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Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Participatory ex-ante impact assessment for interactive research and development in agriculture and food systems

Blix Germundsson, Lisa; Papadopoulou, Elisavet; Jönsson, Håkan; et al.


Drawing upon literature from both impact assessment of development projects and agricul-tural research, the aim of this article is to analyse the pilot testing of a new multi-dimensional assessment framework for defining and evaluating the societal impact of agricultural research and corresponding education. The research approach involves an action research effort of pilot testing in three case studies from three different countries. The framework assumes a systems view, understands impact as socially embedded, and adopts the concepts of contribution and productive interactions rather than cause-and-effect attribution. The emerging experiences include developing both project-specific and universal indicators; gauging impacts at different levels and sustainability dimensions; handling the issues of attribution and time frame; and the role of stakeholder involvement. The results have the potential to support the development of a new role for impact assessment, by enabling principal actors in research and higher educa-tion institutions to take responsibility for contributing to concrete and demonstrable sustain-ability changes in society.


Evaluation; monitoring; education; productive interactions; agricultural innovation system

Published in

Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal
2024, Volume: 42, number: 2, pages: 160-172