Background: Science, technology, innovation and partnerships (STIP) play an important role in accelerating the outcomes of development programmes. Policy makers need evidence about what works and what does not. For the greatest benefit, we need to know which questions are the highest priority for development stakeholders.
Objectives: We will describe the breadth, depth and features of the existing STIP-related impact-evaluation evidence base and compare it to the demand for new evidence to identify priority areas for new investments in research and synthesis.
Methods: To identify these priorities, we developed an evidence-gap map (EGM), which systematically catalogues the supply of impact-evaluation evidence on a framework of intervention and outcomes categories. We also assessed stakeholder demand for new evidence, using a variety of sources, including expert consultations and a stakeholder survey. We then compared supply and demand.
Results: The EGM identifies 320 completed impact evaluations on the effectiveness of STIP-related interventions. There are only 7 completed systematic reviews identified in the map - a small number, given the density of completed impact evaluations we found. Moreover, the reviews contain very few of the impact evaluations identified in the EGM. Our assessment of demand identifies several intervention types, primarily within the technology, innovation and partnerships categories. Combining the two, we find several priority areas for new investment.
Priority areas for investment in new impact evaluation research:
• technology interventions using biometrics and data-systems development;
• policies to develop digital infrastructure;
• innovation ecosystems programmes in sub-Saharan Africa; and,
• digital inclusion interventions that target marginalised populations and women.
Clusters of similar studies promising for systematic review:
• technology-related interventions such as mobile-money systems, SMS services for agriculture, and several m-health interventions;
• Innovation ecosystems programmes in Latin America; and,
• results-based financing programmes for health.