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Partners for Evidence-driven Rapid Learning in Social Systems


While evidence-informed policymaking approaches have helped drive progress in many health systems around the world, a new partnership among the Forum, its partners in 13 countries, the Hewlett Foundation, and Canada’s International Development Research Centre, is now setting its sights on helping support the achievement of the non-health SDGs using best evidence, citizen values and stakeholder insights.

The objectives of the Partners for Evidence-driven Rapid Learning in Social Systems (PERLSS) network are to:

  1. pilot and iteratively refine mechanisms, adapted from ‘health systems,’ to support evidence-informed policymaking (EIP) about social systems generally and, where appropriate, the non-health Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in particular;
  2. strengthen target organizations’ institutional capacities, ‘join up’ country-level ecosystems of policy-supporting organizations, and develop an international community of practice to support structured lesson-drawing about how to best support EIP about social systems; and
  3. ensure that the network (EVIPNet) supporting these and other similar organizations in their work on health systems is building on the lessons learned from this project and better brokering requests from countries that don’t have such organizations.

This project involves organizations in 11 countries (and synergy-support teams in four countries) that support policymakers and stakeholders to draw on many types of research evidence to clarify development problems and causes, frame options to address them, and identify implementation considerations.


  • Africa Centre for Evidence, University of Johannesburg (South Africa)
  • Centre for the Development of Best Practices in Health (Cameroon)
  • Ebonyi State University (Nigeria)
  • Ethiopian Public Health Institute (Ethiopia)
  • Makerere University (Uganda)
  • Ministry of Health (Burkina Faso)

Latin American teams

  • Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Antioquia (Colombia)
  • Foundation for Scientific and Technological Development in Health and the Veredas Institute (Brazil)
  • Subsecretaría de Salud Pública, Ministry of Health (Chile)

Other country teams

  • Centre of Studies and Research, Ministry of Health (Oman)
  • Lanzhou University (China)

Synergy-support teams

  • Africa Centre for Evidence, University of Johannesburg (South Africa)
  • EPPI Centre, UCL Institute of Education, University College London (United Kingdom)
  • Knowledge to Policy Center, American University of Beirut (Lebanon)
  • McMaster Health Forum (Canada)

Funding partners

  • International Development Research Centre (IDRC)
  • William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

One of the key resources that PERLSS will use to access research evidence is Social Systems Evidence. This free online repository of pre-appraised, synthesized research evidence will soon contain more than 2,000 systematic reviews. These documents feature synthesized research evidence about strengthening 20 government sectors and program areas, and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Through a partnership with the Monash Sustainable Development Institute, Social Systems Evidence will soon begin providing coverage of the three remaining SDGs.