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About the MERL Center

The monitoring, evaluation, research and learning (MERL) Center is a community creating resources about the intersection of MERL and open source, data science and human-centered design, for people of any technology capacity.


The scope of the MERL Center

MERL Center members collaborate on GitHub repositories and Google Workspace to create case studies and guides to help (non-software developer) MERL practitioners understand if, how, and when to use open source solutions. In February 2022, the MERL Center expanded its scope! In addition to our focus on MERL and open source, we are now exploring topics on MERL and data science, and MERL and human-centered design.

Click to see our definitions of MERL, data science and human-centered design.

Case studies go in depth on specific examples of using open source solutions, data science or human-centered design for MERL purposes, or MERL aspects of these disciplines. Guides discuss major topics at the intersection of MERL and open source, data science, or human-centered design. To date, MERL Center content has been text and picture based. Future MERL Center content may include code (scripts, software), data, and mathematical models. More information on how MERL Center members collaborate can be found in this blog post.

About MERL Center members

The MERL Center is an interdisciplinary community of MERL practitioners, open source experts, software developers, data scientists, designers, and more. There are 100+ MERL Center members living and working in 6 continents. Most MERL Center members are of underrepresented groups in the technology industry, such as women of color.

How to join

If you'd like to become a MERL Center member, please fill out this form. We ask that members have at least one year of professional experience in MERL or experience in data science, human-centered design, or open source software, content, or data.

Brief history of the MERL Center

  • September 2019 - Founded by the GitHub Tech for Social Good team at the MERL Tech conference in Washington, DC
  • December 2019 - Grew to 20+ members in three continents
  • August 2020 - Welcomed its first cohort of stipend recipients
  • October 2020 - Presented the MERL Center concept to the American Evaluation Association (AEA) conference
  • February 2021 - Grew to 40+ members in five continents
  • September 2021 - Website launched
  • February 2022 - Scope expanded to include data science and human-centered design
  • March 2022 - Presented at MozFest. Mozfest 2022 - MERL Center presentation
  • March 2022 - Second stipend application launched. See Stipend page for details.
  • September 2022 - Presented at 8TH BIENNIAL SAMEA CONFERENCE. SAMEA 2022 - HCD approaches to M&E Capacity Development presentation
  • October 2022 - Second stipend recipients started.
  • May 2023 - The MERL Center moved to its new home at Civic Tech Structure on May 1, 2023!. Read the GitHub Social Impact Blog post
Join the MERL Center!

Please fill out this form if you'd like to participate in the MERL Center! We're always looking for new members.

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