Events Archive

Details of some of our past events are listed below along with any slides, handouts and abstracts etc.  UK-IS members are free to reuse these materials, but please acknowledge the author and source, and indicate if changes have been made.

Implementation Week 2022

Focusing on implementation science and its practice

Introduction to Implementation Science

Monday 11th July 2022

UK-IS Interim Chair and Director of Family Psychology Mutual, Dr Tom Jefford, hosted an introduction to the key ideas and concepts behind implementation science. 

The session offered participants the chance to find out how Implementation Science is relevant to their day job, why projects and changes that they are seeking to make might be hitting problems or are not achieving the changes that they desire, and offered offered practical advice and an explanation of theoretical concepts.

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The UKIS Implementation debate:  The Independent Review of Children’s Social Care and implementation challenges

Tuesday 12th July 2022

The publication of the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care sets out a myriad of challenges for how social work is organised, how care leavers are supported, when residential care is used (and whom it is provided by) and how expanded family support should be delivered.  


Whilst the Government responds to the recommendations and considers how to develop policy, UK-IS Members along with an invited panel and guests reflected with an implementation and a policy perspective concerning how we can meet the implementation challenges for the sector.


The debate was chaired by Dr Tom Jefford, UKIS interim Chair and Director of Family Psychology Mutual, and the panel included:

  • Cathy James, from the National Implementation Network and the lead for the UK Multi Systemic Therapy network.

  • Steve Walker, ex-Director of Children’s Services in Leeds and a Trustee of the What Works in Children’s Social Care Centre.

  • Annette Boaz, Transforming Evidence and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

5th UK Implementation Science Research Conference

14th & 15th July 2022

The theme of the 5th Implementation Science Research Conference theme was: “Beyond trials: the rise of pragmatic approaches to implementation science in health and social care research.” 

The 2022 conference brought together online researchers, policymakers, clinicians, practitioners and service users from around the world, who together shared the best ways to implement evidence-based health and social care research within services and systems to improve health and care outcomes. 

The virtual conference featured plenary lectures from leading international researchers. It also included oral and poster presentations organised under specialist themes, roundtable discussions, question and answer sessions, and online networking.  

Evidence-supported interventions for children in care: Does Treatment Foster Care Oregon (TFCO) fit within the UK context? with Colin Waterman

Tuesday 29th March 2022


Treatment Foster Care Oregon (TFCO) is one of a number of systemic, therapeutic ‘family focused’ models brought from the USA to Europe in recent decades. This paper looks at a large-scale implementation of TFCO and how its systemic principles sought to positively impact the ‘looked after children's’ sector within the UK. However, following a 15-year government-driven nationwide implementation initiative, only one UK TFCO site remains, despite the efforts of many skilled and dedicated workers striving to sustain it across the country. This paper explores some of the factors that contributed to the rise and fall of TFCO in Britain, outlining implementation challenges and the learning gained through the UK implementation of TFCO.

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UK-IS Journal Club 

In 2021 UK-IS launched the Journal Club, a hosted series of 45 minute discussions each focused on a selected article, report or other publication.  All the pieces reflected implementation issues, but over the series we varied the selection across topics, sectors, levels of complexity and different perspectives.

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28th June 2022

Hosted by:

Dr. Alexandra Ziemann

Adapting interventions to new contexts—the ADAPT guidance

Moore G, Campbell M, Copeland L, Craig P, Movsisyan A, Hoddinott P et al. BMJ 2021;374:n1679

26th April 2022

Hosted by:

Dr. Tom Jefford

Spreading and scaling up innovation and improvement

Greenhalgh and Papoutsi BMJ 2019;365:l2068

22nd February 2022

Hosted by:

Dr. Andrew Walker

Learning Evaluation: blending quality improvement and implementation research methods to study healthcare innovations

Bijal A Balasubramanian, Deborah J Cohen, Melinda M Davis, Rose Gunn, L Miriam Dickinson, William L Miller, Benjamin F Crabtree & Kurt C Stange (2015) Implementation Science volume 10, Article number: 31

Read Feedback

14th Dec 2021

Hosted by:

Prof. Nick Sevdalis

The Implementation Research Logic Model: a method for planning, executing, reporting, and synthesizing implementation projects

Justin D. Smith, Dennis H. Li & Miriam R. Rafferty (2020) Implementation Science 84

26th Oct 2021

Hosted by:

Dr. Alexandra Ziemann

Mechanisms of scaling up: combining a realist perspective and systems analysis to understand successfully scaled interventions

Harriet Koorts , Samuel Cassar , Jo Salmon , Mark Lawrence , Paul Salmon and Henry Dorling (2021) International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 18:42

31st Aug 2021

Hosted by:

Dr. Tom Jefford

Making sense of implementation theories, models and frameworks

Per Nilsen (2015) Implementation Science 10: 53

29th June 2021

Hosted by:

Prof. Annette Boaz

A refined compilation of implementation strategies: results from the Expert Recommendations for Implementing Change (ERIC) project

Powell BJ, Waltz TJ, Chinman MJ, Damschroder LJ, Smith JL, Matthieu MM, Proctor EK, Kirchner JE

27th April 2021

Hosted by:

Dr. Deborah Ghate

Lessons from complex interventions to improve health.

