This evaluation covered development research funded by the Finnish development cooperation budget during the years 1998-2007:

  • Allocations through the Academy of Finland;
  • Research projects of Finnish universities and research institutes;
  • Commissioned research funded directly by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs;
  • Support to research programmes under the UN system (including GCIAR institutions);
  • Support to other international research institutions and international non-governmental organisations.

The purpose of the evaluation was to contribute to guidelines and recommendations to improving the funded research activities and outputs:

  1. To improve the relevance of Finnish development research to Finnish development policy;
  2. To raise awareness about the usefulness of development research and improve the availability of research reports; and
  3. To increase the utilisation of research results in development cooperation and in the debate on development aid in general, both in Finland and in partner countries.

METHODOLOGY

Desk review of previous background studies; interviews with key desk officers and advisors, and institutional visits.

 

FINDINGS

The evaluation concluded that the commissioned research is of good academic quality, but largely fails to provide operational advice. The universities are important stakeholders in Finnish development research, and research schools are an important part of the national academic infrastructure. The Academy of Finland is the most important source of project grants for development research.

The main problems identified by the evaulation were concerned with commissioned research and research cooperation. The evaluation recommended that commissioned research were replaced by formative process research, to make the connection between research, planning, implementation and monitoring of development interventions more explicit. All projects supported should be required to produce short policy briefs. The main challenge identified by the evaluation was research cooperation.

There is general policy agreement about the importance of research cooperation, yet the support structures put in place for that purpose are inadequate, concluded the report.  There is an urgent need for encouraging and accommodating research collaboration between Finland and the South, either by rationalising and restructuring existing arrangements or by introducing a new instrument customised for this purpose. UniPID could be a suitable partner in that endeavour, drawing on experiences from other Nordic countries, concludes the evaluation team.

OUTPUT
Report to client.

Read the complete evaluation report:

Evaluation Support to Development Research