Monitoring and Evaluating Agricultural Science and Technology Projects: Theories, Practices and Problems


  • Erik Millstone,

    1. Professor of Science Policy at the University of Sussex, leader of the Environment and Energy group at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) and Director of Studies for the postgraduate programme in Science and Technology Policy
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  • Patrick Van Zwanenberg,

    1. Research fellow at the Science and Technology Policy Research Unit (SPRU), University of Sussex
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  • Fiona Marshall

    1. Senior lecturer at the Science and Technology Policy Research unit at the University of Sussex.
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This article is corrected by:

  1. Errata: Erratum Volume 43, Issue 1, 111, Article first published online: 23 December 2011


Recently there has been a realisation that agriculture, and in particular the viability and sustainability of smallholder farming, can be a key to poverty reduction in developing countries. This article reviews approaches to monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of scientific and technological innovation projects and examines how approaches to M&E can be modified or enhanced to optimise positive impacts on those intended recipients. This article concludes that innovations are most successful when they are accomplished within ‘innovation systems’; that advantage should be taken of opportunities to involve intended recipients of the innovation at early up-stream and mid-stream stages of projects to assess the accuracy and adequacy of theories of change; that the types of tools and methods used in carrying out M&E influence the types of data obtained; and that the cultures of research and development institutions may inhibit reciprocal communications but the development of intermediaries between institutions and farmers could make a useful difference.