Penelope Hawes (2015) Annual Review of Public Health 36:307-23

Implementation Week 2021

Slides and other resources from events that took place as part of UK Implementation week 2021.

The professional field of implementation research and support continues to grow and develop across the world, with operational and research job titles increasingly embracing the term ‘implementation’. Across the UK and in Ireland, implementation roles are also beginning to proliferate vary in scope and content. Apart from Implementation Societies and Networks, there are no overarching bodies that represent those working in implementation-focused roles, and there are no common understandings of the professional or scientific standards to which implementation professionals should work to. This raises questions about what it means to be ‘an implementation professional’ today. Where is the field headed, and what opportunities and challenges are encountered by those who work in it?


As part of Implementation Week 2021, UK-IS members and guests, including colleagues from the Implementation Network of Ireland and Northern Ireland, contributed to a highly topical and important discussion as they took stock of the state of the field.


They discussed questions including:

  • How well-recognised is ‘implementation’ as a professional field of practice, leadership and study in the UK and Ireland?

  • What does it feel like to be in one of the many new roles with ‘implementation’ (or improvement) in the job title? What is involved, and how is (or should) the job be different from other job roles in multi-disciplinary teams?

  • What are (or should be) the skills, competencies, and values of implementation professionals?

  • What should the field generally and employers specifically be doing to support established personnel and new career entrants in implementation roles?​

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The UK-IS Implementation Debate 
Tuesday 13th July 2021
Implementation in Real Life
Wednesday 14th July 2021

UK-IS Vice-Chair Dr Tom Jefford shared details of a piece of applied research he undertook, as part of his doctoral research, into implementation in local authorities.  This research was of particular interest to those working in local authorities as well as within systems and organisations, and shared insights on how to sustain evidence based programmes.

In 2008 10 new Multi Systemic Therapy sites were established in England. This research re-visited three sites over 5 years later to find out what had happened. 

Using implementation science approaches and a grounded theory methodology this study sought to understand the real world experience of implementation of an evidence based intervention in Local Authority settings with all of the organisational and system challenges that this presents.

Lessons for implementation, leadership, organisations and threats are discussed as the three sites experienced varied outcomes from closure to success and sustainment. 

UK-IS Reflect & Refuel Discussion Series

During the pandemic in 2020, UK-IS hosted a series of short hosted discussions around some of the pressing topics of that time  and how they relate to effective implementation practice and science

What happens to stakeholder engagement and user or patient involvement in the context of rapid or crisis-related work?
28th May 2020
How can we identify, record, profile and assess the effectiveness of innovative practice in response to Covid-19 (especially where it has subverted usual processes and practices)?  How can we capture its active ingredients?  How much pandemic-related innovation could be sustainable and scalable? 
4th June 2019
In implementation science theory and literature, leadership has been identified repeatedly as an important implementation driver. But what kind of leadership (so-called systems leadership, command and control leadership, compassionate leadership, adaptive leadership, technical leadership etc) and what attributes of leadership have been most effective (or most needed) during this unprecedented crisis?
11th June 2020
How are practitioners and managers in front-line services actually using implementation science or know-how in the current environment?
18th June 2020

On June 18th, UK-IS Board member Emma Ross,  mental health nurse and Programme Manager in Leeds Children and Family services with responsibility for a range of MST services as well as several innovation projects, hosted an R&R session on front line practice and implementation science learning, during the pandemic. 

Here are just a few of the themes that emerged for Emma from the discussion, (not necessarily in order of importance):


  • It was clear that many services in many different places are facing the same/similar challenges around how to do their work effectively at the moment – have we thought enough about how implementation science can help?

  • The constraints of the current social distancing rules create new barriers to evidence based work ‘as usual’ - and most particularly to building effective relationship based work

  • There is huge pressure across services to ‘do’ new and different things in response to the crisis without any clear understanding, planning or reviewing

  • How working in an emotionally–charged and driven response system may not easily align with rational or logical or planned approaches – how can we build this in to the usual ‘science-based’ approach of IS?

  • Members are worrying about the cost implications of the COVID crisis and that some good services are now potentially at risk of decommissioning as the need to save costs grows (all the more so since some thought that costs had barely been considered in the initial response to the crisis, so a time of reckoning post-Covid was imminent)

  • ...But at the same time (never waste a good crisis!), some thought that decommissioning processes offer a definite opportunity to apply an IS-lens, possibly for the first time in some services  

  • Some observed that where teams already had some grounding in IS, teams were much more likely to try and make sense of events and processes, and more likely to slow down the ‘doing’ process just enough to incorporate a more planful, evidence-grounded approach in the midst of the crisis response. This was proving to be both ‘containing’ and ‘focusing’ for workers under stress. 

  • Perhaps that’s a main contribution of an IS approach -  the drive to analyse and understand what’s happening, and to ask why, and how existing knowledge can help -  even when work is being done under exceptional pressure and at exceptional speed. We hope so!  

