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Research for Development indicators: A review of funder practice

The Newton Fund and the GCRF are managed by BEIS (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) to promote research and innovation partnerships in selected partner countries.

This review looks at the KPI (key performance indicator) practice of 14 research funds, as part of a process to develop KPIs for the UK government GCRF (Global Challenges Research Fund) and the Newton Fund. With the exception of the European Union’s Horizon 2020, all of the funds are at least partially funded by ODA (official development assistance) for development impact in LMICs. Rather than looking at the more straightforward input/ output indicators, the review focuses on areas of measurement that are more challenging, and those that evidence shows are important for the success of research for development (R4D) change pathways.

These include:

  1. Challenge-oriented capabilities: Interdisciplinarity
  2. Capacity building (institutional and individual)
  3. Research partnerships and collaborations
  4. Research communication and dissemination
  5. Influence on policy and practice
  6. Innovation outcomes and environments
  7. Poverty alleviation and other development outcomes

This review uses the term ‘research for development’ (R4D) to categorise research that is funded through ODA, with the explicit aim that it should contribute to development outcomes (e.g. poverty reduction, social inclusion, economic growth and sustainable development) for people living in LMICs. The review assists in the development of GCRF and Newton Funds KPIs by enabling BEIS to position them in relation to other comparable R4D funds and programmes.