Belcher presents on research evaluation in conjunction with Science Forum 2018 in Stellenbosch
Stellenbosch, ZA The CGIAR’s Independent Science and Partnership Council and the South African Agricultural Research Council hosted Science Forum 2018 from October 10th – 12th. The event was the fourth of its kind to date. The purpose of this forum was to identify interactions between agricultural research and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to inform the development of research themes and frameworks within the CGIAR with the goals of strengthening the science-policy interface and delivering on research impact.
Central to this discussion is how to evaluate and measure research impact, to elicit understandings of how research can strengthen the science-policy interface and strike the right balance between “wins and losses” in the context of the SDGs to recognize integration and complexity within socio-ecological systems. This requires a complex-aware approach to research evaluation that challenges researchers to broaden their scope and ensure societal relevance in their research.
Brian Belcher was invited to present and participate in a workshop on “Impact Assessment and Landscapes in CGIAR” organized by the CGIAR Standing Panel on Impact Assessment (SPIA). Belcher’s presentation “Impact Assessment in Landscapes Research: Practical & Conceptual Considerations” highlighted the fact that research intervenes on multiple variables, with multiple (potential) pathways to impact. For that reason, reductionist experimental and quasi-experimental impact assessment methods, which do not accommodate complexity well, are not appropriate. Belcher presented the theory-based outcome evaluation approach developed by the SRE in partnership with CIFOR as a valuable approach for research planning, monitoring, evaluation and learning. The discussion informed SPIA’s efforts to develop a broader set of tools for research evaluation in the CGIAR.