By Natalie Tannous
EVIDENCE 2018 will take place from 25-28 September 2018, and registration for the event opens 1 March 2018. This is the third biennial event by the Africa Evidence Network and will be hosted at the International Convention Centre in Pretoria, South Africa. The conference is aimed at anyone who works in Africa and has an interest in evidence, its production and use in decision-making. This includes those working in government, civil society, universities and the private sector.
Aiming for great success
The EVIDENCE 2018 conference theme ‘Engage, Understand, Impact’ resonates particularly well with current priorities and concerns in South Africa and the African Content and is an apt topic for a number of reasons. Firstly, there is a need to encourage and promote EIDM in Africa, thereby contributing to the development of effective public policies, efficient implementation of services, as well as joint learning on interventions that tackle poverty and inequality in African countries. Secondly, there is a need to communicate these advances, share lessons learned and explore opportunities for the application of EIDM in Africa. And last but not least, to build a community of relevant institutions, organizations and professionals through the AEN to act as a regional resource hub.
The objectives of the conference include the following:
(1) Growing our understanding of EIDM in Africa by sharing learning and advancing discussions in how best to support EIDM in Africa;
(2) Increasing engagement across the AEN and broader EIDM community, spanning the many divides that prevent researchers and decision-makers from working together, and building relationships to move towards to our shared goals; and
(3) Situating our evidence community as a global player in, and an umbrella body for, EIDM in Africa.
Call for abstracts opening
The call for abstracts for EVIDENCE 2018 opens on 1 March 2018. Here potential delegates will be able to submit their work within this year’s thematic strands: climate resilience, good governance, quality education, and communicable diseases. Submitted work should demonstrate qualities of the overall theme of EVIDENCE 2018 of engage, understand, impact. More detailed scopes of the thematic areas for abstract submission – as well as the profiles of our various strand leaders – can be found on the EVIDENCE 2018 website. While we encourage submissions on the four strands, submissions that do not fit within these four thematic areas but that are illustrative of evidence use in Africa are also most welcome.
Need a bursary?
The AEN secretariat will be offering bursaries for attending EVIDENCE 2018 in a similar process to the bursary applications for EVIDENCE2016. Applicants will be required to submit an indication of how they intent to map out the evidence ecosystems in their respective countries, sectors, or areas of work. Successful applicants should be prepared to submit an overview and visualisation on this to present during the poster pod sessions at the conference, should their abstracts be accepted.
Two types of bursaries are on offer. Applicants can either apply for a full Bursary which covers the cost of conference registration, economy class return air travel, and accommodation for the duration of the conference. Alternatively, applicants are invited to submit applications for a partial bursary which is a waiver of the conference registration fee only.
The intention of the secretariat offering bursaries is to provide those individuals who would otherwise not be able to attend EVIDENCE 2018 with the opportunity to participate in the meeting. To be eligible to apply for a bursary, applicants should be residents of an African state and should be employed as evidence users or producers. Only the most meritorious applications can be supported by the limited bursary fund. Bursary applications open on 1 March 2018 – make sure you submit your bursary application to show the world that #Africalovesevidence.
Registering for the conference
The registration fee for EVIDENCE 2018 grants you access to the full scientific programme on offer at the conference, networking opportunities at lunches and dinners, and training content for evidence users and producers. A cocktail welcome reception hosted by the City of Tshwane is also included in the registration fee; remember the dancing from EVIDENCE 2016?
The process for registering for the conference is open and involves delegates submitting their details and receiving either an invoice or quotation for attending the conference. Registration is currently open, and those delegates who register before midnight 30 April 2018 will take advantage of the early bird registration fee which is approximately USD404 for a single member. The non-early bird rate for a single member is around USD477. Group discount rates do apply and can be reviewed via the EVIDENCE 2018 website.
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 Bursaries do not cover travel to the airport in your country of origin nor any visa-related costs. They do not cover any form of per diem or daily living allowance.