How do we map the evidence system?

A discussion around the best approaches to mapping evidence and policy, recording available

13 . 12 . 2022

Update: this event took place on Tuesday 24 January 2023 and a recording is available at the bottom of the page. 

Many organisations have mapped, visualised, and conceptualised the research and policy landscape. For example, the EU’s Joint Research Centre mapping the science-policy system, or an examination of Science Advice System for the UK Government’s Science and Innovation Network, or a description of the South African Evidence Ecosystem. Much of this mapping working is based on a view that we can see an evidence and policy system – or a metaphorical ‘ecosystem’. But if there is a system – how best can it really be mapped?

One influence upon this mapping work is systems thinking. Although there are many schools of thought on systems or systems change, one original conception was of a dynamic, complex, and non-linear process. But this conception has often been lost in some mapping exercises. In practice we often see more static, simplistic, and linear visualisations of the evidence system.

Another problem with mapping is not that there is too much simplicity, but too much complexity. Some science and innovation maps can be hard to navigate, overburdened with too much information, arrows, and puzzling links. The very opposite of good cartography.

This event will see how we can move beyond simplistic or confusing maps by discussing and showcasing some useful approaches to mapping evidence systems – such as participatory mapping by CECAN. It will cover what we can usefully learn from different disciplines, and different geographies, discuss what mapping might do in the future.


12:30 Intro, Chair: Jonathan Breckon (Senior Associate, Transforming Evidence)
12:35 Kathryn Oliver (Co-director, Transforming Evidence)
12.45 Harsha Dayal (Director, Research & Knowledge Management, Gov of South Africa)
12:55 Kristian Krieger (Policy Officer, European Commission - Joint Research Centre)
13:05 Ben Shaw (Deputy Director, UK Centre for the Evaluation of Complexity Across the Nexus)
13:15 Q&A + MIRO comments on maps 
13:50 Summing up + final words

14:00. Ends

The full event can be watched here: 

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