Virtually all research institutions monitor their
research projects for financial and bookkeeping purposes. In addition,
many attempt to evaluate the quality of their research. Unfortunately,
few research institutions commit significant resources to the process
of evaluating the social and environment impacts of their research.
are several reasons for their reluctance to do so. Perhaps some
of this unwillingness stems from the feeling that research resources
are scarce; the benefits are obvious and we should therefore simply
get on with the process. Perhaps some of the unwillingness stems
from a fear that evaluation of research results would produce unfavorable
benefit- cost ratios. And perhaps some of the unwillingness stems
from the methodological difficulties encountered when establishing
the benefits from some types of research.
is unfortunate that agricultural institutions spend so few resources
on attempting to measure the impact of their research on society
because we ought to know the results of such spending. We ought
to know if it pays and if so, how much it pays.
the impact of research and development attempts to quantify the
costs and benefits from research and development activities. The
methods used are not particularly difficult to understand. Engineers
and bankers regularly do benefit cost analysis. There is not reason
agriculture researchers shouldn’t have the capability to do
the same thing. The impact of applied research and development is
relatively easy to identify and the payoffs are usually very high.
science of impact assessment has developed rapidly in the last few
years. Despite significant advances, methods of impact assessment
are required to be fine-tuned to site specific nature of agricultural
research. The multiple objectives of agricultural research like
food security, poverty, environmental protection, sustainability,
etc. further complicate the outcome of such analysis of agricultural
research program and projects.