The IMPRESA project mainly uses the OECD terminology published in the "Glossary of Key Terms in Evaluation and Results Based Management" (Öffnet externen Link in neuem FensterOECD 2002a) and the "Frascati Manual: Proposed Standard Practice for Surveys on Research and Experimental Development" (Öffnet externen Link in neuem FensterOECD 2002b). It is indicated where terminology commonly used by the European Commission differs from the OECD.


Actions taken or work performed through which inputs, such as funds, technical assistance and other types of resources are mobilised to produce specific outputs.


Individuals (or institutions) engaged in the process of research and development. Actors are also stakeholders (see below), but stakeholders are not necessarily actors. The structural patterns of relationships between actors can be investigated using Social Network Analysis.


To begin to use/employ new products/processes (initial stage of an innovation diffusion).

Agricultural research

In accordance with ASTI procedures agricultural research include research on crops, livestock, forestry, fisheries, natural resources, and the socioeconomic aspects of primary agricultural production. Also included is research concerning the on-farm storage and processing of agricultural products, commonly referred to as postharvest or food -processing research. R&D in the agrochemical industry, agricultural machinery, and the food processing industry off farm is not included in the current ASTI data. Also not included are the more discipline-oriented basic research activities undertaken by departments such as microbiology and zoology, except when this work has a clear focus on agriculture. Strict delineations, however, cannot always be made (ASTI Practitioner’s Guide for National and Regional Focal Point).

Refers to 'establishing a causal link between observed changes and a specific intervention'

Attribution implies quantifying the link, i.e. estimating how much of the variation of the outcome is due to the intervention (Mayne 2012).

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Benefit-Cost Ratio

The individuals, groups, or organisations, whether targeted or not, that benefit, directly or indirectly, from the development intervention. Related terms: reach, target group.

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Business Enterprise R&D expenditure

The indicator for the R&D expenditures from business enterprises is the BERD (Business enterprise R&D expenditure). The BERD is reported by economic activity according to the NACE classification (code 1 for agriculture). Only a few countries report data on BERD for agriculture.

More about the BERD Öffnet externen Link in neuem Fensterhere and Öffnet externen Link in neuem Fensterhere.

Causal chain

The causal sequence for a development intervention that stipulates the necessary sequence to achieve desired objectives-beginning with inputs, moving through ac tivities and outputs, and culminating in outcomes, impacts, and feedback. In some agencies, reach is part of the results chain.


Verifiable explanation of how the change agent contributed to the outcome (Wilson-Grau and Britt 2012).


The situation or condition which hypothetically may prevail for individuals, organisations, or groups were there is no development intervention.


The global impact assessment of a phenomenon by taking jointly into consideration different levels of analysis (i.e. micro- and macro-level assessments).

Demand-driven approach

An evaluation approach that starts with a policy change and asks what role policy research played in generating it (Walker et al., 2010). In the specific case of IMPRESA, the demand-driven approach is an evaluation procedure that starts from the observed final outcome (e.g. innovation uptake) and traces back the impact pathway in order to reconstruct the process up to its origin (e.g. new – scientific and technical – knowledge generated by R&D).

Development (R&D)

Development (as in R&D) is the application of research findings or other scientific knowledge for the creation of new or significantly improved products, applications or processes.


The way in which innovations spread, through market or non-market channels, from their very first implementation to different consumers, countries, regions, sectors, markets and firms. Without diffusion, an innovation has no economic impact. The minimum requirement for a change in a firm’s products or functions to be considered an innovation is that it is new (or significantly improved) to the firm (OECD 2016).


Intended or unintended change due directly or indirectly to an intervention. Related terms:results, outcome.


The extent to which the development intervention’s objectives were achieved, or are expected to be achieved, taking into account their relative importance.


A measure of how economically resources/inputs (funds, expertise, time, etc.) are converted to results.

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Ex post impact assessment

Following on from the OECD-DAC definition of impact, which refers to “effects produced by a development intervention” is the understanding that epIA needs to attribute impacts to interventions and does not just assess what has happened (Leeuw and Vaessen 2009).  Following Kelley, Ryan and Gregersen (2008), epIA is defined here as focusing on “changes in selected indicators of achievement of mission-level goals (e.g. income changes or sustainable poverty alleviation) that can be attributed to specific R&D interventions compared to what the indicators would have been in the absence of the interventions, that is, the counterfactual situation or ‘control’ ”. The issue of attribution (i.e. establishing a causal link between eventual impacts and the agricultural research applied in the past) is central in the epIA literature.

Note, terminology in this field varies considerably in the literature – see e.g. Martin and Nelson (2012) and Roger (2012). EpIA, as defined here for the IMPRESA e-mail conference, is commonly referred to as ‘impact evaluation’ elsewhere, while the definition of impact evaluation can also vary in the literature, with some definitions including evaluations which do not try to attribute changes in indicators of impact to the intervention whereas for others the issue of attribution is central and the counterfactual has to be identified in a rigorous manner (White 2009).

Note: in the European Commission terminology 'Impact assessment' refers to an ex-ante assessment of a new initiative, evaluating the the potential economic, social and environmental consequences.

systematic and objective assessment of an on-going or completed project, programme or policy, its design, implementation and results.

 The aim is to determine the relevance and fulfilmentof objectives, development efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability. An evaluation shouldprovide information that is credible and useful, enabling the incorporation of lessons learned into thedecision-making process of both recipients and donors. Evaluation also refers to the process of deter-mining the worth or significance of an activity, policy or programme (Baehr et al. 2010).

