News

Learn more about the latest news of the Sustainability Research Effectiveness Program. We post about new developments, invitations to speak, participation in conferences, new collaborations, work trips, and more. Also check out our Twitter for weekly updates, new thinking, and helpful resources.

ITD24 : Call for contributions is now open

ITD24 : Call for contributions is now open

From November 4-8, 2024, the next International Transdisciplinarity Conference 2024 (ITD24) will take place in Utrecht. Dr. Brian Belcher is a member of the Conference Board. For those interested in making a contribution to the conference, the call is now open. The deadline for abstract submissions is February 29, 2024.

Belcher supports CGIAR Initiative in Market Intelligence and Product Profiling Design

Belcher supports CGIAR Initiative in Market Intelligence and Product Profiling Design

Dr. Brian Belcher travelled to Nairobi to support Theory of Change review workshops for the new OneCGIAR Initiative on Market Intelligence and Product Profiling Design (MIPP). This work will help ensure the nested Theory of Change is testable for ongoing monitoring and adaptive management over the course of the Initiative to realize intended outcomes and impacts. MIPP aims to maximize CGIAR and partners’ return on investment in breeding and seed systems. MIPP will support other Initiatives through the provision of reliable and timely market intelligence that enables stronger demand orientation. The Initiative will also strengthen co-ownership and co-implementation of market intelligence by CGIAR and partners.

Transdisciplinary Research Quality Assessment Framework presented to changemakers

Transdisciplinary Research Quality Assessment Framework presented to changemakers

Over September 17-18, 2022, the 3rd Annual Changemaker Education Research Forum (CERF) convened in Halifax to discuss research and innovation for social change. Rachel Claus presented on behalf of the Sustainability Research Effectiveness Program to share lessons from the team’s application of the Transdisciplinary Research Quality Assessment Framework (QAF) as part of the evaluation of completed research projects. The presentation also touched on how the QAF could be used for research planning and evaluation of research proposals.

Davel visits WorldFish HQ in Penang for new collaboration

Davel visits WorldFish HQ in Penang for new collaboration

Rachel Davel visited WorldFish headquarters in Penang, Malaysia, to kickstart a collaboration between WorldFish and the Sustainability Research Effectiveness Program. Joint activities include developing multiple nested Theories of Change at the organization and country levels. This work will support implementation of WorldFish’s global strategy, which aims to end hunger and advance sustainable development by 2030. The Strategy leverages science and innovation to transform food, land, and water systems for aquatic food production for healthier people and planet.

CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry evaluates its impact 

CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry evaluates its impact 

The CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) undertook an extensive study to assess its contributions to five key global challenges. Challenge 1 involves the accelerating rates of deforestation and forest degradation. Challenge 2 relates to restoring degraded land and ecosystem services. The focus of Challenge 3 is widespread unsustainable land use practice. Challenge 4 reflects on persistent rural poverty and increasing levels of vulnerability. Challenge 5 pertains to rising demand and need for nutritious food for current and future generations. The Sustainability Research Effectiveness team supported FTA to report progress to outcomes and estimate potential impacts of the program to address these challenges.

Belcher co-writes Theory of Change guidance document for the OneCGIAR Initiatives

Belcher co-writes Theory of Change guidance document for the OneCGIAR Initiatives

The new OneCGIAR Initiatives are set to be operational in 2022. With ambitious goals on global poverty alleviation and food security, the new Initiatives require an explicit Theory of Change (ToC) to demonstrate and monitor progress. Dr. Brian Belcher contributed to the guidance document that provided essential support to research initiative design teams.

SRE approaches in Research Features magazine

SRE approaches in Research Features magazine

Research Features magazine featured the Transdisciplinary Research Quality Assessment Framework and the Outcome Evaluation Approach. The article discusses the need for new approaches to define and assess transdisciplinary research, as more researchers and funders have come to appreciate the value of transcending disciplinary academic boundaries.

Ashoka Canada builds monitoring and evaluation strategy with SRE support

Ashoka Canada builds monitoring and evaluation strategy with SRE support

The Sustainability Research Effectiveness team was invited to support Ashoka Canada to develop a Theory of Change for a new monitoring and evaluation strategy for Ashoka Canada. Ashoka Canada works to build and cultivate a community of change leaders who catalyze positive change in the world.

Safe travels, Stephanie!

Safe travels, Stephanie!

The Sustainability Research Effectiveness (SRE) team wishes all the best to a remarkable colleague, Stephanie Jones, who is relocating to the United Kingdom. Stephanie has been an integral part of the team, leading many case study evaluations of Royal Roads graduate projects, improving representation of social change theories in projects, and even developing the team’s logo. SRE is pleased to announce that Stephanie will continue to collaborate with the team on the many projects in which she has been involved.

