Through a funded collaboration with the University of the Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and ICRISAT, SPIA organized a workshop on “Advanced Methods in Impact Assessment” on ICRISAT campus, Nairobi (Kenya) between 21st and 25th September, 2015. The workshop was well-attended by CGIAR scientists (including biophysical scientists) from CGIAR Centers and a few NARS partners from around the world. In many senses, this was a first of its kind, and like any event there are always challenges and lessons to learn. For instance, non-economists who use SAS, SPSS, and R found it trickier to use STATA – the preferred statistical analysis package of economists. Given the mix of disciplines in the room, and the objective to cover the full range of quantitative impact assessment approaches, there was little time to discuss some topics (regression discontinuity design and endogenous regression switching models) in-depth – a preference expressed by some economists.
More broadly, however, the take-home message for University of Illinois and SPIA was the demand for more workshops on these lines (and with more frequency) to strengthen impact assessment in the CGIAR system. Workshops such as these also help strengthen the working relationship between economists and non-economists within Centers, and across Centers – for e.g., a successful outcome in Nairobi was the sharing of adoption/impact data between a few of the workshop participants. Look out for a formal workshop report, updates on the pilot impact assessment proposals funded through this activity, and training material on this website!