Evaluating Quality of Research for Development in Process and Performance Evaluations: CGIAR approach

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The world is at a critical juncture that requires robust science and innovation to fight the climate crisis and transform food, land and water systems. For 50 years, CGIAR has been evolving its research and evaluation practices to address global challenges, with a focus in recent years on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As research has evolved from component technologies to systems transformation, the need to evaluate CGIAR research remains critically important.

CGIAR’s Independent Advisory and Evaluation Service (IAES) implements CGIAR’s multi-year, independent evaluation plan and provides operational support as the secretariat for the Independent Science for Development Council (ISDC) and the Standing Panel on Impact Assessment (SPIA) as approved by the System Council.

Framing Evaluation of Quality of Science

The evaluation function under IAES is a custodian of the CGIAR-wide Evaluation Framework and Policy (2022) two documents underscore the alignment and value of evidence-based advisory and recommendations provided by the independent evaluation function and ISDC. The methods and criteria for evaluating CGIAR research are underpinned by two fundamental principle-based frameworks crucial to CGIAR and its stakeholders: the Quality of Research for Development Frame of Reference (QoR4D; last revision 2021), and the 2019 OECD Development Assistance Committee (OECD/DAC) Evaluation Criteria. A global standard in the evaluation of international development co-operation, the OECD/DAC criteria provide a basis for making an evaluative judgment. The Quality of Research for Development in the CGIAR Context (Qo4RD) framework  facilitated CGIAR System-wide agreement on the nature and assessment of the quality of scientific research, a concept broadened beyond scientific credibility to include the likelihood of achieving development outcomes. The QoR4D framework guides and enhances the quality of R4D at all levels, from strategy to research activities.

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