CGIAR Independent Advisory and Evaluation Service

CGIAR’s Independent Advisory and Evaluation Service (IAES) provides operational support as the secretariat for the Independent Science for Development Council (ISDC) and the Standing Panel on Impact Assessment (SPIA), and implements CGIAR’s multi-year, independent evaluation plan as approved by the System Council. The IAES and the two independent bodies it supports, provide external, impartial, and expert advice related to strategy and positioning, program evaluation, and impact assessment. 

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INDEPENDENT SCIENCE FOR DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL (ISDC)

The ISDC provides its advice within the broader context of CGIAR’s Strategy and Results Framework (‘SRF’), and successive multi-year CGIAR Business Plans approved by the System Council upon the recommendation of the System Board. Guided by terms of reference approved by the System Council, the ISDC has a mandate for:

  • Foresight work to inform CGIAR’s longer term research strategy;
  • Horizon scanning to provide analysis on how emerging trends and developments can be taken into account in CGIAR’s work;
  • Priority setting exercises and analyses integrating both ex-post and ex-ante analyses;
  • Guidance for periodic proposal assessment processes; and
  • Other functions, on the strategic direction of CGIAR and the value of its research agenda.

Members and main affiliations

    Term ends
Holger Meinke ISDC Chair Strategic Research Professor for Global Food Sustainability, University of Tasmania, Australia 20/09/2025
Nompumelelo Obokoh (nee Masubelele) ISDC Vice Chair Chairperson, Board of the National Research Foundation (NRF), South Africa 30/06/2024
Andrew Ash ISDC Member Retired Chief Research Scientist, CSIRO 30/09/2025
Fetien Abera ISDC Member Professor, Plant Breeding and Seed, Mekelle University, Ethiopia 30/06/2024
Magali Garcia ISDC Member Professor Emeritus, Universidad Mayor de San Andres, Bolivia 30/06/2024
Suneetha Kadiyala ISDC Member Professor, Global Nutrition, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK 30/09/2025
Lesley Torrance ISDC Member Director of Science at the James Hutton Institute and Professor of Biology at the University of St Andrews, UK 30/09/2025

See the Terms of Reference for the Nominations Panel for appointment process of ISDC Chair and Members

See the Terms of Reference for the ISDC Chair

See the Terms of Reference for the ISDC Vice Chair

See the relevant section on the Independent Advisory and Evaluation Service website for further information.

STANDING PANEL ON IMPACT ASSESSMENT (SPIA)

SPIA is an external, impartial standing panel of experts in impact assessment subject matters appointed by the System Council and accountable to it. Within the context of the CGIAR System, operating according to multi-year CGIAR Business Plans to increase coherence and alignment in CGIAR’s delivery against it Strategy and Results Framework (‘SRF’), and guided by terms of reference approved by the System Council, SPIA is responsible for providing rigorous, evidence-based and independent strategic advice to the CGIAR System on:

  • Efficient and effective impact assessment methods and practices, including those measuring impacts beyond contribution to science and economic performance; and
  • On innovative ways to improve knowledge and capacity on how research contributes to development outcomes

Members and main affiliations

    Term ends
Karen Macours SPIA Chair Professor at the Paris School of Economics and researcher at the French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment (INRAE) 30/09/2023
Kyle Emerick SPIA Member Associate Professor in Economics, Tufts University, USA 31/12/2025
Sujata Visaria SPIA Member Associate Professor of Economics, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong SAR 30/06/2024
Monica Biradavolu SPIA Special Initiative Member CEO and founder of QualAnalytics 30/06/2024
Kelsey Jack SPIA Special Initiative Member Associate Professor of Environmental and Development Economics, University of California Santa Barbara, USA 30/06/2025
Rachid Laajaj SPIA Special Initiative Member Associate Professor in Economics, University of Los Andes, Bogota, Colombia 31/12/2025
Travis Lybbert SPIA Special Initiative Member Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California Davis, USA 30/06/2025

See the relevant section on the Independent Advisory and Evaluation Service website for further information.

CGIAR’s Independent Advisory and Evaluation Service

Guided by terms of reference approved by the System Council, Independent Advisory and Evaluation Service provides operational support for ISDC, SPIA and implementation of the CGIAR System’s multi-year evaluation plan. The Independent Advisory and Evaluation Service manages and supports external evaluations that provide accountability, support decision making and develop lessons for improving quality and effectiveness of agricultural research for development outcomes. Evaluation plays a key role in generating evidence about what does and does not work in different contexts, identifying lessons learned for CGIAR stakeholders. In February 2022, the CGIAR System Board (23rd Session) and System Council (15th Meeting) approved the new CGIAR Evaluation Framework and revised Evaluation Policy. The new fit-for-purpose Framework and Policy respond to the growing pace of change to support the evolving needs and demands of CGIAR. Their revision process has already enabled repositioning evaluation functions on certain lines of action that align to internal and external drivers, such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. See the relevant section on the Independent Advisory and Evaluation Service website for further information.

Staff members

Allison Grove Smith Director
Amy R. Beaudreault Secretariat Lead, ISDC
Ricardo Labarta Program Leader, SPIA Secretariat
Svetlana Negroustoueva Evaluation Function Lead
Pierre Boulanger Secretariat Advisor, ISDC
Mina Karasalo Officer, SPIA Secretariat
Karen Erdoo Jay-Yina Senior Evaluation Officer
Ira Vater Senior Manager, Programs & Administration
Mae Maghirang Administration and Finance Specialist

See the relevant section on the Independent Advisory and Evaluation Service website for further information.

Useful Documents

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