Knowledge for a sustainable world

Adrienne Martin, Helena Posthumus, Tim Chancellor

The Natural Resources Institute (NRI) have recently presented their findings of a systematic review on the impact of capacity strengthening of agricultural research for development (AR4D) in developing countries during a seminar at the UK Department for International Development (DFID) on 23rd January.

Written by Helena Posthumus, Adrienne Martin and Tim Chancellor, of NRI, the report outlines the context of growing demand for investment in capacity strengthening and then examines the evidence for change brought about such initiatives at individual, organizational and national levels.

It was found that, although the evaluation studies of capacity strengthening interventions reported positive immediate outcomes, there is very little robust evidence on the long-term impact.

It is therefore important that capacity strengthening programmes identify plausible impact pathways and appropriate evaluation frameworks from the start to monitor progress and generate evidence on impact.

The review also identified many guiding principles for success based on the lessons learned and expert judgements that were found in the literature. The most effective are thought to be long-term, holistic approaches identified by the beneficiaries themselves that address the needs and weaknesses in national agricultural research systems.

The report is available online at the DFID website ( and the EPPI-centre (

Link to presentation given at DFID here