As with all EV ventures, choosing a final list of participants for the Emerging Voices programme is a very tough act for those involved. The participants for the EV 2018 venture in Liverpool were finalized through a comprehensive two-stage review & selection process.

We received an overwhelming response to the call for application with over 530 applicants for both the tracks. In the first stage, all applications were reviewed by (at least) two reviewers and a maximum of three reviewers independently. These reviewers were a mix of EV alumni, teaching staff/faculty from EV partner institutes and other EV well-wishers and facilitators involved in previous EV programmes. Peer reviewers received comprehensive instructions on the review process, the suggested scoring system (on a scale from 1 to 10) for various criteria, and then submitted their evaluation via the Google form. If the reviewer stated a conflict of interest in reviewing the candidate, another reviewer was assigned.

Track 1 applicants (“the researchers’ track) were assessed on the basis of: (1) the abstract, (2) candidate profile (including potential and eagerness to participate in the program), and (3) the candidate’s potential to be a local/global change agent. Track 2 applicants (“the (other) change agents’ track) were assessed on the basis of: (1) the essay or video submitted and (2) their proven track record of being a local/global change agent. Each criterion was scored on a scale of 1- 10. We also noted whether the applicant was from the LMICs and/or had a strong established connection/link with a partner in the Global North (e.g. via a sandwich model PhD, residence and/or work in a Global North country, etc.). Average scores per applicant per reviewer were then calculated, yielding into the final average score per applicant per all reviewers. Average scores were used to rank all applicants from a maximum to a minimum score. In the case of extreme contrast in scoring outcomes (e.g. one reviewer gave a score of 8 and above and the other gave a score of 5 or below), another reviewer was asked to assess the application independently.

Subsequently, a shortlist of candidates was created based on their average scores and country representation.In total, 146 candidates from 49 countries from Track 1 and 61 candidates from 32 countries from Track 2 were included in the shortlist.

On 23 May, the EV scientific committee consisting of senior representatives of the EV partner institutes, representatives from WHO Alliance for Health Policy & Systems Research and HRH2030, and a few EV governance members made the final selection, based on the shortlist provided by the peer review committee, and also by factoring in a few other considerations, such as participation from different regions, confirmed scholarship from HSG, inputs/preferences from the main financial donors of this EV venture, representation from partner institutions, area of work, fragile and conflict affected states, etc in order to get to a good mix of profiles.

The new cohort of EVs will now begin their journey into the EV2018 program with the distance coaching (online training) phase between July- September 2018 followed by a face to face training in Liverpool. We all look forward to it!

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