Evaluation is regarded as a critical component of all good program management. Appropriately staged evaluations present an opportunity for embedding reflexivity and adaptation mechanisms into large-scale, complex, long-term research-industry collaborations. Considering the time-lag associated with achieving full-scale research adoption and impact, it is important to acknowledge and recognise the importance of ‘societal impact’ that has occurred as a result of dedicated CRCWSC activities.
Therefore, undertaking monitoring and evaluation throughout the life of the CRCWSC industry-research collaboration is important for generating robust evidence to support cases of attribution in relation to achieving long-term impacts. This document presents a learning-oriented, formative and summative evaluation plan developed over the last ten months (September 2014 to June 2015). The evaluation and learning framework presented in this document is designed so that when implemented, the CRCWSC will have empirical evidence regarding the value, quality, reach, and impact of the CRCWSCs program of work. This information will be used to: (i) open up an internal (and where appropriate external) discussion regarding elements of the CRCWSC activities which require strengthening, improvement or reconsideration for reaching its desired outcomes; (ii) provide relevant accountability and reporting measures; and (iii) inform economic impact assessments regarding the overall value achieved by the CRCWSC operations.
Given the long time horizon for achieving full-scale impacts, the CRCWSC is dedicated to undertaking formative evaluation, which is primarily an analysis of program implementation with a view to providing advice regarding whether improvements are required within the program’s operational and ‘on-ground’ delivery, but also to collect and collate evidence regarding influence and ‘intangible’ impacts (i.e. network establishment, trust-building, knowledge exchange etc.) in an effort to build a solid foundation for attribution. Furthermore, as the CRCWSC is currently delivering on outputs and achieving early impacts, ongoing summative evaluation will be undertaken to examine whether the Program is on track towards achieving its intended objectives and outcomes.