CEDIL was established to develop and test new methods of evaluation and synthesis of effectiveness; fill evidence gaps in neglected thematic and geographic areas; and promote the use of evidence by FCDO and other agencies.
The Centre of Excellence for Development Impact and Learning (CEDIL) was set up in recognition that, despite rapid growth over the past two decades, the field of impact evaluation still has significant gaps. CEDIL was established to develop and test new methods of evaluation and synthesis of effectiveness; fill evidence gaps in neglected thematic and geographic areas; and promote the use of evidence by FCDO and other agencies.
The CEDIL programme provided funding to 20 projects spanning 22 countries. Together, these projects and the CEDIL programme team have generated over 70 knowledge working papers, evidence briefs, learning papers and guidance documents that have helped to address the gaps and contribute new learning and approaches to the field of impact evaluation.
The field of impact evaluation has grown rapidly over the last two decades, generating a wealth of evidence on whether development interventions work. But there are still substantial gaps in the field:
- Most evaluation evidence is concentrated in a small number of middle-income countries and a few sectors, such as health, education and social protection, meaning there are significant thematic and geographic evidence gaps.
- There are methods gaps, since those methods that are generally accepted as rigorous often cannot be employed in certain contexts, such as rapid emergencies, or with certain initiatives like peace-building programmes.
- There is a gap in evidence synthesis methods for development contexts, as the time and resources required to undertake systematic reviews are not always practical, and other methods are limited in the range of evidence they can use and the policy questions they can address.
- Despite an increasing emphasis on research uptake and impact, there is an evidence translation gap, as research on the effectiveness of different approaches to stakeholder engagement and influence is still limited.
The CEDIL programme began with scoping work, resulting in pre-inception and inception papers as well as guidelines on good practices for impact evaluation and engaging with stakeholders. CEDIL also selected 20 projects to fund, spanning 22 countries.
Together, these projects and the CEDIL programme team have generated over 70 knowledge working papers, evidence briefs, learning papers and guidance documents that have helped to address the gaps and contribute new learning and approaches to the field of impact evaluation.
We also convened stakeholders from across the development sector and across the world in major conferences, the last of which, in February 2023, attracted over 700 registrants each day. Regular webinars from project teams have also been opportunities to share the learning.
The CEDIL partnership
The Centre’s work was led by a Directorate with research and programme management arms. Intellectual leadership, strategic direction and technical guidance was provided by a team based at the London International Development Centre. This team drew on the expertise of an Intellectual Leadership Team, which is composed of independent experts and five consortium partners:
- The International Initiative for Impact Evaluation
- The Campbell Collaboration
- The Centre for Evaluation at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
- The Centre for the Evaluation of Development Policies at the Institute of Fiscal Studies
- The EPPI-Centre at University College London
Management of the Directorate and the funded research projects was delivered by us, which also led on research uptake and communications activities for the Centre. The Centre was further supported by an advisory board that drew on academia, evaluation practitioners, policymakers and the third sector.
Know more: https://cedilprogramme.org/
These are a snapshot of the CEDIL projects at the end of the projects; links are correct at the time of producing these pdfs, but they will not be updated. See Policy Commons for the latest versions of CEDIL papers and blog posts or contact individual project teams.
- CEDIL projects 1: Evaluating complex interventions.
- CEDIL projects 2: Enhancing evidence transferability.
- CEDIL projects 3: Increasing evidence use.
“CEDIL provided critical funds to help advance an important research agenda, which was outside of the usual scope of [other funding programmes]. Invaluable support!” – 2022 survey response
“I was particularly involved in the develop of guidance for mix-methods evidence synthesis and found this very useful in developing methods for use in the environmental sector.” – 2022 survey response
“I have used CEDIL resources on transferability in developing a toolkit for teaching and learning in Middle Africa.” – 2022 survey response