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Theory of Change Workshops 19 and 26 June 2020

How do you communicate to stakeholders the link between your research and intended changes to sustainable development?

How do you make the case to funders on the potential impacts of your research project?

How do you keep track of project outcomes in relation to the expected impacts?

The “Theory of Change” has been developed and used to help you answer these questions.

Workshop 1: 19th June 2020, 10:00am - 12:30pm
Workshop 2: 26th June 2020, 10:00am-12.00pm

Book your place

Key aims

Who should attend?

About the workshops

These interactive workshops will explore Theory of Change (ToC) and how we can use it to communicate and maximise the potential for change of projects. Acknowledging that ToC is more straightforward than its name suggests, we will seek to de-mystify ToC so that it feels more intuitive as an approach rather than a burdensome additional requirement.

An interactive tool will be available to all participants in advance of the meetings with a bank of useful information. Participants will be able to use the tool to share information and interact with the group.

IGSD is working with Christine Bell from the Centre for Facilitation to deliver these workshops. Christine has a strong track record of working with universities and funders, facilitating productive virtual discussions around research using a variety of tools that enable participants to explore information, develop ideas and network.


Theory of Change is a framework for capturing how we think change will happen and how we can align our activities and resources to influence these changes within a particular context. It might be best conceived of as a holistic, dialogical and collaborative way to model and track desired change in a multi-disciplinary research project.

Recognising their value in the research process, UKRI Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) calls increasingly encourage applicants to use frameworks such as Theory of Change. While ToC is useful at any project stage, it is particularly suitable as a basis for other monitoring and evaluation tools, such as logframes, and can be as used formalistically, or holistically and collaboratively.

It has the potential to shape project planning, increase positive interactions with partners and stakeholders and to help project teams to keep track of project outcomes.

Key aims
  • To understand different approaches to Theory of Change and how they can benefit the research life cycle.
  • To begin to develop a ToC for an existing research proposal.
  • To share experience and build a community of practice for researchers working on global sustainable development.
Who should attend?

There are 25 places available on the workshop and priority will be given to researchers.


Instead of an intensive one-day event we have broken up the workshop into a series of bite sized chunks to help maintain your energy and to provide reflective time.

The workshops are sequential, and each session will build on the previous session so we are hoping you will join them all.

The events are designed as virtual participatory dialogue so most of the time will be in conversation with others and not in a standard webinar “listen” only mode. There will be short reflective pauses in the sessions but expected to be actively engaged throughout the planned timings

Pre event preparation
Live Q&A with Professor João Porto de Albuquerque
12th June
11.00 – 11.40

Video Link for Q&A

Connections and Research Ideas
12th June – 16th June

On 19th June session we will use your current research interests and explore how these could work in a Theory of Change Format.

Join the Connections Board to upload your photo and an introduction about your research interests and impact and to submit ideas for a potential interdisciplinary research project that would be relevant to Sustainable Development

For instructions on using the Mural see the Pinboard


Main event
Virtual Workshop Part 1
19th June 10.00 -12.30

We will assume you either participated in the Live Q&A or have watched the video so you have a baseline awareness of Theory of Change

Session 1: Introduction and Overview of TOC and awareness of the tensions

Session 2: Long Term TOC Vision: Creative burst

Session 3: Developing the TOC: Creating a causal chain

Session 4: Reflections on TOC in research

For security reasons, if you have not yet received the Zoom meeting details and password, please email and they will be sent to you.

Bridging Task :
Developing Theories of Change
19th June – 25th June

We will invite you to continue working together in your small group to develop your Theory of Change so you can share it with others in Workshop Part 2

Virtual Workshop Part 2
26th June 10.00-12.00

Session 1: Team update

Session 2: Mixing of teams to challenge and test assumptions and the causal chain to strengthen the TOC created

Session 3: Reflections on using TOC in Research



Post event follow up
Follow Up

An optional follow up is to refine the TOC you have created and submit it to the IGSD team for comment to help you to further improve your presentation of TOC in subsequent funding applications.