Assessing the Impact of International Research: Concepts and Challenges
Horton, Douglas E.
Drawing on the lessons of previous impact assessments and reviews of research programs and management literature, this paper attempts to clarify a number of concepts related to impact assessment and its use in managing research. Most impact assessments attempt to measure changes at the farm level and to establish causal links with research. This approach is more appropriate for assessing the impact of national programs than that of international centers. This is because the principal output of international centers is research and development (R&D) technology (not production technology) and the principal impact of international centers is institutional impact (not production impact). Even at the national level, in most cases it is analytically impossible to establish a causal relationship between research and production impact. Ex ante and ex post impact assessments are less useful for research management than are operational impact assessments that are conducted thoughout the R&D process. Impact assessment is most useful when it is conducted within a management framework that clearly specifies the intended clients of research systems and their technology needs.Show more [+] Less [-]