Sharing and developing best practice
for evaluating organic research
Many European countries have developed research programmes addressing the organic farm and food system. These national research programmes in organic farming vary strongly in size, complexity, depth and duration they have been in place.
In all countries, funding agencies have entered new ground with these programmes and face various problems when evaluating proposals and monitoring the outreach of programmes and projects. Although the criteria for scientific excellence are the same for organic research activities, some additional requirements have to be met: Whereas most of the agricultural research projects are disciplinary and programmes are designed in a multidisciplinary way, organic farming research requires a consistent interdisciplinary understanding of methods and results.
In addition, the organic farm and food system makes a strong claim to consider social and ethical impacts of farming and how research interferes, a claim often difficult for funding agencies and researches to cope with.
To conclude, funding agencies and programme manager have a strong interest to jointly develop best practice of evaluation and quality assurance in this new research area.
Work will include
Mapping of existing evaluation criteria and procedures for the construction and implementation of research programmes and projects as well as methodologies in specific areas in each participating state.
Critically analysing evaluation criteria and procedures in place and discussing specific practices together with opinion leaders of the organic farm and food system (e.g. contradictory interest of scientists to publish in scientific journals and the organic farm and food system to participate in research as it is practised in transdisciplinary research approaches)
Developing a set of criteria and procedures and a checklist in order to facilitate evaluations of projects and programmes (widely accepted Terms of Reference, TOR)
Training of experts for the evaluation of research projects and programmes in organic farming
The objective is to identify common evaluation criteria at project level as well as programme level to ensure high quality research in organic farming.
State of the art” report on recommended models, construction and evaluation procedures and methodologies applied in Europe (PDF)
Model Terms of Reference (TOR) and checklists ready to use for transnational research programmes on organic farming as well as to improve construction and evaluation procedure on national levels
List of excellent experts (staff of funding agencies, programme managers and project managers) for peer reviews and evaluations
Urs Niggli, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (CH)
Bertil Sylvander, National Institute for Agricultural Research (FR)