LISA 2020 Sustainability Symposium

The LISA 2020 Sustainability Symposium will be held from 2–6 May 2022 at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi, Ghana.

There will be opportunities for virtual attendance for those who can not travel to Ghana.

The LISA 2020 Sustainability Symposium will be held in Kumasi, Ghana 2–6 May 2022. This in-person gathering of the LISA 2020 Network (with options for remote attendance) will be an opportunity to renew friendships, welcome new network members, and increase lab-to-lab collaborations. The main goals of the Symposium are to share best practices in making stat labs stronger and more sustainable, finalize sustainability plans for individual labs, and make collective decisions about the future of the LISA 2020 Network and how to make the network more sustainable so it can continue to build local capacity to transform evidence into action for development.


Stat labs that submitted proposals for sustainability experiments have been invited to attend in-person, with the expectation that they will submit an abstract and a preliminary report describing their experiment's results and lessons learned. Details about in-person travel to Ghana and remote participation options will be announced in the coming weeks. The in-person Symposium talks will be recorded and made available to the network. Additionally, the sustainability experiment reports will be compiled into a Symposium Proceedings document that will be published and released to the network. The reports will be summarized in a paper to be submitted to a high-impact journal.

Key Dates

  • March 1: Labs with receive templates for abstracts and reports

  • March 15: Deadline for labs to submit abstracts

      • Abstract Template: DOCX

      • Submit via this Google Form. If you have problems with form submission, email lisa2020@colorado.edu.

  • April 15: Deadline for labs to submit preliminary reports for the online draft symposium proceedings

      • Report Template: DOCX

      • Submit via this Google Form. If you have problems with form submission, email lisa2020@colorado.edu.

  • June 1st: Final report submission deadline for the final proceedings

Program and Schedule

The symposium will have a mix of presentations by stat labs about their sustainability plans, workshops on sustainability and creating and implementing sustainability plans, workshops on improving labs' technical and collaboration skills--especially data science, and network discussions and plans for sustaining the LISA 2020 Secretariat into the future. Also, there will be many opportunities for social connections.

Schedule in Brief:

  • Sunday, 1 May:
    Arrivals (for foreign delegates) in Accra.

  • Monday, 2 May:
    Morning: Gather in Accra for bus to Kumasi.
    Afternoon: LISA 2020 Sustainability Symposium Welcome and Keynote Address (Vance).
    Evening: Large group dinner.

  • Tuesday, 3 May:
    All day presentations and discussion about sustainability of individual stat labs.

  • Wednesday, 4 May:
    Morning: Keynote address (Adebanji), Workshop for stat lab sustainability plans, and Summary of Tuesday presentations.
    Afternoon: Kumasi excursion.

  • Thursday, 5 May:
    TEACH Fund presentations.
    Discussion/presentations and workshop on sustainability of the LISA 2020 Network and LISA 2020 Secretariat.

  • Friday, 6 May:
    Morning: Wrap-up session and farewell.
    Afternoon: Bus back to Accra.

  • Friday night and Saturday, 6–7 May:
    Departures from Accra.

Posters and Presentations

We intend to record all presentations to be viewed later by those who could not attend the symposium in person. Abstracts and presenter information are currently posted and presentation recordings will be available on this page as soon as reasonably possible. All video recordings will also be available on our YouTube channel.

Symposium COVID-19 Guidelines

Worldwide COVID-19 policies and guidelines are continually changing and therefore our guidelines will change accordingly. The most up-to-date guidelines will be available here.

In Summary:

  • Full vaccination is required to attend the Symposium in person

  • We will strongly encourage masking indoors and in close quarters

  • A negative test upon entry to Ghana is no longer required for fully vaccinated travelers.

  • Individuals without proof of full vaccination must take an antigen test upon arrival in Accra and compulsory vaccination.

  • Vaccine record required

  • Any group meals will be held in outdoor venues. KNUST has enhanced COVID-19 safety protocols for events on campus such as handwashing stations, available hand sanitizer, and enhanced cleaning of symposium venues.

Full details are available in this document.

Travel and Accommodations

Cancellation Policy

If you cancel your attendance at the symposium after April 15, 2022 you are responsible for covering the cost of airfare.

