What is an Evidence-Building Hub?

An evidence-building hub coordinates investments toward a shared vision on behalf of the sponsors, who are typically state government or philanthropic. As the home to multiple evidence-building hubs, the Colorado Lab engages and oversees numerous evaluation teams and provides strategic consultation on priority and emerging needs for Hub sponsors. Hubs reduce administrative burden on sponsors and improve alignment among multiple actors, activities, and decision-making goals. An evidence-building hub has:

  • A Unifying Vision: A Hub may be appropriate when there is a policy- or issue-specific reason for grouping evidence-building needs (i.e., a set of programs and services that meet common goals or serve similar populations). The Hub sponsor identifies a need for aligned evidence-building efforts and uses the findings to inform decisions. A Hub can be ongoing or engaged to serve a specific time-limited need.
  • Dedicated Funding: Resources are allocated for evidence building for the identified group of programs or services. The Colorado Lab contracts with a sponsor to serve as an evidence-building hub. The Hub then strategically prioritizes and responsibly distributes funding among evaluation teams in support of the vision.
  • Assigned Staff: The Hub provides strong advisory, project management, data, and operational support across projects. The Colorado Lab resources an internal team to manage the Hub, leverages Linked Information Network of Colorado (LINC) and administrative data support as appropriate, and dedicates staff for strategic consultation to be responsive to partner needs.
  • Expert Teams: Internal Colorado Lab teams or external research partners are engaged to conduct evaluation activities and other strategic projects. The Hub coordinates evaluation design, planning, implementation, and analysis among teams to ensure aligned and actionable approaches.
  • Consolidated Deliverables: The Hub provides strategically timed progress reports with relevant updates and findings. Deliverables are structured to provide Hub sponsors with timely information across evaluation and strategic consultation activities, which allows for maximum flexibility as priorities shift. The Hub also ensures the quality, relevance, and actionability of evaluation team deliverables prior to sharing with the Hub sponsor.

Why Engage an Evidence-Building Hub?

Hubs create efficiencies in the use of evidence-building investments and produce high-quality, synthesized, and actionable evidence that policymakers can use for decision making. Click on the bubbles to expand on the graphic below to explore the benefits of an evidence-building hub.

Independent & Trusted

The Colorado Lab is a trusted partner and go-to resource for Colorado state agencies. Hubs serve as an independent entity to design and implement credible evaluations and other data-informed deliverables. Hubs serve as neutral conveners of partners and honest brokers of information to engage stakeholders at all levels and gather feedback to inform decision making.

Rigorous & Action Oriented

The Colorado Lab has deep evaluation and policy expertise, ensures sound evaluation approaches with credible results, and maintains high standards for product quality. Hubs act as a liaison between state partners and evaluation teams to produce evidence that actively informs policy and practice.

Strategic Vision

Hubs maintain a sponsor’s vision beyond immediate project goals and outcomes. Hubs proactively identify opportunities for strategic advisory support and can help influence culture change, build sustainable infrastructure for evidence-based decision making, and facilitate strategy development.


The Colorado Lab works across policy areas and sectors (public, private, nonprofit, community, and academic) to produce evidence and develop solutions. Hubs make connections across partners, systems, and funding sources toward shared goals. Hubs support systems thinking to bring rational approaches to decision making, which in practice does not solely rely on evaluation results.

Streamlined Administration

Hubs align and coordinate evidence-building investments, ensure resources are used wisely, and provide evidence to guide investment decisions. Hubs bear the administrative burden on behalf of the Hub sponsor by leading procurement and subcontracting, partner and deliverable management, and payment processes.

Partnership Management & Coordination

Hubs manage many partners, identify synergies and reduce duplication, harmonize data collection activities to mitigate survey fatigue, and keep the pulse on adjacent evaluation work. This model allows Hubs to catch issues early on and coordinate often-overlapping requests from evaluation teams to Hub sponsors. Hubs ensure projects stay on track and remain aligned with the sponsor’s vision.

Alignment & Synthesis

A Hub compiles, synthesizes, packages, and disseminates evidence produced from multiple teams. This model provides a more comprehensive set of findings to inform programmatic improvement and supports user-friendly communications for policymakers and stakeholders.

Timely Advisory

Hubs proactively build flexibility into the scope of work to provide additional strategic support as needs arise and priorities evolve. Hub sponsors can leverage the Hub’s trusted support to avoid procuring additional contracts.

Capacity Building & Learning

Hubs support the translation of priorities between the Hub sponsor and evaluation teams. This ensures evaluations remain relevant and actionable and supports a culture of evidence building within the sponsor’s organization. Hubs promote learning and capacity building with Hub sponsors and provide learning communities for Hub evaluation teams to share successful approaches and lessons learned.

Building Hubs

Building Hubs

Explore Our Evidence-Building Hubs

The Colorado Department of Human Services engaged the Colorado Lab to serve as the Family First Evidence-Building Hub. This ongoing Hub coordinates rigorous evaluation of programs and services within Colorado’s prevention strategy that are positioned to meet the needs of Colorado’s children, youth, and families.

The Colorado Department of Early Childhood (CDEC) contracted with the Colorado Lab to serve as the Early Childhood Stimulus Evaluation Hub. This time-limited Hub was conceived to coordinate and oversee high-quality evaluations of nearly 20 stimulus-funded strategies.

Funded by a cohort of governmental and philanthropic partners, the Workforce Development Evidence-Building Hub was launched to meet the growing demand for data-driven insights and the need to create transformative change for Colorado’s workforce.