Applications are open!

This is the call for abstracts for oral presentations and poster presentations only. In order to apply for a satellite session please find information here. Workshops are not subject to an open call for applications at this stage. The focus of workshops offered at the conference is something on which members of the Africa Evidence Network will be consulted as part of our member survey.

The Evidence 2018 conference is being convened under the theme of:  ‘Engage | Understand | Impact’

Abstracts will be accepted from 1 March 2018 until 30 April 2018.


  1. Delegates wishing to present an oral presentation/s (as part of a breakaway session or a poster presentation session) are invited to submit a short summary for consideration. The relationship to evidence-informed decision-making (EIDM) must be clearly presented in the abstract.
  2. Abstract submissions to be submitted online by 30 April 2018. No late abstracts will be accepted.
  3. The Scientific Programme Committee (SPC) reserves the right to select papers and posters for presentation.
  4. Abstracts received by authors who have registered their attendance by 20 June 2018 will be given preference for placement in the programme. Full payment (or successful application of a Bursary) must be received prior to attendance at the conference.
  5. Abstracts received by registered authors will be acknowledged and notification of acceptance or rejection will be by email by 28 June 2018.
  6. Please read the submission requirements carefully as abstracts submitted cannot be changed later.
  7. Conflict of Interest: If the work presented is funded (partially or fully) by a proprietary organisation, a statement to that effect must be included at the bottom of the abstract.
  8. Please be sure to include keywords for your abstract submission (do not use abbreviations). SAMPLE KEYWORDS: evidence-informed decision-making, evaluation, monitoring, Malawi

Grounded in the themes ‘Engage, Understand, Impact’, the EVIDENCE 2018 conference programme will focus on four areas of priority in Africa: Quality Education, Communicable Diseases, Climate Resilience, and Good Governance. This focus on current priorities aims to further 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. 

Although we encourage submissions under the above four themes, abstracts that fall outside of these thematic areas but that provide illustrative examples of the use of evidence in decision-making processes in Africa are also welcomed.

With this view, this call invites the submission of abstracts for posters and oral presentations from civil servants, researchers, knowledge brokers and others interested in EIDM, under the following four sub-themes:

1.    Quality education (strand lead by Danielle Mason, Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), UK)
Importance of evidence: By quality education we mean high quality teaching and learning. Great strides have been made on school enrollment in recent years, but the challenge of achieving high quality schooling and good education outcomes for all pupils remains, both in Africa and the rest of the world. Evidence-informed decision-making can help us to meet that challenge by ensuring that we utilise resources – such as teachers and funding – in the ways that are most likely to deliver improvement. Evidence can furthermore show us which educational approaches are most likely to be effective, for whom, and under what conditions.

Eligible topics: We are seeking submissions which can support an evidence-informed approach to quality education and could include:

  • Projects demonstrating how evidence is being used to inform education policy and practice.
  • Evaluations of education projects, programme and policies.
  • The findings and/or use of studies investigating the contextual factors that facilitate, or prevent, high quality teaching and learning, at the national, local, or individual school level.
  • The findings and/or use of studies about the generalizability or translatability of education programme or policies from one setting to another.
  • New syntheses of education evidence designed to inform policy and practice.

We particularly encourage the submission of abstracts that illustrate engagement with decision-makers and practitioners with research evidence and the impact that such engagement has had on teaching and learning. 

2.    Communicable disease (strand lead by Dr Patrick Okwen, Effective Basic Services (eBASE) Africa, Cameroon)
Importance of evidence: When best available evidence is combined with patients’ values and preferences and clinical expertise, patients and public health outcomes are improved. Evidence is important because: (i) it improves quality of service delivery, (ii) highlights what works and what doesn’t work, (iii) promotes cost effectiveness and can therefore maximize returns on investments, (iv) increases performance of health systems; and (v) can help map out how much is known about a disease. Evidence is important to a wide spectrum of roleplayers: it helps improve the quality of decisions by those making them, it guides researchers on areas that need further exploration, directs donors on the implementation of more effective programmes, and enables patients to share in decision-making relating to prevention and treatment.  

