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The Rapid evaluation conference, organised by the Nuffield Trust and the Health Foundation's Improvement Analytics Unit will take place on 8 May 2024 at the British Medical Association.

Now in its sixth year, the conference will bring together representatives from the rapid evaluation community, including analysts, users and commissioners to explore the theme: Evidence-based decisions when budgets are tight: rapid evaluation and knowledge mobilisation.

The UK health and social care system is experiencing numerous challenges, including increasingly tight budgets, leading to a system trying to deliver more for less. Within this context, rapid evaluations that enable evidence-based decisions are crucial, as is mobilising existing evidence.

The conference brings together those who are interested in rapid evaluation, including analysts, evaluators, service users, policy makers, commissioners and local decision makers to discuss current and future challenges, engage in new thinking and develop ideas that can help improve systems and processes.

9.00: Registration, refreshments, and networking

9.40: Welcome

  • Chair: Therese Lloyd (Senior Analytical Manager, the Health Foundation)

9.50: Panel and audience Q&A

  • Chair: Professor Judith Smith (Professor of Health Policy and Management at the Health Services Management Centre and in the Birmingham, RAND and Cambridge Evaluation (BRACE) team, University of Birmingham)
  • Speaker: Thea Stein (Chief Executive, Nuffield Trust)
  • Speaker: Arne Wolters (Head of Improvement Analytics at Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust and Implementation Lead, NIHR Applied Research Collaboration for the North East and North Cumbria)
  • Speaker: Abeda Mulla (Managing Consultant, The Strategy Unit)
  • Speaker: Dr Ioannis Bakolis (Reader in Public Mental Health and Statistics, Centre for Implementation Science, King's College London (KCL))

11.05: Morning refreshments and networking

11.35–12.30: Research and evaluation: working collaboratively across organisations

  • Chair: Tatjana Marks (Senior Data Analyst, the Health Foundation)
  • Speaker: Chris Sherlaw-Johnson (Senior Fellow, Nuffield Trust, Member of the NIHR Rapid Service Evaluation Team (RSET)): How do we liaise with local teams? Experiences from rapid quantitative evaluations
  • Speaker: Pavi Brar (Senior Policy Advisor, National Voices): Working with people with lived experience to improve research and evaluation
  • Speaker: Professor Ann-Marie Towers (Professor of Social Care Research, Academic lead for the Kent Research Partnership and Social Care Theme Lead for the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Kent, Surrey, Sussex, University of Kent): The Kent Research Partnership: building capacity in adult social care research through collaboration
  • Speaker: Professor Carl Thompson (Chair Applied Health Research and Dame Kathleen Raven Chair in Clinical Research, University of Leeds, Faculty of Medicine and Health and NICHE-Leeds Partner): NICHE-Leeds and the Living Lab movement: a model for working with the real world uncertainties of care homes
  • Speaker: Charlotte Ashton (Programme Director, Islington NIHR Health Determinants Research Collaboration (HDRC) and Assistant Director, Consultant in Public Health Islington Council): Health Determinants Research Collaborations (HDRCs): Local authority, academia & voluntary sector partnerships to strengthen local government research capacity and capability

11.35–12.30: Evaluating Productivity (Panel session)

  • Chair: Elaine Kelly (Assistant Director, REAL Centre, the Health Foundation)
  • Speaker: Edward Kendall (Director of Advanced Analysis, NHS England): A national perspective on productivity
  • Speaker: Will Warburton (Managing Director, Shelford Group): Some provider perspectives on productivity
  • Speaker: Professor Stephen Morris (RAND Professor of Health Services Research, University of Cambridge: Evaluating productivity from a rapid evaluation perspective, and Member of the NIHR Rapid Service Evaluation Team (RSET))

11.35–12.30: Making evidence-based decisions: context and opportunities

  • Chair: Paul Wilson (Implementation Science Theme Lead, NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) Greater Manchester and Co-Editor in Chief, Implementation Science and Co-Director of the NIHR Rapid Service Evaluation Team (REVAL), University of Manchester)
  • Speaker: Fraser Battye (Principal, The Strategy Unit and Senior Research Associate, Jesus College Intellectual Forum): High winds, fog and a very narrow landing strip: rapied evaluation meets decision making
  • Speaker: Professor Jo Dumville (Professor of Applied Health Research and Co-Director of the NIHR Rapid Service Evaluation Team (REVAL), University of Manchester): Rapid evidence synthesis to inform innovation and adoption in health and social care
  • Speaker: Louise Goswami (Head of Knowledge and Library Services, NHS England): The role of knowledge and library specialists in underpinning evidence-based decisions

12.30: Lunch and networking

13.45–14.40: Informative evaluation: successful collaboration between analysts and decision-makers

  • Chair: Therese Lloyd (Senior Analytical Manager, the Health Foundation)
  • Speaker: Lucy Sandell (Senior Analytical Manager, NHS England): Building bridges using theories of change
  • Speaker: Dr Minal Bakhai (National Director for Primary Care Transformation, NHS England): Translating knowledge into practice
  • Speaker: Gareth Hooper (Analytics Manager, The Strategy Unit and Senior Scientific Advisor, NIHR): Collaborative evaluation in Integrated Care Systems to support decision making with less than perfect information

13.45–14.40: Using AI as a tool in evaluation

  • Chair: Dr Juliette Malley (Associate Professorial Research Fellow, London School of Economics (LSE))
  • Chair: Stephanie Kumpunen (Senior Fellow, Nuffield Trust)
  • Speaker: Dr Axel Kaehne (Professor of Health Services Research, Edge Hill University): Using AI in rapid evidence synthesis: opportunities and risks
  • Speaker: Dr Sam Martin (Senior Research Fellow, Rapid Research Evaluation and Appraisal Lab (RREAL), University College London (UCL)): Using AI methods for rapid research and evaluation of free-text data in public health

13.45–14.40: Patient and public involvement in rapid evaluation: what it means and how it can be done

  • Chair: Jenny Newbould (Research Leader for RAND Europe and Co-PPIE Lead for Birmingham, RAND and Cambridge Evaluation (BRACE))
  • Speaker: Pei Li Ng (Senior Research Project Manager, PPIE Co-Lead, NIHR Rapid Service Evaluation Team (RSET), University College London (UCL))
  • Speaker: Raj Mehta (PPIE Co-Lead NIHR, Rapid Service Evaluation Team (RSET))

14.40–15.10: Afternoon refreshments and networking

15.10: Panel and Q&A

  • Chair: Dr Angus Ramsay (Principal Research Fellow, University College London (UCL) Department of Behavioural Sciences and Health and Deputy Director of Rapid Service Evaluation Team (RSET), UCL)
  • Speaker: Richard Kirby (Chief Executive, Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust)
  • Speaker: Dr Marc Farr (Chief Analytical Officer, NHS Kent and Medway and East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust)
  • Speaker: Professor Annette Boaz (Director of the NIHR Health and Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King's College London (KCL))

16.20: Closing remarks

  • Speaker: Chris Sherlaw-Johnson (Senior Fellow, Nuffield Trust, Member of the NIHR Rapid Service Evaluation Team (RSET))

View the recorded sessions from the 2023 conference here.

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