Visa Requirements

Please review this PDF with detailed requirements for Ghana entry Visa application. This document includes the host information for your application.

Travel Requirements

Please review this Health Travel Guide for Ghana and be familiar with your own country's COVID-19 requirements.

Update: Ghana is no longer requiring mandatory PCR testing for entry/exit but still requires COVID-19 vaccination in addition to Yellow Fever vaccination. If you are not fully vaccinated for COVID-19, you must have a negative PCR test and be vaccinated at your port of entry. As before, please be familiar with your own country's COVID-19 requirements.

Hotel Accommodations

Detailed information about hotel accommodations is available in this PDF developed by the local organizers.

Due to budget constraints due to high travel costs, we may contact you about sharing a room with another individual. We welcome volunteers to offer to share double rooms.

We are providing a shuttle service for individuals from Kotoka International Airport to your hotel in Accra. If your flight into or out of Accra changes for any reason, please contact lisa-admin@colorado.edu so that we can ensure that you have transportation arranged.

Travel from Accra to Kumasi

We expect most attendees will fly into Accra. On Monday, 2 May, a bus will be available for attendees to travel from Accra to Kumasi.

Bus for Accra to Kumasi Road Trips

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Venue and Conference Meeting Rooms

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Local Contacts

Below are hotlines for local organizers in case you need assistance.

  • Isaac 0242189300

  • Mina 0246304704, 0507841325

  • Sandra 0248220093

  • Vincent 0246894128

  • Samuel 02449244922

  • Tinuke 0241860372

Background: The Need for a Sustainability Symposium

The LISA 2020 Program aims to build statistics and data science capacity in developing countries by creating a robust network of statistics and data science collaboration laboratories (“stat labs”). These stat labs can be Engines for Development by training the next generation of collaborative statisticians and data scientists; serving as research infrastructure for researchers, data producers, and decision-makers to collaborate with statisticians and data scientists to enable and accelerate research and data-based decisions that make a positive impact on society; and teaching short courses and workshops to improve statistical skills and data literacy widely. The LISA 2020 Program encourages stat labs to improve their operations by adapting best practices learned from one another.

2021 Sustainability Assessment

In 2019, the LISA 2020 Secretariat performed a Needs Assessment of the LISA 2020 Network. At that time, 14 stat labs participated in the assessment that resulted in several outcomes including:

In 2021, as the network had grown to 31 full member stat labs, 10 transitional labs, and many more proposed labs, the LISA 2020 program began focusing on insuring the sustainability of the network and individual stat labs. To support these efforts, the Secretariat performed a Sustainability Assessment to determine:

  • What should the LISA 2020 Network do now and in the near future to become sustainable over the next several years?

  • What should stat labs do now and in the near future to become sustainable over the next several years?


23 stat labs completed the sustainability assessment questionnaire. The results were synthesized and shared with the network.

Sustainability Assessment Synthesis: Challenges, Lessons Learned and Potential Solutions from Network Stat Labs

Challenge: Incentivizing Collaborators

  • Certificates

    • Provide certificates to collaborators leading or supporting workshops and other stat lab events.

    • Provide quarterly/semesterly/yearly certificates to collaborators for meeting with domain experts or serving as walk-in consultants.

    • Network Level: Establish the LISA 2020 Certificate Program.

  • Impact of Collaboration Experience

    • Demonstrate the impact of the collaboration experience on the growth and development of student members and on their future employability.

      • Use the opportunity to participate in the stat lab as a recruitment tool for the Department.

    • Provide opportunities to participate in staff exchanges with other network stat labs.

    • Seek out trainees and interns from other local institutions of higher education that do not have stat labs, but could benefit from an internship at a stat lab.

  • Token Funding Support

    • For short courses, workshops, and collaborations in which funds are raised, share a token amount with participating collaborators.

  • Do not rely on faculty to serve as the stat lab’s only collaborators. Involve students!

  • Consider how service as a collaborator can meet educational degree requirements (e.g. a collaboration course, etc.).

  • Encourage clients to include collaborators as co-authors on papers where they have made a significant contribution.

Challenge: Insufficient Funding

  • Demonstrate the impact of the stat lab on the University, College/Faculty, and Department to secure additional funding or other forms of support (e.g. relief from other duties for faculty, administrative support).

