EDI was designed to be a research programme that would impact policy, not tangential to the needs or demands of policy stakeholders. The EDI-RA3 studies that the Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA) at the University of California, Berkeley helped competitively select are responding to decision-maker demand. That is, from the outset, the research projects were chosen and subsequently funded because they were not only technically sound, logistically feasible, and promising to contribute to the evidence base, but also directly relevant to ongoing policy and reform debates.
To build a research portfolio that could effectively respond to policy needs, CEGA leadership and the RA3 Scientiﬁc Committee made careful decisions, such as prioritizing funding for projects with direct government partners. This prioritization was made possible through signiﬁcant effort from CEGA to crowd-in high quantity and quality of proposals among which to select the portfolio. In the conclusion we discuss both our research funding selection strategy in greater detail, and identify notable commonalities across projects with impacts thus far. For example, we emphasize the value of embedding an experiment within governmental programme implementation. Where possible and successful, this approach seems clearly more likely to achieve direct contributions to policy decisions.
To track reported policy impacts in a systematic fashion, CEGA designed a “Policy Impact Tracker” (PIT), using a Salesforce-based database at our host institution, the University of California, Berkeley. PIT allows EDI to capture the policy contributions of RA3 research and observe the trajectories of each funded evaluation, and the portfolio in aggregate. So far, CEGA has logged 75 impacts from our RA3 research portfolio.
The EDI-RA3 programme has generated signiﬁcant policy impacts, including changes to laws and national policies as a result of close engagement between researchers and government oﬃcials. Read the full report here: