Evaluation should be integrated at the stage of programming
In order to improve, evaluation should be integrated at the stage of programming. A good
practice example would be the evaluation of the BMBF Framework Programme Research
for Sustainable Development (FONA), which is now in the third programming period and
was evaluated at the end of each phase. In addition, evaluation should be politically
independent and be carried out with open results. While some interviewees opt for an
evaluation with a growing part of evaluators from industry and society, others vote for an
international expert consortium. Evaluation should not be carried out generally across
disciplines, because they have different preconditions and requirements. Either groups
should be evaluated with similar preconditions or agricultural sciences could be better
evaluated by comparing internationally.
Interviewees point out, that evaluation often requires a lot of effort for those organizations
to be evaluated, because they need to provide information in a way that the evaluators
are able to fulfill their job efficiently. Therefore the need of a (new) evaluation should be
carefully considered – in order to avoid ‘evaluitis’ the question of ‘what how often’ should
While scientific output is the established evaluation interest, the ‘real’ impact is not yet
considered. Additional criteria would be necessary in order to measure societal impact.
Some organizations carry out internal evaluations with a broadened catalogue of criteria
(e.g. Thünen-Institute) in order to better capture impact. In addition, the Thünen-Institute
sends out questionnaires to the ministries in order to evaluate their consultancy activities
(ask about timeliness, understandability etc.).
Interviews convey the impression, that practical use is gaining weight: According to the
BMEL representative the next evaluation of departmental research, carried out by the
Science Council, is supposed to additionally take the actual contribution of institutions to
problem solving into account. The DLG representative states that the DLG is increasingly
asked as evaluation partner, especially in order to evaluate research results in terms of
If application of results gain weight agricultural sciences will profit from the
development, because in contrast to other research fields agricultural sciences cover the
broad range from basic research to applied research to knowledge transfer.