The indicators of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) points to the important role that health has to play in development, with communicable diseases being a strategic determinant for health-related goals. SDG Target 3.3 specifically refers to ending epidemics such as AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases, and combating hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases. Trustworthy evidence generation, synthesis, transfer and implementation is key to reaching these targets.

Evidence, however, must be cognizant of context, which means we need evidence that is relevant to our clinical settings that often face challenges relating to new communicable disease threats, funding, knowledge, and human resources. It is also important to consider evidence for the complete continuum of care: prevention, diagnosis, treatment (including drug resistance in infectious diseases like HIV and TB) and rehabilitation.

Eligible topics: We welcome submissions relating to:

  • Evidence covering the continuum of care that is relevant to Africa and communicable diseases, and specifically how engagement around this evidence takes place between research and decision-makers.
  • The impact on care and treatment of taking appropriate evidence into consideration.

3.    Climate resilience (strand lead by Sibonelo Mbanjwa, Department for Environmental Affairs (DEA), South Africa)
Importance of evidence: This strand focuses on climate resilience defined as “the capacity of social, economic and environmental systems to cope with a hazardous event or trend or disturbance, responding or reorganising in ways that maintain their essential function, identity and structure, while also maintaining the capacity for adaptation, learning and transformation” (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2014: 1772). It speaks directly to the global goal on adaptation in article 7 of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change to enhance adaptive capacity to climate change and with the view of limiting global increases in temperature. The climate resilience strand aims to provide an overview of climate change science, predictions, and system modelling, monitoring and evaluation as the basis for climate evidence to inform the adaptive management and decision-making in various individual and organisational levels, including government and the corporate sector. The strand also responds to the recognised gap between current scientific knowledge, climate variability and the information needed by decision-makers to respond to opportunities and to make robust development and adaptation plans for climate related risks. Sharing of experiences of using the implementation of the Global Framework for Climate Services to provide the necessary scientific evidence and scenario planning to support adaptation planning will be welcomed.  Evidence of past climatic events is important to inform the prediction of future climate events and scenarios, and to also inform future planning towards a climate resilient society. Evidence is also important to inform policy direction and implementation, and thus facilitating the science-policy interface.

Eligible topics: We welcome submissions relating to:

  • The availability of evidence to support climate resilience and how this has been used to inform decision-making.
  • How to address long-term planning and implementation within a context of evidence uncertainty, and what needs to be put in place to ensure that relevant and useful evidence is collected to inform long-term planning towards a climate resilient society?
  • How best do we address issues of access to scientific information at various levels, such as government, business and communities?
  • What are some of the tensions, opportunities and challenges in climate change adaptation policy and evidence?
  • Case studies that demonstrate the use of evidence to address climate resilience.
  • Using various types of data, indicators, projections, monitoring, and evaluation in tracking climate resilience to inform decision-making.

4.       Good governance (strand lead by Dr Rose Oronje, African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP), Kenya)
Importance of evidence: Governance is the process of making and implementing decisions. Through governance, institutions and individuals wield power, and enact and implement public policies, which directly affect human and institutional interactions, and socio-economic development. Thus, governance has a lot to do with the allocation and utilization of resources. Evidence is a critical ingredient of good governance and underpins the eight factors that, according to the United Nations, characterise good governance: participation, rule of law, transparency, responsiveness, consensus oriented, equity and inclusiveness, effectiveness and efficiency, and accountability. For instance, without reliable reports from the Auditor General’s Office, parliament will be unable to effectively hold government to account on public spending. Still, without quality data and information on healthcare service provision by health facilities, a Ministry of Health will struggle to make decisions or allocate resources that enable access to services by the poorest communities. Or, without research on segments of the population not benefiting from free primary education, a Ministry of Education will be unable to formulate responsive and inclusive policies that enable education for all.

