About SPIA

The Standing Panel on Impact Assessment is a sub-group of the CGIAR Independent Science and Partnership Council (ISPC) which has an advisory role, primarily to CGIAR members through the Fund Council, on issues relating to the quality, relevance and impact of CGIAR research activity. The website for the ISPC can be found at: www.sciencecouncil.cgiar.org.

SPIA in particular has the following mandate:

  • To provide CGIAR members with timely, objective and credible information on the impacts at the system level of past CGIAR investments and outputs in terms of the CGIAR goals of enhanced food security, poverty alleviation and sustained natural resources
  • To provide support to and complement the centres in their ex post impact assessment activities; (this includes facilitating inter-centre impact assessment efforts and providing a forum for exchange of experience from impact studies)
  • To provide feedback to CGIAR priority setting and create synergies by developing links to ex ante assessment and overall planning, monitoring and evaluation functions in the CGIAR

The current structure of SPIA is a Chair, two standing-panel members, and three professional staff in the ISPC secretariat hosted by FAO in Rome. SPIA members and the Chair are appointed on a part-time basis and serve a two-year, renewable term. The current membership is as follows.

Chair: Doug Gollin

Associates: Karen Macours, Erwin Bulte

Secretariat: Tim Kelley (timothy.kelley@fao.org), James Stevenson (james.stevenson@fao.org), Lakshmi Krishnan (lakshmi.krishnan@fao.org)

For a nice overview from 2008 of the rationale for SPIA and how ex-post impact assessment in the CGIAR system works, see this article in the journal Research Evaluation (pdf).SPIA has an biennial work plan that it implements in collaboration with consultants, usually academics based at advanced research institutes around the world. The workplan is submitted annually to the CGIAR Fund Council by the Chair of the ISPC, for their approval.

In 2005, SPIA commissioned a survey of the donors to the CGIAR to elicit information about whether and how information on ex-post impact assessment is used, and to find out what information donors would value in future. The original report of that survey is available here (pdf) and a subsequent article published in the journal Research Evaluation is available here (pdf).