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Assessing the impact of agricultural research

E-mail conference on approaches and methodologies in ex post impact assessment of agricultural research


23/09/2014

Over 600 people took part in a 4-week long e-mail conference on approaches and methodologies in ex post impact assessment of agricultural research (epIA-AR), hosted by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The conference, running from 5 May to 1 June 2014, was organized in the framework of a research project assessing the economic, environmental and social impacts of research on European agricultural and food systems, known as IMPRESA.  

One of FAO’s main contributions to IMPRESA is the establishment of a common framework to update concepts and methodologies for impact assessment of agricultural research.

In total, contributors posted 109 messages. They strongly supported participation of key stakeholders and beneficiaries in epIA-AR processes. They also underlined the importance of planning to ensure that relevant and reliable data are available for epIA-AR.

There was general agreement about the mutual benefits to be gained from using both quantitative and qualitative methods for epIA-AR, despite differences in opinion regarding the relative merits of each kind of methodology.

The challenges of attributing changes that occur within complex and dynamic agricultural systems to specific research-derived interventions were underlined by several participants.

While the main focus of the e-mail conference was on ‘how’ to do epIA-AR, there was also ample discussion regarding why and when it should be done and what kind of impacts should be assessed.

To find out more about the e-mail conference and conclusions, see the summary at http://www.fao.org/nr/research-extension-systems/res-home/news/detail/en/c/217706/