Evaluation of Strengthening Research and Knowledge Systems (GEFA)
This evaluation of the Strengthening Research and Knowledge Systems (SRKS) project was conducted under the DFID Global Evaluation Framework Agreement.
The Strengthening Research and Knowledge Systems (SRKS) project was a 5-year (2013–18), £10.2 million programme jointly funded by DFID and Sida and implemented by INASP. The anticipated outcome of the programme was increased sustainable access to, and production of, high-quality and durable research in low-income countries with the expectation that the impact of this research knowledge would be its contribution to national development and poverty reduction.
The programme sought to deliver three outputs:
- Increased organisational and individual capacity to support access to research literature, in INASP-supported countries
- Increased organisational and individual capacity to produce and make visible quality southern research literature, in INASP-supported countries
- Lessons learnt and communicated to support programme objectives
This evaluation of SRKS was undertaken by Itad and FCG Swedish Development AB. With SRKS finishing in 2018, the purpose was to review progress and assess the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, prospective impacts and unintended consequences of the programme.
The objectives of the evaluation were:
- Primary objective: to generate in-depth learning about how change has been achieved, barriers faced and how they have been overcome.
- Secondary objective: to provide accountability for DFID and Sida’s investment.
The evaluation covered the SRKS programme-wide activities and INASP’s work on SRKS across 24 countries. The primary audiences (and formal recipients) of the evaluation werethe INASP Board, Management Team, and staff, the Evidence into Action (EiA) team at DFID and Sida’s Research Cooperation Unit (FORSK). The wider audiences for the evaluation were other agencies and partners that have been involved in supporting and implementing change in strengthening research and knowledge systems. We investigated the utility of this evaluation for different audiences, designed our evaluation accordingly, and developed an evaluation learning and communication plan.
The evaluation showed that the SRKS programme in Sri Lanka was well in line with the national vision for research, and it was well integrated with government institutions. Two pre-SRKS initiatives had secured influential government support and created solid partnerships with government and academic partners. However, partner selection was in some subprogrammes neither systematic nor transparent, and was limited to a few partners. Donor and national coordination were largely missing, which missed co-operation opportunities with peer initiatives. Some subprogrammes received highly relevant support, but the objectives of writing clubs, as described by Sri Lankan stakeholders, were different from the objectives of the standard AuthorAid embedding support, as described by INASP stakeholders.
The programme was able to effectively support the already existing library consortia initiative and SLJOL, and both became viable stakeholders in the national research system. Both received important support from the SRKS programme at an opportune time. The programme also supported writing clubs in two universities, but the original plans for SRKS support were not effectively carried out.