The Centre for the Evaluation of Complexity Across the Nexus

The Centre for the Evaluation of Complexity Across the Nexus (CECAN) has been transforming the practice of policy evaluation across the food, energy, water and environmental domains, to make it fit for a complex world. We have achieved this through pioneering, testing and promoting innovative policy evaluation approaches with UK Government departments.

We are also delivering a technical training programme, CPD courses, specialist workshops, publications, webinars and seminars to demonstrate the challenges of evaluation in real world situations. Our Fellowship Programme has provided opportunities for those from Government and industry to forge useful and lasting connections with researchers and for CECAN’s work to be informed by and linked closely to practical evaluation.

We will continue to refine complex appropriate evaluation methods in the nexus domains and apply them to public health, wellbeing, the local natural environment and enterprise domains in partnership with national, regional and local government, nongovernment funders and the third sector and expand our technical training, workshop, publication and webinar programmes, sharing our specialist knowledge and skills to further develop the capacity of those working on UK policy evaluation.

CECAN Ltd is the commercial arm of  CECAN. It delivers contracted  evaluation research and bespoke training courses. If you would like CECAN Ltd to undertake work for you, please contact


Part 1 – Modelling the Coronavirus: Why All Public Health Models are Not the Same

In response to these advances, the current post is meant to be the first of several addressing the complex challenges of modelling the coronavirus as a public health issue. It is also about clarifying for a wider audience how and why such modelling is important, as well as the value and power of complex systems thinking and computational modelling for public health policy. Still, this does not mean modelling will answer all of our questions; nor does it mean that all models are equally useful! 

CECAN Contributes to Norway Anniversary Evaluation Conference

Picking up on the CECAN webinar last year on the topic ‘How to evaluate – or commission – an evaluation when everything is messy’, Dione Hills (Tavistock Institute and CECAN Associate) was asked to give a key note speech last month at the Norwegian Evaluation Conference.

Complexity and Evaluation Failure

People attending CECAN training and events often want to hear about evaluations that ‘failed’ because the wrong (i.e. not complexity appropriate) methods or approach were used. Providing such examples is not easy: accounts of evaluations that ‘fail’ are rarely published, and when we have examples from our own practice, confidentiality – or embarrassment – can make it hard to talk about these in public. 


Helping Health Services Plan for Covid-19

Between March and July 2020 Brian Castellani and Pete Barbrook-Johnson became part of the COVID-19 Community Health and Social Care Modelling Team at Durham University.


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