In July 2021, the independent Evaluation Function launched the first independent evaluation of the  CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture, to run through December. The evaluation responds to the approved 2021 workplan, to meet the needs of System Council represented by Strategic Impact, Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (SIMEC). The evaluation scope covers Platform activities from its initiation in 2017 through mid-2021 to provide real-time evidence towards the transition to One CGIAR, considering the COVID-19 pandemic. The objective of the evaluation is to assess the Big Data Platform’s design and implementation, and achievements, along the CGIAR Evaluation Policy and OECD/DAC evaluation criteria of relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, and sustainability, and make actionable operational and strategic recommendations for the future One CGIAR. In addition to open data and intellectual assets, the evaluation integrates cross-cutting themes of gender, youth, climate change, and capacity development relevant to the future development and implementation aligned with One CGIAR Way of Working Seven (“Make the Digital Revolution Central to our Way of Working"[1]).

The evaluation utilizes a mixed-methods design (qualitative and quantitative) and embraces systems thinking to capture interlinked issues. Among the key quantitative methods of data collection, is an online survey targeting users of the Big Data Platform and partners including the members of Big Data communities of practice, launched on Tuesday 21 September 2021 to Thursday, September 30th, 2021. This will be complemented by analytics of user behavior performed on GARDIANCG Labsthe Expert Finder. For qualitative approaches, in addition to the key informant interviews and focus group discussions with stakeholder groups, a systematic synthesis of selected qualitative evidence is being conducted using a qualitative analysis software package.

Three component study reports covering Platform Modules (OrganizeConvene, and Inspire) will be out in October; these will serve as input to the evaluation report to be launched in mid-December 2021.

[1] CGIAR 2030 Research and Innovation Strategy


CAS Secretariat (CGIAR Advisory Services Shared Secretariat). (2021). Evaluation of CGIAR Plaftorm for Big Data in Agriculture, Inception Report. Rome: CAS Secretariat Evaluation Function.


I. Jouini, D. Leibovici, E. Bongcam-Rudloff, M. Kurian, J. Kieti and S. Sellitti


CGIAR Advisory Services