via INASP VakaYiko/BCURE programme
  • Dates: August 2014 – April 2016
  • Partners: INASP; AFIDEP

Through the effective combination of practical written modules, webinars and exercises, these seven-week online course helped participants reflect, debate and interact about how to contribute to a culture of use of evidence in their organisations. The course provided practical tools for participants to leverage the evidence generated by researchers and the public sector when discussing, designing and implementing public policies. The course promoted debate as well as the exchange of experiences among participants and facilitators provided technical support through personalized, detailed feedback on the exercises presented. 45 policy makers have strengthened their capacity to produce and use evidence through the first two rounds of this course in Latin America (2015) and Africa (2016). This assignment also included a light touch review by P&I of the results of the course six months after its completion.


Technical assistance of Think Tank Initiative’s Phase 2 Capacity Development Component in Latin America

  • Funder/Sponsor: Think Tank Initiative (IDRC)
  • Dates: March 2017 – March 2019
  • Partners: ILAIPP

 A member of P&I was hired to coordinate the implementation of these 6-7 sets of activities, and coordinate with global TTI Capacity Development (CD) efforts. Tasks included strategic contribution to the design of the overall capacity building project by ILAIPP, developing the M&E Framework for modules with a special emphasis on organisational change, assistance in capacity building implementation, supervision of knowledge products and production of Annual Reviews.

Article: Putting peer learning into real practice: the case of ILAIPP in Latin America


On Think Tanks School

  • Funder/Sponsor: Hewlett Foundation
  • Dates: January 2016 – December 2017
  • Partners: On Think Tanks

 In 2016, P&I team partnered with On Think Tanks to design and deliver a comprehensive e-learning program. The School offered a range of capacity building opportunities for policy entrepreneurs, thinktankers, think tanks and policy research centres to develop their personal and organisational competences. More than 15 short courses (4 weeks) and a few long courses (7 weeks) were delivered to more than 200 participants from around the world. The courses covered a range of strategic issues for think tanks: Monitoring, evaluation and learning; Governance and management; Funding; Research; Advocacy; Communications.

Web page:


Online course: Doing policy relevant research

 Funder/Sponsor: Think Tank Fund (Open Society Foundations); Think Tank Initiative (IDRC)

  • Dates: 2015 – 2017
  • Partners: On Think Tanks

P&I offers both a long (7 weeks) and short version (2 weeks) of this online course that will guide participants through the process of designing and implementing research agendas and projects that are policy relevant. To this end, we provide an overview of the methods available to incorporate the interests of all stakeholders when planning a policy relevant research agenda, and discuss the organisational arrangements required to maintain a research agenda current, particularly in fast changing policy contexts. Participants will have the opportunity to engage with other policy researchers, exchange ideas and concerns and receive practical and theoretical advice from facilitators with years of experience in the field.


Online course Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning for Think Tanks

  • Funder/Sponsor: Think Tank Fund (Open Society Foundations); Think Tank Initiative (IDRC)
  • Dates: 2015 – 2017
  • Partners: Kristie Evenson; Southern Hemisphere; On Think Tanks

In the year 2015, Politics & Ideas developed an online course for researchers, communicators, managers and MEL specialists of think tanks and organizations conducting research to influence policy interested in assessing and enhancing their current capacity to monitor, evaluate and learn on policy influence. The course shared reflections and cutting edge conceptual knowledge as well as specific MEL methodologies and tools, and promoted peer learning by exchanging experiences and practices of participating think tanks. Between 2015 and 2017, the course was delivered in short and long versions, and included partners such as Southern Hemisphere in South Africa and the On Think Tanks School.


Online course: Re-thinking funding models

  • Funder/Sponsor: Think Tank Initiative (IDRC)
  • Dates: 2013 – 2017
  • Partners: Kristie Evenson; On Think Tanks

This course is designed for thinktankers willing to re-visit their funding model and learn new ways of strengthening it. The course synthesises what we know about funding models that currently prevail in the South and analyses the implications and consequences of these models on the identity, work and impact of an organisation. Participants learn learn about a wide range of practices and case studies of think tanks and other organisations that can inspire them to lead innovation and change.


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