  • So participants thought there was definitely an increased role for implementation science as we come out of the COVID-19 period – but we wondered how to capitalise on this most powerfully?

How has (or hasn’t?) knowledge and evidence from the field of implementation science been mobilised in responses across services and settings during the Covid-19 crisis?
25th June 2020

Board member Dr Tom Jefford, director at Family Psychology Mutual based in Cambridge hosted one of our Reflect and Refuel (R&R) sessions on-line on June 25th.   Some of the themes captured by Tom from the discussion included:

  • The challenge for implementation science has been to respond quickly to a rapidly changing landscape.

  • However the use of evidence and the application of implementation principles derived from evidence  can be achieved in real time, not least if it is done in simplified form

  • The Covid-19 crisis has led to innovation but also significant waste of resources through poor procurement, resources being deployed in the wrong place or through poor planning

  • In a period of crisis we may change our stance on the normal checks and balances on leadership and governance, and may relax or apply them differently -  but this is time limited before dissent rises

  • Many relationships between central government, public health and local authorities have been strained through lack of communication, clarity of roles and false assumptions about capacity

  • It remains the case that writing guidance and then sending it out to schools/ businesses/ health services etc is not the end of the task for effective implementation! This does not mean that successful implementation will then follow

  • Implementation science can and should be articulating a vision of processes and models which would reduce inefficiency and deliver faster results, even in times when resources are stretched and speed is of the essence 

  • In the post Covid period what innovations will be retained and embedded? The rapid adoption of many innovations such as tele medicine and online working are likely to transform many services

During the Covid-19 global crisis, the need to respond rapidly and effectively to many different co-occurring and equally pressing needs during the pandemic has highlighted – possibly never before so clearly – how whole systems interact to create implementation challenges as well as opportunities.  Has the pandemic made us think any differently about cross-systemic implementation, given the multiple levels at which responses have to be made?
2nd July 2020
What practical use have formal implementation theories and frameworks been during the crisis? Could they help us exit the crisis more gracefully than we entered? Have they helped us focus more clearly on the right targets?
9th July 2020

The final R&R session was hosted by Board member Professor Nick Sevdalis on 9th July and focused on the role and use of ‘formal’ theory in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.  We asked whether formal implementation theory has been used? And if yes, has it been useful? Can it help us learn lessons from the pandemic response?

Points arising out of the discussion included:

  • Use of theory is arguably a function of how prepared and ready organisations were to apply it: in some settings, where staff are used to applying theory to their work, such preparedness and confidence in applying theory was present and thus facilitated theory applications better than in settings  where theory use has been historically rare

  • Whether theory use was useful remains to be proven: in many settings, the outcomes of theory application will be sown in subsequent evaluations, which are yet to take place or conclude

  • Successful theory use does not necessarily use a linear path of theory-derived hypotheses to be tested (as in traditional academic work). Theory can be used to inform practice in a dynamic, often non-linear manner – some of the discussants suggested that this is the most helpful application of theory that they have experienced  

  • A distinction was drawn between ‘big theory’ and ‘programme theory’: the latter has been a better-used approach in some setting (both in health and social care) than the former, as it is more intuitive and involves stakeholders

  • The discussants debated how much implementation practitioners and scientists have advocated for the use of theory during the pandemic and whether further advocacy is needed by individuals and organisations (such as UK-IS) in the future

  • The session concluded that a reflection on the use of theory with peers from different sectors (e.g., social and health care, practice and academia) is useful and should continue in the future as organisations move from crisis response to recovery mode  

Implementation Week 2019

Slides and other resources from events that took place as part of UK Implementation week 2019.

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Implementation Science - a beginners guide!
Monday 15th July 2019

An introduction to the key ideas and concepts of Implementation Science – perfect for anyone working (or researching) in services for people, who is hearing about ‘implementation science’ and wonders what it all means and how it is relevant to their own work. More ...

Implementation Science
A beginners guide!
Implementing Evidence in Practice - Grab the Tiger by the Tail!
Friday 19th July 2019

A practical workshop for practitioners, managers and researchers - focused on teaching the basics of practice change and providing tools for implementation learning and planning using experiential learning.  Led by Melanie Barwick (SickKids Hospital and University of Toronto), and Jacquie Brown, an international implementation specialist, participants were guided through a highly interactive day of learning through discussion and play, supported by Melanie’s latest implementation learning and planning tool, The Implementation Game, which took participants through real world implementation scenarios.  More ...

Implementing Evidence in Practice.  Grab the Tiger by the Tail!
Implementation Journeys from the North 

Slides and other resources from the symposium event at the University of York , May 2nd 2018.

Fiona Mitchell and Melissa Van Dyke - Celcis
Blending Improvement Methodologies - Better Start Bradford
Dr Nimarta Dharni -
Better Start Bradford
Gill Thornton - Better Start Bradford
An introduction to co-creation: Allison Metz

Allison Metz’s presentation to the Network on May 22 2015, London: An introduction to co-creation.