We are excited to share the release of our latest brief, EVALSDGs Insight #18: Evaluating Quality of Science towards achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. It aligns with the UN Secretary-General's emphasis in 2023, who said that “scientific and technological progress is integral to supporting our efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”.

This insightful brief showcases the pivotal role of science in achieving the SDGs; it aims to underscore the importance of properly evaluating the quality of scientific research in the context of sustainable development.

Science forms the bedrock of innovation, providing the necessary foundation for new approaches, technologies, and solutions to tackle global challenges. Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) are crucial drivers for societal change and the achievement of the SDGs. To effectively contribute to the SDGs, mainstream science must be credible, inclusive and mission-driven. 

Aligned to CGIAR's 2030 Research and Innovation Strategy, its Research for Development (R4D) interventions primarily align with several SDGs, including:

  • SDG 2: Food Production and Security
  • SDG 5: Gender Inclusion
  • SDG 13: Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation
  • SDG 17: Productive Partnerships

These interventions emphasize stakeholder engagement, gender inclusiveness, mentorship and capacity-building to ensure sustainable contributions to the SDGs.

However, evaluating the quality and impact of STI interventions, such as those by CGIAR, remains complex. Underscoring significant contributions to specific SDGs by CGIAR interventions requires targeted approaches and rigorous evaluation methods to ensure their effectiveness in contributing to SDGs. 

Within this context, the CGIAR Evaluation Framework and Policy advocates for using mixed methods to assess R4D interventions. Furthermore, a designated Quality of Science (QoS) evaluation criterion is proposed that focuses on:

  • Scientific Credibility: Ensuring the robustness of research findings
  • Legitimacy: Maintaining ethical fairness throughout the research process

The four core dimensions of QoS are proposed: research design, inputs, management processes and outputs, essential for any project's assessment. Combining qualitative and quantitative indicators, i.e. bibliometrics and altmetrics, is one of the methods to evaluate societal research outcomes effectively.

"EVALSDGs Insight #18" provides an example from CGIAR and how a structured evaluation would bring to light scientific research contributes to sustainable development. See the summary of evaluative evidence on R4D portfolio of CGIAR to learn more.

For a deeper dive into this valuable resource, you can access the full brief which is also available in Spanish.

The EvalSDG#18 Insight will be presented on June 6 at 11:30am (Rome time) in a live event in the framework of the gLOCAL evaluation week. Register here.