Meta-Impact Assessment of the Irrigated Rice Research Consortium
The Irrigated Rice Research Consortium (IRRC) was established in 1997 with the aim of providing a platform to facilitate identification, development, dissemination, and adoption of natural resource management (NRM) technologies suitable for irrigated rice-based ecosystems in several Asian countries. With funding support mainly from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) through four project phases (Phases I–IV from 1997 to 2012), the IRRC has provided a mechanism that expedited partnerships between national agricultural research and extension systems (NARES) and scientists from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). It is estimated that 1.2 million farmers have been reached by the NRM technologies promoted by the IRRC.
In light of the more than 15-year history of IRRC, there is natural interest in whether IRRC's efforts resulted in meaningful impacts and whether benefits from the outputs of IRRC's research outweigh the research investments. Hence, the objective of this study is to determine the multidimensional impacts (i.e., economic, sociocultural, environmental, policy, scientific, institutional) of the technologies developed and/or disseminated by IRRC, as well as document the pathways and mechanisms that led to successful adoption of these technologies. A "meta" impact assessment approach is used where the analysis of impact evidence mainly relies on existing documents (or studies), easily accessible data sources, and short field visits.