The Development Impact Lab (DIL) hosts a series of conferences each year, including the annual State of the Science Conference. These provide opportunities for experts from universities, NGOs, government agencies, social enterprises, and private industry to share ideas and articulate new perspectives, research priorities, and opportunities.
To get involved in conference organizing, propose themes for future conferences, or submit general questions, contact us.
The Development Impact Lab 2017 State of the Science Conference
Conflict and Technology: Innovation in Fragile Environments
September 2017 | Washington, DC
How can we promote the adoption, diffusion and scale of promising technologies that can substantially improve the lives of people in fragile environments across the globe, including refugee camps, slums, and non-permissive settings around the world? There are many challenges in these situations — from citizen mistrust and lack of jobs, to missing infrastructure and weak governance. Yet innovators are increasingly developing new and better “technologies for development” to combat poverty, failed governments, and violent extremism. The development community seeks an increased understanding of these interventions, and the evidence that supports them.
Headquartered at UC Berkeley, the Development Impact Lab (DIL), is a global consortium of research institutes, NGOs, and industry partners committed to advancing international development through science and technology innovations, with a focus on scale. In 2017, DIL will focus its annual “State of the Science” Conference on technologies that function in – and ameliorate – fragile environments, with a focus on economic growth, improved governance and conflict prevention, to take place in the Washington, DC area in September 2017.
The conference will create a forum for government experts, technologists, NGOs, industry, and researchers to learn about novel development technologies that operate in harsh, remote, and low-resource settings – from early stage prototypes to advanced products that have been rigorously evaluated in the field. Presentations will be analytical, focusing on the evidence behind such interventions — both what exists, and what is needed. Speakers will also address the barriers to scale for these kinds of technologies, highlighting technology efforts spanning off-grid communications infrastructure, decentralized water treatment solutions, and mobile services being tested in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and several other countries.
Topics for discussion will include:
- Designing Tech for Complex Environments: Confronting uncertainty and fragility in the design of technologies
- Monitoring Technology for Challenging Environments: Using remote sensing to track changes in difficult environments
- Tech for Citizen Engagement and Transparency: How can development focused technologies and research influence governments and potentially prevent or mitigate conflict
Past EventsState of the Science 2016: The Science Of Scaling
The Development Impact Lab 2016 State of the Science Conference
The Science of Scaling: Building Evidence to Advance Anti-Poverty Innovations
Monday, September 26 | UC Berkeley
The Development Impact Lab (DIL), headquartered at UC Berkeley and funded by USAID, has developed a new approach to innovation in the context of global development. The approached–called “Development Engineering (Dev Eng)”–merges advances in engineering with insights from the behavioral and social sciences. In addition to providing a robust, interdisciplinary framework for designing and testing new technologies in the field, DIL encourages researchers to build scale into the R&D process, from the beginning.
Yet the precise barriers to scale are often ill-defined. There are few generalizable mechanisms for scaling evidence-based interventions in emerging markets. To learn from ongoing efforts, DIL is hosting our annual State of the Science conference on The Science of Scaling:
The conference will bring together academic researchers, development practitioners, technology developers, and investors to review the evidence on scaling successful anti-poverty innovations–particularly those developed at universities. Are there proven methods for technology transfer from university to government agencies and non-governmental organizations? Why do some products and interventions scale quicker than others? What facilitates the adoption of new technologies by end-users? This event will explore these questions and help articulate a research agenda for the “Science of Scaling”.
- Enabling Scale with Technology
- Testing at Scale
- External Validity: Multi-cluster studies – Same Hypothesis, Different Settings
- Mixed-Methods Research for Scaling DevEng Innovations
- Subject Area Spotlight: Education Interventions at Scale
- The Media: Creating Pressure Groups to Promote Scale Up
November 8 – November 10, 2014
University of California, Berkeley
Join the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Higher Education Solutions Network (HESN), and the Development Impact Lab (DIL) for TechCon 2014: Connecting to accelerate global development.
HESN TechCon 2014 is a unique convening of academics, students, development experts, field practitioners and the private sector focused on innovative approaches to solution creation, testing, scaling for international development. TechCon 2014 will showcase the innovations and innovators coming out of HESN’s Development Labs that have been produced both in the lab and with development beneficiaries through the Network.
- Interactive sessions that aim to highlight new innovations and data from the Development Labs
- Opportunity to learn from development professionals, industry leaders, discuss development challenges with leading academics, “investing” in new solutions in the innovation marketplace
- TED Talk–style keynotes
- Small group challenge sessions
- “Shark Tank” pitch competition
- Opportunities for networking and spontaneous “unconference” sessions
March 7, 2014
Georgetown University, Washington, DC
Fisher Colloquium, McDonough School of Business, Rafik B. Hariri Building (MAP)
Many barriers hinder the take-up and diffusion of promising innovations that could substantially improve the lives of the poor. New technologies are often inappropriately designed, unaffordable, or inaccessible to those they seek to serve. How can we better capture the demand from consumers at the bottom of the economic pyramid? How can we facilitate the adoption and scale-up of promising pro-poor innovations?
How can we facilitate the adoption and scale-up of promising pro-poor innovations?
The conference will create a forum for technologists, social scientists, NGOs, and policymakers to exchange tools for measuring low-income communities’ preferences, demand, and willingness to pay for new technologies. We hope that project ideas will emerge from this dialogue, enabling new technologies to rapidly evolve to meet the demand of consumers in low and middle-income countries.
Remote and low-resource settings often lack the infrastructure used in wealthier countries to collect consumer data. Instead, international development practitioners and engineers have traditionally relied on small-scale, infrequent surveys and focus groups to capture households’ self-reported preferences. These methods can be costly to implement and prone to measurement errors.
In recent years, however, social scientists and engineers have developed novel techniques to more accurately capture information from underserved communities. These include participatory data collection methods, qualitative approaches, behavioral experiments, low-cost meters and sensors, and large digital data streams.
The convening will include presentations of some of the most recent tools developed for revealing demand; critical reviews of the design and deployment strategies of promising technology innovations; and case-specific breakout sessions fostering inter-disciplinary networking and partnership opportunities.
Sponsors: U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), USAID Higher Education Solutions Network, Development Impact Lab (DIL), UC Berkeley Blum Center for Developing Economies, UC Berkeley Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA), UC Berkeley Institute of International Studies (IIS), Georgetown University Initiative on Innovation, Development, and Evaluation (gui2de)
Please contact Guillaume Kroll (gkroll [at] berkeley [dot] edu) with any questions.