CIRAD is the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development working for the sustainable development of tropical and Mediterranean regions. Along with its large network of scientific partners around the world, Cirad generates quality scientific and technical knowledge in the field of agriculture and contributes to building the capacity of rural societies to adapt, learn and take innovative actions. This means understanding local innovation systems and fostering the conditions that favour the appropriation of that knowledge. To fulfil this ambition, Cirad embarked on a long-term project to understand, document and learn from the impact pathways of its research for development actions, directly involving the stakeholders participating in the innovation process and those impacted by it.
To implement this learning project, Cirad has built an impact evaluation method and approach named ImpresS (IMPact of RESearch in the South). ImpresS uses a range of participatory tools, applied to understand the innovation process after it has reached maturity (ex post), or to formulate a common vision and plausible impact pathway of an intervention (ex ante). The long-term goal of ImpresS is to foster the building of an “impact culture” based on learning at Cirad and its partner institutions, ultimately increasing the ability of research to contribute to developmental impacts.