'Monitoring and Evaluation for Sustainable Communities' (MESC) is a 12-month Knowledge Exchange project running from 1st December 2013 until 30th November 2014, and funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council. MESC brings together researchers from the University of Oxford, members of UK low carbon community groups, Transition Research Network, and Low Carbon Communities Network, to co-produce and trial monitoring and evaluation (M&E) tools. The project team are Kersty Hobson (PI), Jo Hamilton and Ruth Mayne (The University of Oxford); Naresh Giangrande (Transition Network); and Christopher Church (Low Carbon Communities Network).

Overall, the aims are to:

  • collaboratively identify representative indicators that can be utilized across the Transition and Low Carbon Communities movement to evaluate collective impact;
  • develop appropriate M&E resources in line with identified priorities and needs, such as step-by-step guides, data collection tools, and processes that can be incorporated into meetings/events;
  • build capacity within local groups to pilot and implement tools;
  • collect data on processes, experiences and outcomes from groups over several months; and
  • produce transferable resources that can be used and adapted by groups and organisations with similar aims.

Upcoming Monitoring and Evaluation workshops

Come to one of three one-day workshops for community groups:

  • Sat 12 April - Oxford at School of Geography and Environment. 10am - 5pm.
  • Sat 26 April - Manchester at Anthony Burgess Foundation. 10am - 5pm.
  • Sat 10 May - London, Lumen URC, Tavistock Place. 10am - 5pm.

Reasonable travel costs will be reimbursed. All workshops and refreshments are free to enrolled participants.

These workshops aim to support your group to find appropriate tools and processes so you can:

  • Better understand what works and what doesn't;
  • Generate data that will help you to create better reports for funders and other stakeholders;
  • Get a chance to trial a range of resources that will enable your group to self-monitor and evaluate your activities;
  • Inform your next steps in whatever project or initiative you are working in; and
  • Respond to those queries of 'so what has your group actually achieved?'

These workshops will be fun, interactive days where you can meet people doing similar work to you. They are a central part of the Oxford-based knowledge exchange project called 'Monitoring and Evaluation for Sustainable Communities'. We are therefore particularly keen to attract participants who can trial some of the tools and processes over the six months after the workshops. Taking part in this trial will mean you be asked to provide some feedback and reflection on your experiences. In exchange you will receive support and advice from the project team, as well as modest financial and material resources.

Advance registration essential. To register or for more information: email


The ideas and working relationships that underpin this project arose from previous research conducted in the School of Geography and the Environment into UK low carbon community groups: specifically, Understanding Local and Community Governance of Energy (UNLOC) and Evaluating Low Carbon Communities (EVALOC). Following discussions arising from meetings of researchers involved with these projects and the Transition Research Network, the EVALOC project explored the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) needs of a sample of UK low carbon community groups through a research survey. This survey found that a clear need exists amongst groups for further M&E information and capacity building (see Community Monitoring and Evaluation methods survey).

To follow on from this work, in late 2012 funds were awarded from Oxford University's Higher Education Innovation Fund to undertake a pilot project that further explored the results of the EVALOC survey. This project, which ran from January to October 2013, held 2 public workshops with UK low carbon community groups, one in Oxford and one in Bristol. These workshops gathered qualitative information on the role of M&E in groups, and also tested resources that aim to help groups create their own M&E frameworks. Project resources are now available online for use by community groups along with a summary report of the pilot project activities and findings (see the pilot project website).

New Resources

Guide to Monitoring and Evaluation PDF: 2.6 MB
A 60 page guide to conducting your own Monitoring and Evaluation. Topics include: Deciding what to M&E; Planning your M&E; Information collection methods; Overview of resources; and useful interviews for questions and surveys.

Supplementary materials as word documents:

Call for participants

The project is now actively recruiting community groups to participate in the project. Further information and details of how groups can become involved in MESC are available online PDF: 42.3 KB

Further information

For further information on this project please contact Dr Kersty Hobson, Jo Hamilton or Ruth Mayne.