Research matters: Royal Roads highlights the role of SRE Research in change-making

Research matters: Royal Roads highlights the role of SRE Research in change-making

Research plays a vital role in solving complex problems. In 2019, Dr. Brian Belcher was appointed as Ashoka Chair in Research Effectiveness. The Ashoka Chair supports the Sustainability Research Effectiveness (SRE) program’s efforts to develop and apply concepts, tools, and methods to understand and measure how research contributes to changemaking processes, and use that learning to guide improved research teaching and practice. The news story published by Royal Roads features some of the SRE program’s key methods, research findings, and outcomes to date.

FTA features SRE publications in latest blog post

FTA features SRE publications in latest blog post

How do we assess research impact for learning and accountability? Does transdisciplinary research lead to more effective outcomes? The CGIAR’s Forest Trees and Agroforestry Consortium Research Program recently published a blog that provides an overview of two of our latest articles that address these key questions.

Royal Roads Library creates virtual tour of SRE Showcase

Royal Roads Library creates virtual tour of SRE Showcase

Royal Roads Library created a virtual tour of the Sustainability Research Effectiveness team’s showcase exhibit. The exhibit presents information about the program, highlighting our methods and tools. In addition, the exhibit gives spotlight to our projects, case studies, and findings to date. One focus is the program’s work with Royal Roads graduate students to assess how graduate research contributes to change. Another focus is our collaborations with the CGIAR that evaluate global research-for-development projects focused on sustainability. Moreover, the exhibit gives background to some of our working partnerships.

SRE joins forces for change in Gothenburg, Sweden

SRE joins forces for change in Gothenburg, Sweden

How do we capture and strengthen the societal effects of research? The Sustainability Research Effectiveness program presented methods and results at a session aimed to tackle this question at the International Transdisciplinarity (ITD) Conference in Gothenburg, Sweden, last week. The conference brought together academics, practitioners, policy-makers, and research funders to learn from collaborative experiences, case studies, and practices. Rachel Claus presented our findings from a comparative analysis of seven completed research projects. Our comparative analysis used a theory-based evaluation approach and Transdisciplinary Research Quality Assessment Framework.

SRE shares Theory of Change approach with doctoral students in workshop

SRE shares Theory of Change approach with doctoral students in workshop

Dr. Brian Belcher, Rachel Claus, Rachel Davel, and Stephanie Jones hosted a workshop for students of the Doctoral of Social Sciences Program at Royal Roads University to work them through their research designs using a Theory of Change framework. The session helped the Sustainability Research Effectiveness team learn about the applications of Theory of Change in planning quality research for impact.

Belcher appointed Ashoka Research Chair

Belcher appointed Ashoka Research Chair

On January 19, 2019, Dr. Brian Belcher received appointment as the Ashoka Chair in Research Effectiveness. As an inaugural position, the Ashoka Research Chair will support changemaking in research. “The Ashoka Research Chair in Research Effectiveness will further support our commitment to solving crucial social and environmental problems,” said Royal Roads University President, Philip Steenkamp.

SRE makes contribution to Swiss Lab’s TD-net Toolbox

SRE makes contribution to Swiss Lab’s TD-net Toolbox

The Transdisciplinary Science Lab at ETH Zürich, together with the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences, published an overview of Theory of Change for use in research contexts, prepared by the Sustainability Research Effectiveness team. “The theory of change tool is really important. It will complement the toolbox well for researchers interested in knowledge co-production and transdisciplinary science” said ETH associate, Dr. Gabriela Wülser.

Belcher presents on research evaluation at Science Forum 2018 in Stellenbosch

Belcher presents on research evaluation at Science Forum 2018 in Stellenbosch

The CGIAR Standing Panel on Impact Assessment (SPIA) invited Dr. Brian Belcher to present and participate in a workshop on “Impact Assessment and Landscapes in CGIAR”. The workshop was held on October 9, 2018 in Stellenbosch, South Africa. The workshop was organized in conjunction with Science Forum 2018. The purpose of this forum was 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.

Belcher shares insights at CIFOR’s 25th anniversary annual meeting

Belcher shares insights at CIFOR’s 25th anniversary annual meeting

Dr. Brian Belcher participated in the Center for International Forestry Research’s (CIFOR) annual science meeting on the theme of “Forests Matter”. This year marks CIFOR’s 25th anniversary. Belcher ran a session on knowledge co-generation and presented the Sustainability Research Effectiveness (SRE) Program’s approach. The session also covered lessons learned in planning and evaluating CIFOR research projects. CIFOR is in the process of adopting principles to inform their own research quality assessment framework.

