Commentary| Volume 101, ISSUE 4, P213-219, April 2020

Assessing research impact: A framework and an evaluation of the Society of Family Planning Research Fund’s grantmaking (2007–2017)


      The Society of Family Planning Research Fund (SFPRF) provides grants for research on abortion and contraception. In 2017, SFPRF conducted a retrospective evaluation of its investment in family planning research. Using a developmental evaluation approach, we created a framework for assessing research impact in family planning and applied it to an analysis of our grantmaking between 2007 and 2017. Our framework consists of 30 indicators of research impact, which span nine impact categories from building researchers’ capacity to influencing individuals, communities, and systems. Through application of this framework to our grantmaking, we learned that our grantmaking has helped build the research capacity of emerging and established family planning scholars and advance the field of family planning by supporting the creation of a robust scholarly evidence base. At the same time, we identified less evidence of impact on policy and practice. The results of this analysis directed SFPRF to move towards more focused funding opportunities, including longer-term and larger investments, and to prioritize partnerships between researchers and knowledge brokers.


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