Evidence Week 2018 programme

Evidence Week is returning on the 24th June and will bring together MPs, peers, parliamentary services and people from all walks of life across the UK to talk about why evidence matters. You can find out more about last year’s event below.

The week is an initiative of Sense about Science, the House of Commons Library, Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology and House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, and is being held in partnership with SAGE Publishing with events and briefings being produced in collaboration with community organisations, research and regulatory bodies, including the Royal Statistical Society, Alliance for Useful Evidence and UCL. Read or download the Evidence Week brochure here, featuring evidence stories from MPs and peers.

Read our summary of Evidence Week 2018 here.

Questioning quality - Monday 25 June

Evidence Week opening

12.30-1.30pm Churchill Room, Westminster, Community groups and organisations from across the UK will come to parliament to open Evidence Week and tell MPs and peers why parliament’s scrutiny of evidence on their behalf is vital.

Evidence in policymaking 9.30-11am, Macmillan Room, Portcullis House, For committee staff, this session will provide an opportunity for those engaged in scrutinising Government policy to reflect on the use of evidence in policymaking and how to assess the evidence provided during Select Committee inquiries. Run by the Institute for Government, Sense about Science, and the Alliance for Useful Evidence, this session will also include a taster of the Alliance’s evidence masterclass.

Introduction to the evidence masterclass 2-3pm, Room S, Portcullis House, A compressed taster of the Alliance for Useful Evidence’s comprehensive masterclass, for MPs and Peers staff. Guided by an expert facilitator, participants will be taken on an evidence journey, developing awareness of how evidence can help us make smarter decisions and understanding where to look for trustworthy and appropriate evidence.

Making informed decisions about health care 3-4pm, Room S, Portcullis House, Cochrane Fellow Dr Lynda Ware is speaking about using research evidence to help make informed decisions about health care including systematic reviews – the backbone of Cochrane’s work. She will look behind some newspaper headlines and point to where reliable evidence-based medical advice may be found. Please RSVP to [email protected]

Evening launch 7.00-8.30pm, Churchill Room, Westminster, Having met with community groups from across the UK, Sense about Science, House of Commons Library, House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, POST and SAGE Publishing will launch Evidence Week. Sponsored by Norman Lamb MP.

Navigating data and statistics - Tuesday 26 June

Breakfast briefing

9-10am, Jubilee Room, Westminster, Ed Humpherson, Director General for Regulation, UK Statistics Authority will introduce the key questions parliamentarians can ask when faced with statistics, speaking alongside Stephen Metcalfe MP, House of Commons science and technology committee; Hetan Shah, executive director, Royal Statistical Society; Cassie Barton, House of Commons Library; Stephanie Mathisen, policy manager, Sense about Science.

Navigating data – using constituent examples 11am-12pm, Evidence Week Stand, Upper Waiting Hall, This workshop from the UK Statistics Authority, Office of National Statistics and the Royal Statistical Society will look at where parliamentarians can go to for the most accurate research and statistics, and help explain how to interpret and understand the numbers behind the evidence base.

Damned lies and statistics: Using stats in the media 2-3pm, Portcullis House, Statistics can be a powerful tool to communicate complex issues. They can also be spun to create misleading information or only tell half a story. This workshop for MPs staff, run by statisticians and communications staff from the House of Commons Library, will look at how to get the most out of House of Commons Library stats, how to make an impact in the media without undermining the truth, and help you spot spinning and misuse of stats.

The 2021 Census: Opportunities, Challenges and Progress 1-3pm Macmillian Room, Portcullis House, With the Royal Statistical Society and Office of National Statistics.

Evidence in Social Science 5-6.30pm, Millbank House, Joint event with the Academy of Social Sciences, ESRC, House of Lords Library and the British Academy discussing the provision of social science research and expertise with members of the House of Lords.

Working out what's effective, in health and elsewhere - 27 June


8.45-9.15am, Upper Waiting Hall How do we know what works? Health is the key area this question is asked, from patients to doctors to policymakers.

Too much or not enough? 10.30am-12pm, Room Q, Portcullis House, What do we do when the evidence isn’t there, or when it is overwhelming. A discussion with the Society for Applied Microbiology.

It ain’t necessarily so… Simple stories can go wrong 1pm, 1.30pm, 2pm, 2.30pm, Upper Waiting Hall, In three minutes, find out how to disaggregate data to clarify inequalities and the effect of interventions. Inequalities in educational attainment maintain and exacerbate other social inequalities. Here, you can explore some evidence to challenge and create your own ideas – see what happens when attainment is disaggregated by sex, ethnicity, region… Researchers from the University of Durham and Northumbria show tools for understanding problems before you try to solve them.

Interested as a member of the public? Get in touch with your MP and ask them to bring you along. Let us know when you’re coming: [email protected]

Wicked problems - 28 June

Wicked problems are those knotty, seemingly intractable problems that can seem simple at a glance but are multi-faceted. Air pollution and homelessness for example.

How clean is your air, and what can we do about it? 10am-1pm, Upper Waiting Hall, WestminsterPeople from across the country are coming to our stand in Upper Waiting Hall, to find out with their representatives, the quality of air in their area. A team from Kings College London and the universities of Manchester, Sussex, Imperial, Southampton and the wider university policy network co-ordinated by University College London will talk through what readings mean, how that might affect local people and the challenges in proposed solutions.

Interested as a member of the public? You need to be escorted in Upper Waiting Hall, get in touch with your MP and ask them to bring you to the Evidence Week stand. And let us know you’d like to come: [email protected]

Health Inequalities 10am-12pm, Room Q, Portcullis House, Addressing the ‘wicked’ problem of health inequalities and how to reduce them with the Policy Research Units. A panel of world leading speakers will discuss how understanding the complexity of the challenges in children’s health, including obesity and mental health, can help to make the right, evidence-based decisions to reduce inequalities.

How longitudinal research can help get to the heart of ‘wicked problems’ 2-4pm, Room Q, Portcullis HouseSociety today is facing a number of multifactorial problems with no one single cause and no simple solution. Longitudinal studies engage with the same people over time to help us understand people’s complex lives. Join CLOSER, the home of longitudinal research, and UCL Public Policy to hear from a panel of leading scientists about their world-class longitudinal studies and how longitudinal research is helping to get to the heart of ‘wicked’ problems.

How can we tackle the homelessness crisis? 3-4:30pm, Attlee Suite, Portcullis House, The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) brings together  academia, policy, and the third sector to discuss current work on homelessness. Join experts from the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE), Crisis, and the Social Market Foundation for a panel discussion on what works in homelessness prevention.

Are we looking at what people need to know? 4:30-6pm, Attlee Suite, Portcullis HouseEvidence Week will close with a roundtable that discusses are we looking at what people need to know. This will include perspective on particular issues such as homelessness as well as input from SAGE Publishing and Sense about Science.

Evidence Week