Articles Introducing our map of the UK evidence world

Introducing our map of the UK evidence world

Update February 2016: A new version of the map is available here.

Stephen Bediako (The Social Innovation Partnership) and Jonathan Breckon (the Alliance for Useful Evidence) would like your feedback on a new map of the UK evidence ecosystem.

Are you missing from our infographic? The Social Innovation Partnership (TSIP) and the Alliance have come together to create a map of organisations to capture the breadth of the ecosystem in this infographic below.

It’s currently in a PDF format (see below).  Please do look beyond the first page. If you look beyond the front cover, you will find more detail such as lists and hyperlinks of organisations.  At a later stage, we will turn the PDF into a dynamic and animated online map – complete with hyperlinks to your website.


View the full Evidence Ecosystem Infographic

The idea of the map is to reflect the diversity of our evidence world. Not just the nine UK What Works Centres – who quite rightly get lots of attention –  but the many other players who produce research summaries or act as intermediaries. Many of these organisations have been around for many years, such as Dartington Social Research Unit, the EPPI Centre or the National Foundation for Education Research. We wanted to make sure they weren’t excluded when people think of ‘what works’ organisations.

Three wobbly sausages

The three curved cylindrical shapes  – termed wobby sausages at one conference we spoke at – represent some very broad but important categories. The inside yellow one covers a range of non-government bodies such as, learned societies and professional bodies, universities and independent research organisations.

The middle orange sausage covers the nine what works centres such as NICE and the Education Endowment Foundation (strictly there are seven centres – there are associated ones in Scotland and Wales, but for ease of simplicity we have listed all nine of them here)

The final outer red sausage covers government. Government can, of course, be an important producer of research, such as through Government Social Research Service.

Produces, consumers and evidence intermediaries

The bodies we have put in the infographic come from the 2,000 Alliance for Useful Evidence members. We can’t include everybody as there’s not enough space. We only have shown organisations of a certain scale. But if you think that is wrong, and you should be included, let us know.

You can see that organisations are divided up between being producers (marked by icon of a circle ●), intermediaries (icon of triangle ▲), and consumers of research evidence (square ■).  But some organisations do all three. They can be intermediaries, producers and consumers of research. For instance, think-tanks such as King’s Fund or the Institute of Fiscal Studies create their own research internally;  act as intermediaries with, say, policymakers; and commission external research from universities. You may think, however, that our categories are too simplistic and don’t reflect the messy reality – let us know.

Just these islands for the time being

Please note that this only covers the UK – getting Europe or international just got too complicated. We were really keen to make sure that we have all the organisations we know about in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland such as Evaluation Support Scotland, the Centre for Effective Services and National Assembly for Wales Research Service.  But maybe you think we should have a stab at getting beyond these islands, and getting more international further down the line – let us know.

The infographic will be a helpful resource for those that ask us ‘where do I go for evidence?’ It was inspired by some roundtables organised by TSIP over the last two years – to see if we can join up more of the many evidence initiatives. Getting more alignment is tricky (herding cats comes to mind) but we decided that helpful to at least have a map of the organisations in our world.  It’s taken an absolute age to gather all these organisations. But inevitably we will have missed people. So do please tell us what more to include – and then next step it to create a more dynamic and interactive website.