The evaluation was part of the Research Council's regular review of research institutes, and was to assess what progress Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI) has made since the last evaluation in 1997 and how it compares in an international perspective.

The conclusion of the evaluation is quite positive. The leadership has dealt with new challenges in a constructive fashion. It has diversified and increased its sources of funding. It maintains a healthy balance between income from commissioned work and money obtained from the Government and the Research Council for other forms of research. It has strengthened its professional ranks by increasingly hiring only staff with a Ph.D. degree. Its library is a tremendous resource for the institute as well as a variety of external users. Its IT staff provides very important services to management as well as individual researchers.

The overall assessment of the strategic institute programs, when assessed in terms of (a) scientific quality, (b) policy relevance, (c) communications, (d) capacity-building, and (e) outreach in the South, is that a majority are performing at a very high international level while a few others have not done so well. Nonetheless, CMI has a broad general competence that covers areas like human rights and democratization, public sector reform, poverty and development. It has a more specialized competence in key aspects of governance as well as in specific areas like Southern and Eastern Africa and Palestine. What has been achieved in the past ten years has certainly helped lay the foundation for the new 2006-2010 strategy titled "Research for Development and Justice".

Institute output contains an impressive variety of publications. They include articles in international peer-reviewed journals, client reports and a large number of internal reports and working papers published by the Institute. Special mention should be made of the CMI Briefs which are compressed analytical reports derived from lengthier documents and aimed at members of the policy community. Its annual reports have also become useful means of sharing interesting information with the public. There is convincing evidence that CMI staff have made an impact on fellow academics who cite their research, on partners in the North and the South who praise their work and what they have learnt from it as well as users who generally express great appreciation of the quality and relevance of the services that the institute provides. In all, CMI performs at a high and respectable international level.

These accolades notwithstanding, there is room for improvement. This report ends with attention to five challenges that CMI faces as it moves forward: (1) linking research to policy in more effective ways, (2) identifying and implementing what is strategic in its programs, (3) ensuring a balance between interdisciplinarity and disciplinarity in its research, (4) improving the dissemination of its research findings, and (5) continue building stronger capacity both in-house and among partners in the South. A number of specific recommendations are included under each of these five headings.

Download pdf file: Evaluation of CMI 2006