    • One related opportunity is for the Research Office or Vice President at the Institution to rely on the stat lab for review of proposals.

    • Network Level: Continue to publish papers on the reach and impact of stat labs and the LISA 2020 Network to support these efforts.

  • Seek out and submit proposals for funding opportunities. Share funding opportunities with other stat labs.

  • Charge small fees for workshops or collaboration services.

    • Several stat labs are not allowed to charge fees due to institutional restrictions, potential solutions from network stat labs include 1) accepting donations instead of charging fees or 2) setting the lab up as an external entity separate from the university.

  • Consider funding opportunities available from governmental sources.

  • Network Level: Hold a workshop on locating and submitting funding proposals, support collaboration on proposals between network stat labs, share funding opportunities.

Challenge: Too Few Projects

  • Advertise the stat lab services via social media and flyers/hand-bills.

  • Encourage satisfied domain experts to refer their colleagues to the stat lab.

  • Give talks to other Departments or Units within the institution to increase awareness of the stat lab.

  • Seek out collaboration opportunities outside of the institution in the government and private sectors.

  • Reach out to local institutions of higher education that do not have their own stat lab, but may benefit from collaboration with a stat lab.

  • Recognize the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on research programs in general and the stat lab specifically.

Challenge: Need for Training in Statistical Areas and Techniques

  • Reach out to network stat labs that have expertise in statistical areas that your collaborators need more experience with.

    • Invite experienced statisticians and data scientists to give invited talks or lectures to your stat lab either in person or remotely.

    • Provide opportunities for collaborators to participate in staff exchanges with other network stat labs.

  • Attend LISA 2020 Network Symposia or review talks from previously held symposia.

  • Network Level:

    • Create the LISA 2020 Network Shared Repository so that network stat labs can share educational resources and best practices.

    • Encourage stat labs that have expertise in certain statistical areas to present at the LISA 2020 Network Zoom meetings.

    • Continue to host annual symposia to provide opportunities to learn and improve skills

    • Continue to post recorded conference talks and short courses on the LISACollaboration YouTube channel.

Challenge: Collaboration Training

  • Provide opportunities for collaborators to participate in staff exchanges with other network stat labs.

  • Invite experienced collaborators to give invited talks or lectures to your stat lab either in person or remotely.

  • Attend LISA 2020 Network Symposia or review talks from previously held symposia.

  • Network Level:

    • Develop training materials related to collaboration skills to be shared widely for network stat labs to use in preparing statistical collaborators.

    • Create the LISA 2020 Network Shared Repository so that network stat labs can share educational resources and best practices.

    • Continue to post recorded conference talks and short courses on the LISACollaboration YouTube channel.

Other Insights from the Sustainability Assessment Responses

  • Individual stat labs may face their own unique challenges not summarized above but reflected in their sustainability assessment response.

  • Many stat labs have learned best practices or sought guidance and advice from their mentor or other stat labs in the network.

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the strength and sustainability of many organizations and network stat labs have also been impacted. Even so, network stat labs have been resilient and sought other avenues to continue their services.

  • Staff exchanges and symposia have been a powerful opportunity for network members as reflected in the potential solutions above.

LISA 2020 Stat Lab Sustainability Experiments

With the synthesized results of the sustainability assessment and recognizing that stat labs face many challenges that may derail them from the path of strong and sustainable stat labs described in Vance & Pruitt’s “Statistics and Data Science Collaboration Laboratories: Engines for Development” (LISA 2020 Edited Book), the next step was to determine if these lessons learned and potential solutions can be adapted at other stat labs to overcome the challenges that they are facing and therefore bring them back onto the path of strong and sustainable stat labs.

To that end, the LISA 2020 Secretariat issued a call for proposals for stat labs to perform experiments to test strategies to overcome their challenges and bring them onto the path of strong and sustainable stat labs. Participating stat labs would be invited to present the results of the experiments at the 2022 LISA 2020 Sustainability Symposium in Ghana.

30 LISA 2020 stat labs submitted proposals and initiated small experiments to improve their strength and sustainability. Each of these experiments was formed to the unique situations of the individual labs. The broad themes of experiments included: 1) building reputation and increasing the number of projects; 2) engaging, incentivizing, and training collaborators; and 3) generating funds to support stat lab operations.