Tim Chadborn, UKES President

UK Evaluation Society Annual Conference 2021

The UK Evaluation Society’s annual flagship Conference takes place this year online. Come and join hundreds of colleagues from across sectors and disciplines and around the world as we explore this year’s theme:

Evaluation and Evaluative Thinking: Insights for methods, capabilities, culture, and implementation


Evaluative thinking has emerged as an important area in evaluation practice. Throughout this year’s Conference, we will reflect on its contribution to the field. We’ll be asking questions such as ‘what does evaluative thinking mean to leaders?’, ‘how will evaluative thinking influence your work?’ and many more. The Conference will start our multidisciplinary conversation on how evaluative thinking will develop and shape the future of evaluation.

This year’s Conference will take place over three days and feature three Keynote sessions reflecting on the theme of evaluative thinking:

  • Professor Thomas Schwandt will explore evaluative thinking as a collaborative or collective social practice as well as the way it is conventionally depicted as involving individual cognitive capacities for analytical and critical thinking 
  • COVID-19 is the biggest global issue of our time, and evidence has never been more prominent and central to the debate – but has also been politicised. Professor Trish Greenhalgh’s keynote will share her experience of building consensus of evidence and its translation into policy and operations for the COVID-19 response. 
  • Our third keynote from Professor Alison Park and Dr Rachel Iredale from the UKRI Economic and Social Research Council will explore evaluative thinking from a funder’s perspective and its role in research funding strategy.

The practice of evaluation and evaluative culture is developing, and the Conference will highlight the wealth of initiatives and innovations emerging. It will be a forum for our community of practice to nurture and cultivate evaluative thinking and the evaluative practices that support and encourage it. 

We will be hosting over 40 engaging speakers and contributors representing some of the best work and most valuable ideas from a wide diversity of people working in a range of fields where systematic inquiry and evaluative judgement inform learning and decisions. We expect that what excites them will excite and motivate you.

We are particularly pleased to announce that, to enable maximum interaction between delegates at the conference, we will be using Hopin to host the event. Hopin is an online platform designed specifically for conferences, providing a central virtual hub that lets delegates explore the programme, choose and move between different sessions, share chat messages, network with other delegates and visit sponsor displays.

Whether you are new to evaluation or very experienced, from academia, government, consultancy or civil society, you will have a lot to share, learn and debate at this Conference convened by the UK’s leading membership organisation for evaluation professionals and practitioners. Please register now while you are thinking about it!