Midlands Knowledge Mobilisation Community of Practice

This community of practice brings together staff with an interest in or responsibility for knowledge and evidence in their system. It provides a space to share information, ideas and resources, as well as seek advice and guidance from one another

Welcome to the Knowledge Mobilisation Community of Practice

The Knowledge Mobilisation and Evidence Network group has over 20 members. We have created a Who who’s of our network to facilitate knowledge sharing and collaborative working. We meet several times in the year to plan training and development activities. We would be interested to hear your views on what would be most useful. We are here to support evidence review and knowledge mobilisation throughout the MDSN and will be engaging in activities which aim to develop:

  • A clear, transparent and explicit knowledge base
  • Capacity to use evidence within the Midlands Decision Support Network
  • Proactive knowledge sharing
  • Awareness of knowledge gaps to inform evaluation/innovation
  • Sustainable collaborative learning

Our Community of Practice meetings take place online. We’ll be moving to a regular schedule from Autumn 2023 onwards. Members regularly present their work at these meetings, and they are an opportunity for members to share and learn from each other.

Our Knowledge Mobilisation Community of Practice is led by Alison Turner (Managing Consultant and Head of Evidence and Knowledge Mobilisation at the Strategy Unit).

Alison has over 25 years’ experience, working in the NHS and academia. Alison leads our Evidence and Knowledge Mobilisation team, specialising in making sense of complex evidence from research and practice. She has extensive expertise in literature searching, evidence synthesis and knowledge management. Her work helps decision makers understand the implications and potential impacts of their choices. Alison is currently studying towards an MSc in Translational Health Sciences at the University of Oxford.

We’re always looking for more members to join the community of practice, and new faces are always welcome! To join this community of practice or to volunteer to present at a future meeting, please contact the Evidence and Knowledge Mobilisation team mlcsu.evidence@nhs.net

What we have done so far:

Produced MDSN guide to finding evidence for decision making

Evidence can help decide which interventions, initiatives, improvements and innovations offer the best value.

This guide has been developed by the Strategy Unit for the Midlands Decision Support Network. It is written for analysts who are seeking to triangulate findings with the wider evidence base. But it is suitable for anyone who is thinking about how to use evidence to inform decisions about health and care.

The guide begins with an introduction to evidence and how it can inform decision making, before taking you through the steps involved to find and analyse evidence, with signposting to further resources and support.

It begins with an introduction to evidence and how it should be used, followed by sections on:

  • how does evidence inform decision making?
  • how do I find and use evidence?
  • what pitfalls should I avoid?
  • where can I get help and support?

Developed a content management strategy for the MDSN Library

The Knowledge Library is a collection of evidence and analysis produced by Midlands Decision Support Network (MDSN), to encourage knowledge sharing and avoid unnecessary duplication.

The Library is managed by an editorial team who will ensure content is relevant and current.

The knowledge library…

  • acts as the “collective memory” of the Midlands Decision Support Network
  • acts as a “knowledge commons” enabling knowledge mobilisation
  • is the first port of call as part of a check for what we already know before conceptualising/framing or commissioning new work

Current work

We’re currently working with NHS library colleagues in the Midlands to add MDSN content to regional research repositories. This helps to make MDSN research more visible and discoverable by capturing, storing, and preserving research output and making it available to the wider health and care community through open access protocols.

Meeting dates

The next Knowledge Mobilisation Community of Practice meeting is scheduled for:-

  • Wednesday 22nd November 2023 at 2pm –  James Thomas, Deputy Director of the EPPI Centre, Professor of Social Research and Policy, Director of the EPPI Centre’s Reviews Facility for the Department of Health, England will be talking about ChatGPT and other generative AI tools and implications for evidence synthesis.

Summary of the 22nd November Community of Practice

James Thomas from the Evidence for Policy & Practice Information Centre at University College London presented on the topic of generative AI and evidence synthesis. The talk outlined the journey from ‘traditional tools’ through to the more sophisticated, new generation of tools, that are harnessing the increases in accessibility to open access research, computing power and advances in machine learning. Topics covered included critical questions to consider when assessing AI tools and the benefits and limitations of both larger and fine-tuned, smaller models.


  • Thursday 11th January 2024 at 2pm – Julie Reynolds, will be leading a conversation about storytelling, diversity and inclusion. More details to follow soon.


  • Tuesday 5th March 2024 at 2pm –  Andrew Booth, Professor in Evidence synthesis, University of Sheffield, will be leading a workshop on evidence synthesis. More details to follow soon.


If you’d like to attend this meeting, please contact the Evidence and Knowledge Mobilisation team mlcsu.evidence@nhs.net

Previous meetings and information

July 2023

Zaheera Teladia and Karen Bradley from the Strategy Unit presented on a project to develop peer review in Long Covid services in the Midlands, including three pilots in Staffordshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire. The project is coming to a close after several months work and has been an interesting example of knowledge sharing and innovation spread. The group also participated in a knowledge café, sharing approaches to knowledge sharing in their organisations and systems, sharing reflections on some of the challenges as well as ideas to take forward.

16 February 2023

Helen Outhwaite from NHS England shared on her team’s work to capture insights and learning on Learning Health Systems (LHS), inviting us to consider how we might support the delivery of LHS. Andrew Booth from ScHARR (School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield) presented on their work providing rapid reviews on demand for NIHR, through their commissions from the Evidence Synthesis Programme and the Health and Social Care Delivery Research Programme. Freddie Finlay from the Strategy Unit presented an MDSN-funded evidence signpost on rural health inequalities, inviting expressions of interest in potentially continuing the work

16 November 2022

Ramona Naicker from Northern Care Alliance presented her work developing a critical appraisal tool for antiracism. Ramona’s work is available at https://www.criticallyappraisingantiracism.org/. Ramona has subsequently collaborated with Cardiff University on an elearning resource. Karen Bradley also shared an update on MDSN Insight to Action work to help health systems make use of MDSN analytical outputs. Karen Bradley also shared an update on MDSN Insight to Action work to help health systems make use of MDSN analytical outputs.

29 June 2022

Jo Chalmers and Rachel Illingworth from Nottinghamshire ICS hosted a knowledge café inviting a discussion on evidence analysis for population health management, where participants shared challenges and lessons learned. Catherine McLaren and Ruth Carlyle from Health Education England presented their work on health literacy, including the Health Literacy Toolkit (since updated and available on the NHSE web site).

11 January 2022

Alison presented the newly published MDSN guides on Finding Evidence for Decision Making and Insight to Action, developed to support Intelligence Functions in the network. Zaheera Teladia and Karen Bradley introduced the Long Covid peer review project (see the update from July 2023 for the latest update).

4 November 2021

Colleagues from the Midlands Decision Support Network shared updates on the development of the network and recently completed projects. The group also continued to discuss ideas for developing this community of practice.

28 June 2021

Our first meeting took place in June 2021. This was an opportunity for people to get to know each other, learn about the Midlands Decision Support Network and share ideas for how the community of practice might work. Alison also presented on some work supporting Long Covid services to share knowledge on their approaches to managing a condition we’re still learning about.