Expanding Evidence on the Impact of CGIAR Research Investments

While SPIA’s goal under Objective 1 of the workplan is to increase CGIAR center capacity to be the main source of robust impact assessments on CGIAR Research, SPIA has a critical role in conducting or commissioning impact assessments to complement center work. SPIA works to expand and deepen the evidence of the impact of CGIAR research investments through various strategic studies.

  • Accountability studies: Documenting long-term, large scale impacts of research;
  • Learning-oriented studies: Coordinating sets of impact assessments of more recent innovations where results can inform both scaling up strategies and research priority-setting;
  • Methodological studies: Pioneering development of new methods for under-evaluated areas, including the collection of data on adoption, policy influence, and impact assessment.


Ongoing Accountability Studies

Accountability studies document the impact of CGIAR research on development outcomes. In 2019-20, six accountability studies were selected to receive funding from SPIA.

Accountability Studies
Table 1. Accountability studies funded
Impact Areas
Figure 1. Impact areas addressed in funded accountability-oriented studies
Accountability Pie Chart
Figure 2. PI field of specialization in funded accountability-oriented projects

SPIA is also funding proposal development grants for study teams to explore the availability of suitable data on diffusion of the innovations that they had proposed for impact studies, with the objective of supporting the development of a full proposal for a subsequent accountability study if data from these development grants point to its feasibility.

Proposal Development Grants
Table 2. Proposal development grants


Ongoing Learning Studies

Learning studies focus on innovations that have not yet experienced widespread uptake and impact. These could be recent innovations or older ones that have not gone to scale despite solid evidence that they could provide substantial (net) benefits to users. Learning studies are designed to inform future research processes and scaling strategies and are closely linked to the ToC of the specific research programs. The results of learning studies can help make stage-gating decisions.

Learning Studies
Table 3. Learning studies funded
Action Areas
Figure 3. Action areas and cross-cutting impact support areas addressed in funded learning-oriented studies*
Learning Studies Pie Chart
Figure 4. PI fields of specialization in funded learning-oriented projects*

*Figures 3 and 4 do not include the Communal grazing exclosures for scaling improved forages in the Ethiopian highlands-study, for which the funding decision was made in 2021


Ongoing Methods Development

In addition to accountability and learning studies, SPIA also supports work on methods development in areas where lack of appropriate methods make it hard to measure impacts of important areas of CGIAR research.

Methods Development Grants
Table 4. Methods development grants

Recently completed studies

Methods Development
Table 5. Recently completed studies