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Building Capacity to Use Research Evidence (BCURE)

The effective use of research and evidence can play a crucial role in making policy more successful. However, while policymakers in low- and middle-income countries often lack the capacity to effectively access, appraise and apply research when making decisions, our evaluation found that capacity is just one element of a tapestry of factors that block or disincentivise evidence-informed policymaking.


The £15.7 million BCURE programme aimed to improve the use of evidence in decision making in low and middle-income countries. It ran from 2013 to 2017, funded by DFID (the UK Department for International Development), and was made up of six linked projects implemented across 12 countries in Africa and Asia, as well as a number of additional countries reached through international networking and small-grant initiatives. Each project used different combinations of capacity development interventions to support policymakers, government officials and parliamentarians to develop skills, knowledge and systems in order to improve the use of evidence in decision making. 

The BCURE evaluation was conducted by an independent evaluation team from Itad, and ran from 2014 to 2017, in parallel with the programme. The evaluation had a focus on both learning and accountability, as expressed in its two key aims: 

  • To strengthen the global evidence base on the effectiveness of capacity building approaches to support evidence-informed policy. 
  • To evaluate the effectiveness and value for money of the six BCURE programmes. 

The evaluation encompassed annual internal programme evaluations of the six BCURE programmes, a literature review, an impact case study of a non-BCURE capacity building initiative, and annual synthesis reports on how and why capacity building for evidence use works or not in different contexts. This final report summarises insights from across all of these components. 


Check out publications and findings from BCURE below.

Final evaluation of the Building Capacity to Use Research Evidence programme

Academic Publications

Literature Review: How can capacity development promote evidence-informed policy making?

The literature review examines how and why different approaches to capacity building for evidence-informed policy making work, for whom, and in which contexts.

You can read the Literature Review in sections:

Read the Literature Review Briefing Note for an overview of three of the main lessons.

You can also explore the BCURE Literature Database (XLSX File, Size: 186 KB), which includes information on all the resources used, as well as other useful resources which didn’t make it into the review.

Stage Two Synthesis Report

Stage One Synthesis Report

For more information on the BCURE project please visit the BCURE website.

Contact Rob Lloyd ( if you would like to discuss this project.


Image © School for the first time. Photo credit: DFID (CC BY 2.0)

Team members