Nesta, the Economic and Social Research Council and the Big Lottery Fund have come together in partnership to create the Alliance for Useful Evidence.
In a time of limited resource, there is a need to spend whatever money is available on the best, most successful approaches. And to identify these we need robust research and evidence. In some areas there is knowledge about what is - and what is not - effective, but in other areas there may be little known about what is successful. The situation is complicated further by the fact that there are many instances where research is available, but is not taken into account. We want the Alliance for Useful Evidence to champion the use of and demand for evidence that is rigorous, accessible and appropriate.
If you are interested in promoting useful evidence in decision making across social policy, would like to connect to a global community of individuals and organisations from a range of sectors and backgrounds, whilst gaining access to stimulating debate, publications and events, then you should join the Alliance for Useful Evidence.
Membership is free and open to any individual or organisation.
As noted in Nesta's Ten Steps blog series, there are a number of issues and challenges that can prevent evidence being used in decision making. We believe that many of these challenges can be overcome by ensuring that high-quality evidence has a stronger impact on the design and delivery of our own public services.
The Alliance aims to provide a much needed focal point for improving and extending the application of research and evidence in the UK. We are continuing to recruit members and, following a number of successful events in 2012, we are now working on new events and publications for 2013 that we hope will stimulate discussions, identify examples of best practice, and highlight the challenges faced in embedding evidence into the decision making process. We believe there is huge value in developing a collective voice to advocate for decision makers to generate and use rigorous evidence, and to also aid collaboration and knowledge sharing across the Alliance.
Whilst the focus of the Alliance is on social policy and on social science, we believe in learning across policy domains - from international development to environmental policy, from transport to schools. The Alliance will not advocate any particular method or research discipline, and is open to all types of evidence and methodologies, as long as they are robust and of use to decision-makers.
The Alliance for Useful Evidence was also endorsed in the Government "Innovation and Research Strategy for Growth" (see page 86).
We recognise that this agenda is not new. We also recognise that there are lots of organisations already doing excellent work in this field. The Alliance for Useful Evidence will not compete with or replace these; instead we are forging linkages with them, promoting learning and collaboration across different areas of policy.