RE: How to evaluate science, technology and innovation in a R4D context? New guidelines offer some solutions | Eval Forward

Thank you, Svetlana, for sharing the document and asking for our input. I have limited knowledge of CGIAR systems but I am sharing my observations based on my previous work on agriculture research and development programmes in the Asian context.

Evaluation of Research and Development of agriculture and associated natural resources management interventions is not straightforward. Hence, I commend the team’s work in bringing important themes in a concise and actionable form. There are however some observations which might be useful for thinking/re-thinking to make it more inclusive and a decision-making tool for the stakeholders.

I am just trying to limit myself to one question: i.e. ‘Do you think the Guidelines respond to the challenges of evaluating the quality of science and research in process and performance evaluations?’

The guideline may focus more on the system perspectives and emergence: 

The document has highlighted the changing context for evaluation in CGIAR. It has raised important issues related to the food security future with a mission to deliver science and innovation to transform food, land, and water systems in a climate crisis and also mentions transformative changes. There is still room to integrate these important components in the actual administration of the evaluation.

The guideline may need to go beyond the technical driven to inclusive or beneficiary focus evaluation.

The guideline mentioned some audiences and users (such as funder and implementing agencies) but there is little emphasis on communities who might also be an important stakeholder of research and innovation. There are many successful research and development activities (such as participatory plant breeding, participatory selection, participatory technology prioritization and selection) in which communities/ farmers are important stakeholders. It seems their role is a little missing in this guideline.

The impact pathways of Research and development intervention are long and unpredictable so evaluation criteria or questions should embrace these aspects.

Once the research outputs are generated (there will also be cases that the research may not generate the expected outputs), the technology diffusion process may take longer time due to substantial development lag and adoption process and this process may affect the realization of impact/benefits of the technology within the intervention period. This may also influence the sustainability aspects. Integration of these aspects could be a challenge in the research evaluation process.