Case Study

Evaluating the Impact of the ESRC-DFID Joint Fund for Poverty Alleviation Research

Client: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Department for International Development (DFID) | Sectors: Social Policy

Ecorys was contracted with the Institute of Development Studies (University of Sussex) to conduct an impact evaluation of the ESRC-DFID Joint Fund for Poverty Alleviation Research.

The Joint Fund was established in 2005 to fund research on economic, social and policy development in less-developed countries with aims to enhance the empirical evidence base on development, as well as to deliver demonstrable impact on policy and practice for poverty reduction in developing countries. It totals £62 million with the majority of funds distributed through small and medium research grants. 

The evaluation used a review of monitoring data, surveys and case study research to empirically test (and refine) a conceptual framework of research impact and to gain insight into the impacts of Joint Fund projects. Findings showed that positive impacts from funded research are enabled by effective impact planning, strong existing connections with stakeholder groups, ongoing and proactive stakeholder engagement, having a diverse set of (in-country) research partners, and the production of high quality research. 

The final impact report can be found here.

ESRC and DFID welcomed the evaluation findings as useful insights to help maximise the impact of future research. In their response to the evaluation ESRC and DFID said: “The evaluation provides a valuable addition to ESRC's impact evaluation portfolio, building on and expanding our understanding of impact, including the significant interplay between conceptual, instrumental and capacity building impacts.”

The full response can be found here. 

Key Experts

Jonathan France Technical Director