LISA 2020 is a global network of statistics and data science collaboration laboratories dedicated to transforming evidence into action for development.

Newsletter Issue 2019-31 | August 29, 2019

LISA 2020 Symposium Workshop Summaries

At the LISA 2020 Symposium we had 30 participants from 10 developing countries participate in six workshops and two additional presentations of LISA 2020 projects. Below are recaps of the workshops and presentations, with links to the slides for each.

An Overview of the ASCCR Framework for Interdisciplinary Collaboration.” Prof. Eric Vance introduced the five essential components of collaboration that comprise the ASCCR Framework: Attitude, Structure, Content, Communication, and Relationship. This workshop is based on a paper to appear in the Journal of Statistics Education:

Briefly, we discussed some Attitudes of Collaboration that lead to more effective collaborations with domain experts; using the POWER structure to structure meetings; and completely addressing the Q1 Qualitative aspects of a project before moving to the Quantitative (Q2) aspects and being sure to translate the statistical results back into the Qualitative (Q3) answer to the original research question. We did not have time to discuss three aspects of Communication very helpful in conducting effective collaborations nor the important aspect of cultivating strong Relationships with domain experts to improve the quality of our collaborations.

The ASCCR Frame can be used by individual statisticians to improve their collaboration skills. It can also be used to teach students and other staff essential collaboration skills. Prof. Vance intends to create webinars for the LISA 2020 Network that will be useful in training the next generation of collaborative statisticians and data scientists.


Dr. Kim Love presented seven aspects of “Creating and Administering a Stat Lab:” 

  1. Mission (e.g., sawing wood) and Vision (e.g., building a house on a hill)

  2. Support from Department/University

  3. Administrative Operations, Structure, Record Keeping (i.e., the backbone of a stat lab)

  4. Services

  5. Promotion and Marketing

  6. Stakeholders

  7. Outcomes and Impacts

Dr. Love provided great insight for participants as they complete the LISA Planning Guide for new stat labs and the Lab Plan/Proposal for Full Membership


Kelly Tucker from USAID presented Transforming Evidence to Action.” The linked slides contain material on three aspects of this:

  1. Mapping Target Audiences 

  2. Developing a Theory of Change

  3. Developing a Communications Strategy

Most of the time was spent on thinking about each stat lab’s individual theory of change. In other words, how will the activities you propose and the assumptions you make lead to the results, outcomes, and impacts you want to achieve? Four steps for developing a theory of change are:

  • Begin with the RESULT(S) – Decide what you are trying to achieve and work backwards. 

  • Next ask yourself– what PRE-CONDITIONS must be put in place to achieve the defined result?  

  • Does this highlight any key ASSUMPTIONS that must be true to achieve the defined result?  

  • Finally, define the ACTIVITIES that your organization can undertake to ensure assumptions hold. 

On Day 2, LISA Ambassador Dr. Olawale Awe presented on Teaching R for Data Science.” He presented on why R is important to learn for Data Science (widely used in industry, very powerful for statistics, free and open source, important for reproducibility of analyses and results) and how instructors should encourage students that learning to code is not too scary. People do not need to be afraid of learning R. We also discussed how learning R is like learning a language, one must use it to actually learn it. A great, freely available textbook is Hadley Wickham’s R for Data Science <>. The participants worked in groups on a visualization exercise.


Prof. Bhaswati Ganguli presented on her team’s project, “Data Science for Renewable Energy at the University of Calcutta, India. One of their main goals is to make a medium-term prediction for the amount of solar energy to be produced based on a number of factors, including meteorological variables and particulate matter in the air. She discussed various time series models that have been effective so far and her team’s need for more data. Prof. Ganguli is very open to collaborating with other members of the LISA 2020 Network to see how renewable energy can best be modeled in other countries, especially those in Africa or in Brazil.

"I believe with the knowledge I now acquire, my future [grant] applications will succeed. I know the ingredients of writing a good application for grants."

Kelly Tucker from USAID presented her second workshop, Grant Writing in which discussed five components of responsive proposals:

  1. Context / Needs Assessment / Problem Statement/ Project Purpose

  2. Project Overview / Scope / Description

  3. Logic Model / Methodology (Theory of Change)

  4. Detailed Plan: Goal - Objectives – Activities - Budget

  5. Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning 

A key takehome message was to follow ALL of the instructions in the Request for Proposals. Small groups got a chance to collaborate on an example mini-proposal for the “Learning is Fun” committee of a local Summer Festival.


On Day 3, a special guest presented remotely via Zoom on KNUST-LISA Trainings in Ghana about her lab’s training of mid-career women who may have stagnated in their current positions in government and policy to build data analysis and interpretation capacity for policy decision making and strategic planning, develop leadership capabilities, and provide them a mentoring platform. Prof. Atinkue Adebanji joined the Symposium participants to answer questions and provide more details on her project, “Building Capacity of Female Scientists in Data Analysis for Decision Making and Strategic Planning.” We hope that the other LISA 2020 stat labs can adopt and adapt her training materials and methods to provide similar trainings for women in their own country.


Finally, Prof. Olusanya Olubusoye presented on the University of Ibadan LISA project, Enhancing Election Participation in Nigeria: Project Overview.” He discussed the efforts at UI-LISA to engage with the national election commission of Nigeria (INEC) to address the various challenges (many steps) of the electoral process to understand why electoral participation has seemingly decreased and ultimately to produce data-driven policy recommendations to increase electoral participation and thereby increase good governance.

Lessons Learned
Please email Cait Berry with a short reflection
(~1 paragraph or some bullet points) on what key lessons you learned from the Symposium. If you do so within the next five days we can compile your lessons learned to share in next week’s newsletter.
"I was really excited to be here and it met all my expectations."

“The symposium was effective connecting individuals from different places to the same mission.”

“I l found the group discussion and group tasks very engaging and informative. They provided opportunity to work in a group of different views, mindsets, and cultures.”

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