3ie Public Lecture: What evidence based development has to learn from evidence based medicine? What we have learned from 3ie’s experience in evidence based development

Posted on 27 March, 2013 – 4:55 PM

Speaker: Chris Whitty, LSHTM & DFID
Speaker: Howard White, 3ie
Date and time: 15 April 2013, 5.30 – 7.00 pm
Venue: John Snow Lecture Theatre A&B, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London, UK

Evidence-based medicine has resulted in better medical practices saving hundreds of thousands of lives across the world. Can evidence-based development achieve the same? Critics argue that it cannot. Technical solutions cannot solve the political problems at the heart of development. Randomized control trials cannot unravel the complexity of development. And these technocratic approaches have resulted in a focus on what can be measured rather than what matters. From the vantage point of a medical practitioner with a key role in development research, Professor Chris Whitty will answer these critics, pointing out that many of the same objections were heard in the early days of evidence-based medicine. Health is also complex, a social issue as well as a technical one. So what are the lessons from evidence-based medicine for filling the evidence gap in development?

The last decade has seen a rapid growth in the production of impact evaluations. What do they tell us, and what do they not? Drawing on the experience of over 100 studies supported by the 3ie Professor Howard White presents some key findings about what works and what doesn’t, with examples of how evidence from impact evaluations is being used to improve lives. Better evaluations will lead to better evidence and so better policies. What are the strengths and weaknesses of impact evaluations as currently practiced, and how may they be improved?

Chris Whitty is a clinical epidemiologist and Chief Scientific Advisor and Director Research & Evidence Division, UK Department for International Development (DFID). He is professor of International Health at LSHTM and prior to DFID he was Director of the LSHTM Malaria Centre and on Board of various other organisations.

Howard White is the Executive Director of 3ie, co-chair of the Campbell International Development Coordinating Group, and Adjunct Professor, Alfred Deakin Research Institute, Geelong University. His previous experience includes leading the impact evaluation programme of the World Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group and before that, several multi-country evaluations.

Phil Davies is Head of the London office of 3ie. He has responsibilities for 3ie’s Systematic Reviews programme. Prior to 3ie he was the Executive Director of Oxford Evidentia, ahas also served as a senior civil servant in the UK Cabinet Office and HM Treasury, responsible for policy evaluation and analysis.

First come first serve. Doors open at 5:15 pm
More about 3ie: www.3ieimpact.org

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