The Quality of Research for Development in the CGIAR Context (Qo4RD) is a framework that facilitated CGIAR System-wide agreement on the nature and assessment of the quality of science, a concept broadened beyond scientific credibility to include the likelihood of achieving development outcomes.

QoR4D was initially developed in 2017, adopted in 2018, and revised in 2020. It was designed to help:

  • Develop research strategies and programs
  • Build a new research portfolio
  • Establish monitoring systems
  • Design performance management standards

QoR4D was established through a consultative process involving representatives from entities across CGIAR involved in managing or assessing science quality. It should be viewed as an integrated whole consisting of four key elements:

  • Relevance
  • Scientific credibility
  • Legitimacy
  • Effectiveness

Operationalization of QoR4D

In 2021, ISDC operationalized QoR4D to make it fit-for-purpose for Research Initiative proposal reviews—a major step in the One CGIAR reform that put in practice the 2030 Research and Innovation Strategy.

QoR4D in Practice for One CGIAR defines 17 criteria that encompassed the four underpinning elements of QoR4D, aligned with the Eschborn Principles. Criteria were framed through a codesign engagement to ensure Research Initiative developers put an inquiry into understanding the context, anticipating needs of end-users and opportunities that might emerge, and building a package of partnerships and activities required to reach high-level outcomes and impacts. Criteria were designed as a means of providing feedback for improving individual proposals and their implementation, and to provide advice to System Council. A four-point scoring system was proposed to adequately review proposals and be used for later evaluations.

Application of the Quality of Research for Development Framework to CGIAR Initiative Reviews

To improve future ISDC external review of CGIAR proposals, ISDC conducted an ex-post analysis of the Initiative review process through a reviewer survey, CGIAR stakeholder consultations, examination of QoR4D reviewer scoring divergence, and Initiative Design Team (IDT) responses to ISDC reviews. The Lessons Learned report details the analysis’ recommendations grouped by: (1) QoR4D and its application to Initiatives, (2) insights for the design of the Initiative proposal template, and (3) areas for deeper consideration by IDTs and senior leadership in developing future proposals. 



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For more information:

Contact Amy Beaudreault, Lead, ISDC Secretariat