Eligible topics: We welcome submissions relating to:

  • Discussions of evidence use or EIDM in key governance institutions including: parliament, local governments, judiciary, and cabinet.
  • Examples of evidence use or EIDM in key governance components in government ministries/agencies including: political leadership; and national and/or sub-national decision-making, resource allocation, management and tracking expenditure.
  • The use of evidence in important governance processes such as strengthening citizens voices in governance processes; facilitating transparency in resource allocation, management and tracking; tackling corruption in public service; among others.
  • How evidence interacts with power and politics, interests, and formal and informal rules, norms, institutions to shape public policy decisions.


  1. We encourage the submission of original material unpublished at the time of the abstract submission deadline.
  2. We retain the right to allocate abstracts containing previously submitted or presented data as they see fit.
  3. The abstract title and text may not contain trade names. We reserve the right to replace trade names in accepted abstracts.
  4. Abstracts should be submitted in English only. Non-English speaking authors are encouraged to have their abstract checked for grammar and spelling. We assume all presenting authors have proficiency in English, thus are able to present and respond to questions.
  5. Abstracts should be submitted only if the submitter intends to attend the conference.


Writing the Abstract
When writing an abstract, try to include as much information as possible. Be concise and avoid statements such as “work in progress” or “results will be discussed” wherever possible. If the results are unknown at this stage, give some indication of what they are expected to be and what the implications are.

Crucially, try to ensure that the abstract is easy to read and understand – both in terms of the layout and the language that you use (avoiding acronyms and slang where possible) – for the reviewer as he or she is your key audience for this process.

Format Guide
Abstracts should not be more than 350 words and should be submitted in an electronic format in English. The on-line abstract submission system is user friendly. You will be guided through the submission procedure. Please follow the instructions as shown on the webpage. Although there is no set format for an abstract, you may wish to use the following layout in order to help structure and communicate your ideas effectively:

  1. Background: Indicates the purpose and objective of the work and a description of the problem being analysed or evaluated.
  2. Methods: Describe the setting/location for the decision-making scenario or example, or study, study design, study population, data collection and methods of analysis used.
  3. Results: Present as clearly as possible the results of the decision-making scenario or example, or the findings/outcome of the research study, with specific results in summarized form.
  4. Conclusions: Briefly discuss the data and main outcome of the work. Emphasize the significance, care and/or support, and future implications of the results.

Oral Presentation Guidelines

  • The conference rooms are equipped with data projectors and only MS PowerPoint will be accepted.
  • MAC plug-points will be provided at the lecterns for those wishing to present using their own MACS.
  • Please note that there is no limit on the number of abstract submissions allowed per person, however a maximum of three (3) approved abstracts per person will be placed on the programme due to programme limitations.
  • Presentations will be approximately 20 minutes each, but details will be confirmed once speakers have been allocated to specific sessions.

Poster Presentation Guidelines

  • Authors are not required to bring printed posters to the conference as posters will be displayed electronically on provided LCD screens.
  • Further guidelines on the poster format will be available to those whose abstracts are accepted.

If you have submitted your abstract it can be viewed in the ‘Edit Abstracts’ window. An international panel of experts will review the abstracts. Each abstract will be reviewed by at least two (2) different reviewers. Each abstract is given a score considering criteria such as content, significance, originality, relevance and overall presentation. Abstracts may be selected for (based on review-score):

  1. Oral presentation
  2. Poster presentation (electronic format), or
  3. May be rejected.

The SPC will meet to finalise the programme – creating sessions based on the abstract reviews.

Authors of abstracts whose entries are selected will be notified by the SPC by 28 June 2018. Authors will be notified of the final programme by 08 July 2018.

Withdrawal policy
If authors wish to withdraw their abstracts from presentation or publication they are requested to send a letter via e-mail to the conference secretariat before 17 June 2018. Consequently the abstract will not be presented nor published.

Important Dates

  • 01 March 2018: Abstract submission opens
  • 30 April 2018:  Abstract submission closure
  • 20 June 2018: Abstracts received by authors who have registered their attendance by this date will be given preference for placement in the programme
  • 02 July 2018: Abstract acceptance/rejection notifications issued to authors
  • 09 July 2018: Final notification to presenting author(s) of abstract allocation in the programme