Global evidence, local impact: broadening participation at the Global Evidence Summit


The second Global Evidence Summit (GES) is taking place in the picturesque city of Prague, Czech Republic, from 10 to 13 September 2024. Hosted by global leaders in evidence synthesis and evidence-based practice, including Cochrane, JBI, Guidelines International Network (GIN), and The Campbell Collaboration, the summit represents a unique opportunity for knowledge exchange and collaboration. It is an opportunity for professionals across various sectors, such as health, education, social justice, the environment, and climate change, to engage in discussions about producing, summarizing, and disseminating evidence to inform policy and practice.

GES is committed to inclusivity and global partnership, with a particular focus on low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). We spoke with Sabrina Khamissa, Cochrane's Events Support Officer closely involved in GES, to uncover insights, behind-the-scenes information, and updates about the event.


Hi Sabrina! Excitement is building for the upcoming GES event in September. Could you give us an overview of GES's approach to inclusivity and global participation?
Sabrina: The GES stands out as a unique gathering, uniting individuals across various disciplines and roles, from policymakers to patients and government officials to advocates. This diversity is also reflected in our attendees and our program. Ensuring a diverse and representative audience is important to us. Our commitment to including LMICs has been integral to every stage of planning. From the formation of committees working behind the scenes, to the selection of conference themes and speakers, and even to offering discounts to LMIC attendees. We've strived to make the participation of people from LMICs a central focus of the event.

That's wonderful to hear! Could you share a bit about what's happening behind the scenes to involve LMICs that people might not know about?
Sabrina: Absolutely! Behind the scenes, there has been an effort to make the GES accessible and inclusive for participants from LMICs. One aspect that may not be immediately apparent is the meticulous process involved in selecting the event location. The choice of the Czech Republic was intentional. Its accessibility via train or plane, price points of accommodation and other expenses, coupled with reasonable visa requirements, makes it an ideal venue that ensures ease and affordability for global attendees. We also have many committees working behind the scenes. We've taken deliberate steps to ensure that these committees encompass a range of perspectives, including representation from LMICs. From reviewing abstract submissions to curating the roster of keynote speakers, diversity is at the forefront of our considerations. This ensures that the program reflects the global diversity of voices and experiences, enriching the summit's discourse and impact.

Registration prices and visa requirements can often pose significant barriers for attendees from LMICs. How is GES addressing these challenges?
Sabrina: To promote inclusivity, we have implemented significantly reduced registration rates for attendees joining us from low-income, lower-middle-income, and upper-middle-income economies, as classified by the World Bank. This initiative aims to mitigate financial barriers that often deter participation from LMICs, ensuring that cost is not a prohibitive factor for delegates seeking to attend GES. 

We understand the logistical challenges faced by attendees from LMICs, including visa requirements. To alleviate this burden, we are happy to provide letters of invitation to support visa applications. We encourage all attendees to check visa requirements and if you need a letter, please get in touch as early as possible. Our goal is to facilitate smooth and hassle-free participation for all delegates!

Cochrane Stipends

There are also stipends. What exactly are those and what does it cover?
Sabrina: Cochrane is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion within its network and recognizes the importance of making its events accessible to individuals from all backgrounds. The organization understands that individuals from low and middle-income countries may face financial barriers that prevent them from attending GES, and wants to help alleviate those barriers by offering stipends and bursaries. This is a long tradition at Cochrane and we have been offering this for many years.

Stipends are available to those residing in low-, lower-middle-, and upper-middle-income countries who are actively contributing to Cochrane's mission. Recipients of these scholarships are expected to provide a report detailing their experiences at the Global Evidence Summit. This report may be utilized as a blog post or news item, contributing to the dissemination of insights and knowledge gained from the event. We are also offering stipends for patients and consumers too! 


And what about the GES program? 
Sabrina: The official GES themes have relevance to LMIC, including sustainable development and global evidence to local impact. Each plenary session will feature an LMIC or UMIC representative speaker, ensuring that diverse perspectives are incorporated into the discussions. Plenaries serve as a valuable platform where all attendees come together for presentations followed by panel discussions—an enriching shared experience for all involved.

The program also encompasses many posters and smaller oral presentations, all revolving around our GES themes. These sessions provide attendees with the opportunity to delve into their specific areas of interest, fostering a dynamic learning environment tailored to individual preferences. As I said before, it's a very unique event and we are confident that there will be interesting content for all attendees!

Looking ahead, what are the long-term implications of efforts in involving LMICs in global initiatives like the Global Evidence Summit?
Sabrina: That's an interesting question and it's been one that we have been conscious of. GES organizers and the partners involved truly feel that the efforts extend far beyond the confines of a GES single event. By fostering collaboration and knowledge exchange among diverse people, we lay the foundation for sustainable partnerships that transcend geographical boundaries. Ultimately, we aim to empower attendees to take ownership of evidence-based practices, driving positive health outcomes and equity on a global scale. 

Registration is open for GES and we're looking forward to welcoming you all to Prague in September! See you there! 


Early-bird registration is now open until 13 June. Standard registration is open until 14 August with late/onsite registration available.