Conceptualizing research outcomes and impacts

Conceptualizing research outcomes and impacts

Dr. Brian Belcher joined a working group to improve how researchers collect and communicate impact information. The focus of the working group is in the social sciences and humanities. Belcher submitted a brief on how the Sustainability Research Effectiveness Program conceptualizes research outcomes and impacts. The brief notes that typical measures of “research impact” focus on indicators of influence on the research agenda (e.g., publications, citations, impact factors) via research outputs and communications. Emphasis was given to influence beyond the academic, particularly in social change.

RRU Bachelor of Business Administration focuses on social impact

RRU Bachelor of Business Administration focuses on social impact

The Bachelor of Business Administration Program (BBA) at Royal Roads University sought better ways to design and monitor their programming. Collaborating with the Sustainability Research Effectiveness team, BBA faculty worked to articulate a Theory of Change for their program. The process advanced understanding and highlighted important lessons about how the BBA program can contribute to social change.

SRE supports Power To Be to develop a new monitoring and evaluation strategy

SRE supports Power To Be to develop a new monitoring and evaluation strategy

Dr. Brian Belcher, Rachel Claus, Rachel Davel, and Dr. Cheryl Heykoop facilitated a full-day workshop with Power To Be staff, partners, and participants to develop a Theory of Change for the organization. This will support Power To Be to pilot a new monitoring and evaluation strategy that helps the organization achieve its goals. Power To Be aspires to inspire youth and families in need of support to discover their limitless abilities through nature-based programs.

Belcher joins changemakers at Ashoka Exchange

Belcher joins changemakers at Ashoka Exchange

Dr. Brian Belcher participated in the 2018 Ashoka Exchange held in Boston, Massachusetts. The Exchange is an annual meeting of 8,000 of the world’s leaders in higher education social innovation. “It was truly inspiring to meet so many other people committed to implementing and sharing lessons about the kinds of innovation we need to solve pressing problems and realize opportunities,” said Belcher.

Research Effectiveness meets Resilience

Research Effectiveness meets Resilience

The Sustainability Research Effectiveness team supported the facilitation of a workshop for a new project focused on youth engagement in climate change adaptation led by the Resilience by Design Lab at Royal Roads University. The workshop brought together a diverse group of 39 participants over two days to launch the project and co-develop a preliminary Theory of Change.

Belcher joins advisory group for ETH Zürich PhD program to bridge Plant Science and Society

Belcher joins advisory group for ETH Zürich PhD program to bridge Plant Science and Society

Dr. Brian Belcher received appointment to an Advisory Group at ETH Zürich. The appointment is for the doctoral program “PSC-Mercator Fellowship Program – Bridging Plant Science and Society”. The doctoral fellowship program has a dedicated transdisciplinary focus. Therefore, it supports research projects that deal with socially-relevant issues from the perspective more than one academic discipline and in collaboration with at least one relevant non-academic stakeholder.

Belcher presents at agricultural research conference

Belcher presents at agricultural research conference

The Conference on International Agricultural Research: Rigorous Evidence for Policy brought together 200 participants in Nairobi, Kenya, from July 6 to 8, 2017, to discuss emerging studies about to what degree and how agricultural research has contributed to positive change. Dr. Brian Belcher gave an invited talk to share his experience and lessons learned using a theory-based approach to outcome evaluation.

SRE co-organizes co-building Sustainability and Reconciliation event

SRE co-organizes co-building Sustainability and Reconciliation event

The Sustainability Research Effectiveness team supported facilitation of a sense-making workshop assessing CIFOR contributions to the KNOWFOR Program. Rachel Claus and Dr. Brian Belcher traveled to Bogor, Indonesia, to participate in and support the facilitation of the workshop. Three of the program’s case study evaluations of completed research projects were presented. These include the Brazil Nut Project, the Fire and Haze Project, and the Poverty and Environment Network. The sense-making workshop enabled participants to discuss, reflect, and validate evaluation results.

Making sense of KNOWFOR in Indonesia

Making sense of KNOWFOR in Indonesia

The Sustainability Research Effectiveness team supported facilitation of a sense-making workshop assessing CIFOR contributions to the KNOWFOR Program. Rachel Claus and Dr. Brian Belcher traveled to Bogor, Indonesia, to participate in and support the facilitation of the workshop. Three of the program’s case study evaluations of completed research projects were presented. These include the Brazil Nut Project, the Fire and Haze Project, and the Poverty and Environment Network. The sense-making workshop enabled participants to discuss, reflect, and validate evaluation results.

Welcome to our news page. Learn more about our work. You can find updates on the team, our work, and our partnerships here. Keep checking back to learn about new developments in the program. For any enquiries, please contact us through our Contact form. You can also be kept apprised of our progress through our Twitter feed: @SREffectiveness.