Evidence for Policymakers

Dear visitor!

Welcome to the website of the conference Evidence for Policymakers!

It’s our pleasure to chair this international gathering on substantiating Evidence informed policies and politics. We are looking forward to welcoming you virtually – or in person - to discuss the current opportunities for improving our policy interventions. We now have the benefit to learn from international best practises and make use of the momentum that exists in many countries, like our own. For this conference we have developed ten Hague Recommendations. We would appreciate it if you will enrich this special event with your presence.

We are looking forward to an inspiring conference with tangible results!

Best regards,

              Pieter Duisenberg                                        Peter van der Knaap
       Chair of the association of                     Chairman of the Dutch Association
  Universities in the Netherlands                         for Policy Evaluation (Vide)


Chairmen of this conference

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The Hague, The Netherlands

15 – 18 December 2020

Please find the final report with the summary and conclusions here.



In times of crisis, the relationship between evidence and policymaking may change dramatically. The current Covid-19 Crisis generated manifestations of “evidence based policymaking” in an unprecedented way, both nationally and locally. It also showed that the need to use internationally organized reliable data for effective policy interventions has never been more urgent in times of peace. This information needs to be both profound and directly available.
This conference treats the outcomes of the current crisis as input for the process for professionalizing the structured interaction between evidence and policymaking. The current learning processes and challenges will be analyzed in the context of the existing knowledge infrastructure for policymakers. Instruments for creating evidence for policymakers have tremendously grown with the introduction of Big Data and the development of algorithms for generating new insights. Another widespread development is the use of Randomised Controlled Trials (RCT’s) in order to enhance the effectiveness of policy instruments and the growth of new standards for experimental policies.
Evidence for the effectiveness of new policy interventions is often related to the evaluation of policymaking. National Statistical Offices and many other governmental agencies play a role here. Evidence may also - especially in crisis situations - be used for the prediction of the effectiveness of new policies. In the Netherlands, the Policy Analysis Agencies (Plan Bureaus) have gained a special reputation to generate broadly accepted calculations which predict the effectiveness of political programs. Behavior Insight Teams in different parts of the world also have gained a reputation in creating well substantiated instruments to predict and enhance the effectiveness of policy interventions.
In all of these processes of shaping evidence informed policymaking, scientists from all kind of disciplines, whether it is data science, statistics, policy research, behavioral sciences or a structured way of fact checking, play a crucial role to substantiate the development of policies. These processes for a sound substantiation for policymaking are a main contribution to more effective and predictable policies, if well organized (a recent article by Times Higher Education discusses the groundbreaking pilot developed by Dutch experts to shape better policies through effective scientific support).

Organizing evidence for policy
The way that evidence for policy is organized, differs strongly per country or region in the world. In the Anglo-Saxon culture we see Chief Government scientists, organizing the impact of science form inside the Ministries. In 2010, the UK Prime Minister has successfully launched its What Works Networks with their related Behavior Insight Teams. In the US, we have seen What Works Cities and the “data for evidence” initiatives, started at the White House. Moreover, in January 2019, the US federal government has signed into law the “Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act”. In the European Union in 2016, the Science Advice mechanism has evolved and Joint Research Centres play a role. The Netherlands has its Central Policy Analysis Agencies. In Singapore we see a National Research Council, housed at the Prime Minister’s Office.
Evidence for effective policies needs to be robust and preferably universal. Bringing together the managers of these processes will create new insights and mutual benefits. This conference has the aim to bring together these experts worldwide to learn which methods and instruments can be applied for which situations and how they may improve the quality of evidence provided.

The conference will treat a range of issues that influence our capacity to enhance the development and practical use of evidence for policymakers. A short list of issues includes:
- Definitions of “evidence” and “evidence informed policymaking”
- The correlation between evidence and more effective policymaking
- How to convince policymakers to use evidence
- Internal and external organization of evidence for government
- Utilizing evidence for politicians and parliaments
- Enhancing the usability of research from universities and other knowledge institutes
- Ex post evidence and ex ante evidence
- Structured data for policymakers and researchers
- Effective use of algorithms for policymakers
- RCT’s to develop methods for proven effecctive interventions
- Applying research evidence to societal challenges

The Conference in The Hague

The city of the Hague has recently welcomed the Department for Governance and Global affairs from Leiden University, the oldest university of the Netherlands. The Hague also houses many international institutes, including several international organizations for research and statistics. Leiden University and ScienceWorks are the organizers of this event.

The Hague is a unique city one of the very few Government cities based on a sandy beach. Next to this, The Hague has gained a global reputation as the LegalCapital of the World. The conference will offer ample opportunities to the conference participants to experience this special venue during the social program.

Terms & costs


Confirmed speakers

Erwin Muller

Erwin Muller

Dean of Governance and Global Affairs, Leiden University

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Pieter Duisenberg

Pieter Duisenberg

Chair of The Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU)

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Peter van der Knaap

Peter van der Knaap

Managing-Director of SWOV, the national Institute for Road Safety Research in The Netherlands

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Ingrid van Engelshoven

Ingrid van Engelshoven

Minister of Education, Culture and Science

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Wopke Hoekstra

Wopke Hoekstra

Minster of Finance

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David Mair

David Mair

Head of Unit, Knowledge for Policy, European Commission

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Kathryn Newcomer

Kathryn Newcomer

Former president of the American Evaluation Association & Professor in the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at the George Washington University

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Peter Gluckman

Peter Gluckman

Chair of the International Network of Government Science Advisors (INGSA) & incoming president of the International Council of Science

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Conference venue

15-18 December 2020
Leiden University, Wijnhaven

Turfmarkt 99

2511 DP, The Hague

Conference Diner

15 December 2020 from 19:00
To be announced

Social programme

14 December 2020 from 15:00 until 17:00 City Tour The Hague
Startlocation: Campus Leiden University, Wijnhaven

Turfmarkt 99

2511 DP, The Hague

14 December 2020 from 17:00 Welcome drink & reception
Location to be announced

Traveling to the conference location

The conference will take place in Leiden University, Wijnhaven in the Hague, which is located 5 minutes from the central station. If you want to come by car, which we would not suggest because of the costs and traffic, you can reserve a parking spot on the website of ‘Parkeren in Museumkwartier’ (via this link), which is also the cheapest option for parking in the city center.

The conference venue is 27 minutes away by car, and 45 to 60 minutes away by public transport.

Please find a detailed description of the available means of transportation to and from this airport here.