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EVAL-INNO Fostering Evaluation Competencies in Research, Technology and Innovation in the SEE Region

EVAL-INNO is a project funded under the South East Europe Transnational Cooperation Programme running from May 2011 until April 2014. The key objective of EVAL-INNO is to strengthen regional as well as national evaluation capacities in order to improve the framework conditions for RTDI policies, programmes, institutions and projects.                  

  • Posted on: 03.12.2011

Research, Technological and Innovation policy is a complex and increasingly broad field of public intervention. In this context, evaluations are important both as providers of information and (potentially) significant adjustment tools for generating and maintaining RTDI policy. In front of more and more differentiating RTDI policy and funding mixes in SEE, which increasingly leverage national budgets and bridge between different policy fields, the absence of sufficient endogenous RTDI evaluation capacities causes a serious bottleneck for the entire innovation management cycle.
Some of the identified key challenges regarding the evaluation capacities in SEE and particularly in the WBC relate

  • to a lack of qualified evaluators for programme, institutional and policy evaluations in the field of RTDI as well as methodological deficits and weaknesses;
  • to the fact that evaluation beneficiaries at policy-level are dispersed across sectors and governance levels, but exchange among them is limited;
  • to a lack of knowledge on professional tendering procedures (incl. public procurement laws) to obtain the best evaluation results as well as
  • to difficulties to access RTDI evaluation information and good practices and a general lack of completed good-practice RTDI programme-institutionand policy evaluations.

In summary, this means that RTDI capacities and results in SEE and particularly in the WBC are still limited and public interventions are deemed necessary. Under tight financial regimes however, public spending for RTDI has to identify the right rationales and mechanisms for performance based innovation funding right from the start. Evaluations are a proper tool for ensuring transparency and accountability and contribute to an efficient new public management. Exante, interim, terminal and ex-post evaluations have to be properly and reasonably tendered as well, and they have to be implemented in a way to secure strategic intelligence building and evidence-based decision making. 
Generally, evaluation excellence can be promoted in many different ways: by elaborating harmonised standards  and guidelines, by providing more education opportunities (MA and PhD programmes in evaluation theory and practice), by providing more and better access to quality training, or by sharing good practices through connectivity among evaluators – just to name some.
The EVAL-INNO project focuses on capacity building and institutional support in SEE Its main target groups are policy-makers, policy-delivery systems as well as RTDI evaluators and potential RTDI evaluators in the region. In particular EVAL-INNO aims:

  • to promote the role of RTDI evaluation as a crucial condition for a reflexive learning innovation system
  • to develop needed capacities and competencies for comprehensive RTDI evaluations
  • to provide procedural and methodological know-how and tool-kits both on the side of evaluators and on the side of awarding authorities.

An easily accessible and systematically structured “Regional RTDI Evaluation Platform” is programmed and subdivided in four distinct databases (Strategic documents – including evaluation studies and reports; Innovation infrastructures; Innovation stakeholders and actors; Evaluators and potential evaluators) which will be continuously updated. The Platform serves the information needs of both evaluators and awarding authorities (agencies, ministries). For the target groups, distinct training modules are prepared and implemented with an emphasis on methodological and procedural issues.

Special training and knowledge for an optimum use of public procurement for RTDI evaluations is provided too. Different activities will be implemented in all six participating countries while partners from other SEE countries, especially WBC will also be invited to participate in the trainings and capacity building workshops.
In addition, three RTDI programme evaluations and a comparative benchmarking of intermediary innovation  organisations will be carried out based on sound methodological designs. The elaboration of widely accepted RTDI evaluation standards will contribute to fostering an evaluation culture and ethics in the region. The standards will be published in English and translated into at least five languages from the region depending on their reception.
Outputs and results of EVAL-INNO will be promoted through a large international conference which will take place in Vienna in early 2014. Furthermore, a business plan for sustaining the “Regional RTDI Evaluation Platform”, based on a fee-based membership system, will be developed.

The EVAL-INNO project is coordinated by the Centre for Social Innovation (Austria) with partners from Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Montenegro and Serbia:

  • Applied Research and Communications Fund – Bulgaria
  • National and Kapodistrian University of Athens – Special Account for Research Grants – Greece
  • Public Foundation for the Development of Industry – Hungary
  • University of Montenegro (International Relations Office) – Montenegro
  • Mihajlo Pupin Institute – Serbia

Despite the fact that innovation systems in the partner countries show a variety of policy mixes and institutional settings, all partners share the belief that an upgrading of evaluation capacities for RTDI policies, programmes and institutions towards international state-of-art standards will contribute to evidence-based decision making in RTDI policy, improve the framework conditions and pave the way for future innovation.

Please consult the EVAL-INNO website to check for further details on the project (see link below) or contact Martin Felix Gajdusek (project coordinator) if you have any further questions.

Geographical focus: International/Other

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