Impact Assessment of Policy-Oriented Research in the CGIAR: A Scoping Study Report

In response to many requests from donors to the Consultative Group on InternationalAgricultural Research (CGIAR), the Standing Panel on Impact Assessment (SPIA) of the Science Council initiated this study to document the impact of growing investment bythe CGIAR System in policy-oriented research (POR). The reference to ‘policy’ in this studydoes not define the sector or discipline of­research; rather, this classification is basedon the intended primary pathway to impact. The research involved can be in the social, biological, or physical sciences, as long as it was undertaken primarily to influence policyas a means of generating ultimate impact.

The study first involved a review of the literature on the role of research information inagricultural policy processes and the formulation of specific policies. This was followed byan analysis of the POR portfolio in the CGIAR, using a taxonomy devised to distinguishamong the various types of POR and theirlogical pathways to impact. Trends in the investment made by the CGIAR in POR were compiled using both a narrow and a more inclusive definition. A catalog of ex post impact assessment (epIA) studies was developedand their methods and results reviewed tosee to what extent CGIAR investments hadbeen justified by the documented evidence of policy outcomes, influences, responses, and resulting impacts on the poor, the foodinsecure, and the environment. Some lessons were drawn regarding emerging best practices in epIA of POR and a number of options arrayed for possible future studies.