Monday 11.30-12.30 (Bridewell Hall)

Experimenting with new technologies for MERL: Dr. Rebecca Rumbul, My Society;  Maria Jones, World Bank, Simone Lombardini, Oxfam GB: Jan Liebnitzky, Firetail Ltd.
A series of lightning talks will provide insights into the potentials of new technologies looking at crowdsourcing, satellite data and discrete choice experiments among others. Discussion to follow.

Session description:

This session aims to be an ‘eye-opener’ into some methods and tools we don’t use every day. While this is to inspire the audience in their work as Researcher, Evaluator and M&E professionals to use these methods in future, there will also be room to discuss and share experiences.  

There will be 5 lightning talks of 5 min each covering satellite data, crowdsourcing, discrete choice experiments and phone surveys. Afterwards, there is going to be a 30 minutes Q&A in which it is left to the audience to lead the discussion into a certain direction.  

Lightning talks topics:

  • Using analytics as a validation tool: rethinking quality and reliability of data collection (Rebecca Rumbul)
  • Potential and pitfalls of crowdsourcing data (Maria Jones)
  • Satellite and remote sensing data (Maria Jones)
  • Discrete choice experiment (DCE) to generate weights for a multidimensional index (Simone Lombardini)
  • Cost-benefits comparison of IVR, SMS, and phone survey methods (Jan Liebnitzky)

Session Leads:

Simone Lombardini, development economist and impact evaluator, has eight years of experience in over 14 countries. Simone is currently managing a team of impact evaluation advisers in Oxfam GB, and conducting a range of impact evaluations of Oxfam’s projects in order to capture organisations effectiveness and promoting evidence-based learning. His area of expertise includes designing and conducting experimental and quasi-experimental impact evaluations. He leads the methodological development of hard-to-measure outcomes such as women’s empowerment, and provides technical advice and delivers training on sampling techniques, questionnaire design, data and econometric analysis.  Prior to joining Oxfam, Simone worked at Oxford University on two randomised control trials in Kenya and Tanzania, worked at the Mexican Migration Project in Mexico, Centro Studi Luca d’Agliano in Italy, and Innovation for Poverty Action in Peru. He graduated in economics from the University of Milano-Bicocca and hold an MSc in development economics from the University of Sussex. More on Simone here or on Twitter: @simonelomb. Contact him at slombardini[at]

Maria Jones is a Survey Specialist in the Impact Evaluation (DIME) unit of the Development Research Group at the World Bank. In 2016, she launched DIME Analytics, an initiative to increase and standardize data quality across DIME. Previously, she coordinated DIME’s Global Agricultural and Food Security Program (GAFSP) impact evaluations from 2012-16, and a program of impact evaluations with the Government of Malawi from 2009-11. Her main research interests are survey methods, non-traditional data sources, and agricultural productivity growth. Maria has a BA in Economics from Amherst College and an MA in International Relations / Development Economics from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)

Rebecca Rumbul is Head of Research for international digital development NGO mySociety. Rebecca holds a PhD in politics and governance, and has worked actively as a researcher for many years. Previously managing the work of the Wales Governance Centre at Cardiff University,  Rebecca was responsible for the development and establishment of mySociety’s research agenda, and has spoken widely on the impacts of civic technology both at practitioner and academic conferences. Rebecca has written several respected research reports on civic technology, and has articles on politics, governance and civic tech published in a number of peer-reviewed journals. In 2016, Rebecca won the ‘Best Paper Award’ at the Conference for eDemocracy and Open Government, and currently serves as Co-Chair of the OGRX Editorial Board. When she’s not working on mySociety projects, Rebecca continues to teach politics courses for adult learners at Cardiff University, is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and in 2015 was awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship. She is a regular political commentator in Wales, providing expert analysis to BBC Wales and ITV, and is a regular paper reviewer on BBC Radio Wales’ Good Morning Wales programme. More about Rebecca here, or follow her on Twitter: @RebeccaRumbul

Jan Liebnitzky is a Monitoring and Evaluation Consultant with experience in higher education, public health, research into policy, crime and human rights. For his work, Jan draws on a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods which he has applied in the academic and international development context. He is skilled in conducting Randomised Controlled Trials, participatory evaluations and Value for Money analyses to mention a few. After finalising his studies in Psychology and Economics, Jan worked as a Monitoring and Evaluation Officer with the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP) in Oxford. He implemented monitoring and evaluation activities for capacity building programmes with the aim to strengthen research access, production and uptake, mainly in Africa and Asia. He also has experience from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. More about Jan here or contact him at jan[at]


Experimenting w New Tech – Data Analytics- RRumbul

Experimenting w New Tech – DCE – SLombardini

Experimenting w New Tech – Remote Sensing for Ag – MJones