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Review and strategic support to GDNet

Itad was contracted to conduct a mid-term review of GDNet. We reviewed its effectiveness, networking, user experience and sustainability.


Researchers in developing countries need to be better networked, they need better access to research and funding, and there needs to be better linkage between researchers and policy makers.

GDNet therefore supports researchers in developing countries to contribute and debate ideas in development thinking, policy and practice. It is the knowledge services programme of the Global Development Network. GDNet includes a comprehensive internet knowledge base of development research produced in developing countries. It also provides access to open data and open access journals, and runs a global capacity building programme to improve researchers’ research communication.

Our role

We were originally contracted by DFID Research to conduct a mid-term review of GDNet. We reviewed its effectiveness, networking, user experience and sustainability.  This review was well received and GDNet subsequently took us on to assist in developing its five-year Strategic Plan. This included developing a theory of change for GDNet. It marked a shift from being a knowledge repository to knowledge broker.

Our approach

The new strategy helped GDNet secure its next round of donor-funding. GDNet then extended our contract to design an M&E system for them. This involved designing tools and data collection methods, and establishing a baseline for the production and use of its knowledge services, as well as building staff capacity to use the system. We trialled the use of bibliometric citation analysis to assess research use. We also developed an appreciative enquiry technique, based on the Most Significant Change approach, to establish credible and representative cases of knowledge-into-use in policy processes according to the GDNet Theory of Change (ToC).  We are supporting GDNet’s on-going annual surveys for its M&E system.

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Team members