Ex-post Impact Evaluation/Assesment (epIE/epIA)

A specific type of evaluation designed at identifying and measuring the impacts resulting from a programme or project’s earlier interventions (Walker et al. 2008). The defining characteristic of epIA is that it seeks to establish a causal link (see attribution and causal chain) between the intervention and observed changes.

Note: in the European Commission terminology 'Impact assessment' refers to an ex-ante assessment of a new initiative, evaluating the the potential economic, social and environmental consequences

Extension (agricultural)
non-formal training in agriculture (OECD)

Agricultural extension (also known as agricultural advisory services) plays a crucial role in promoting agricultural productivity, increasing food security, improving rural livelihoods, and promoting agriculture as an engine of pro-poor economic growth (IFPRI).

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Fields of Science

One of the two nomenclatures used to categorise research expenditure.

Agricultural sciences include agriculture, forestry, fisheries and allied sciences (agronomy, animal husbandry, fisheries, forestry, horticulture, other allied subjects), as well as veterinary medicine (code 4 in the FOS classification, see here)

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Government Budget Appropriations or Outlays on R&D

Government Budget Appropriations on Research and Development (GBAORD) refer to budget provisions not actual expenses. Data include both current and capital expenditures and cover not only government-financed research and development performed in Government establishments, but also government-financed R&D in the private sector. The disaggregation by sector is only available for the Nomenclature for the Analysis and Comparison of Scientific Programmes and Budgets (NABS).

More information on the NABS Öffnet externen Link in neuem Fensterhere.

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Gross Domestic Expenditure on R&D

The Gross domestic expenditure on R&D (GERD) is the main indicator of investments in research. It includes expenditure on research and development by business enterprises, higher education institutions, as well as government and private non-profit organisations. The disaggregation by sector is provided for two nomenclatures: the Nomenclature for the Analysis and Comparison of Scientific Programmes and Budgets (NABS) and the Fields of Science (FOS). The GERD is a reliable indicator of investments in research but its disaggregation by sector is problematic as not all the Member States provide details for all sectors. In addition, data on private expenditures on agricultural R&D is often very limited.

More information can be found Öffnet externen Link in neuem Fensterhere.

long-term effects

Positive and negative, primary and secondary long-term effects produced by a development intervention, directly or indirectly, intended or unintended (Development Assistance Committee, 2002). These effects can be economic, socio-cultural, institutional, environmental, technological or of other types.

Impact Pathway

A means of representing the change occurring between an initial state of resources (the inputs) and a final set of different impacts (the long-term effects, partly or essentially induced by the change) resulting from the adoption of an innovation.

Characterisation of actors that interact during the innovation process on the one side and dimensions of impacts on the other side (Walker et al. 2010). It provides a global view of the change processes that may be linked to a programme research (Springer-Heinze et al. 2003).

Impact Pathway Evaluation

The idea is to study how the project acquires the impacts. This is an ex-post evaluation through which profits are estimated (Douthwaite et al. 2003).

Impacts, cumulative

Impacts that result from incremental changes caused by other past, present or reasonably foreseeable actions together with the project.

Impacts, direct

Those effects caused directly by our activities, at the same time, and in the same place.

Impacts, indirect

Impacts on the environment, which are not a direct result of the project, often produced away from or as a result of a complex pathway. Sometimes referred to as second or third level impacts, or secondary impacts.


Quantitative or qualitative factor or variable that provides a simple and reliable means to measure achievement, to reflect the changes connected to an intervention, or to help assess the performance of a development actor.

Is the first commercialisation of the idea

Is the implementation of a new or significantly improved product (good or service) or process, a new marketing method or a new organisational method in business practices, workplace organisation or external relations (OECD 2016). In contrast to the OECD definition (which sees innovation as a process), the EU provides a different definition: An innovation is a new or significantly improved product (good or service) introduced to the market or the introduction within an enterprise of a new or significantly improved process. Innovations are based on the results of new technological developments, new combinations of existing technology or the use of other knowledge acquired by the enterprise.

Innovation System

Can be defined as a group of elements which themselves and by mutual interaction, have an effect on the introduction and development of different types of innovation at a given spatial level: local, regional, national and institutional (Esparcia 2014).

Innovation, incremental

Can be defined as the refinement, improvement, and exploitation of existing innovations. Incremental innovations build on and reinforce the applicability of existing knowledge, and subsequently strengthen the dominance and capabilities of incumbent firms and the dominant design. Incremental innovations are characterised by reliability, predictability, and low risk (Narayanan and Colarelli O’Connor, 2010).

Innovation, radical

Can be defined as innovations with features offering dramatic improvements in performance or cost, which result in transformation of existing markets or creation of new ones. They involve fundamental technological discoveries for the firm, and thus are new to the firm and/or industry, and offer substantially new benefits and higher performance to customers (Narayanan and Colarelli O’Connor, 2010).


The financial, human, and material resources invested into a programme in order to encourage results through the relevant activities (Byrne and Ragin 2009).


Ways of structuring the interactions between individuals and groups, including both formally constituted establishments and the generally recognised patterns of organisation embodied in customs, habits, and laws (Goodwin et al. 2008).

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Internal Rate of Return

The Internal Rate of Return is the discount rate that makes the Net Present Value (NPV) equal to zero.

Distance between two periods

In time-series analysis, a lag is defined as the unit temporal distance between two measurements of the same variable. From OECD: An event occurring at time t+k (k>0) is said to lag behind event occurring at time t, the extent of the lag being k. An event occurring k time units before another may be regarded as having a negative lag.

Macro-level assessments

In these kinds of assessments, the main aim is to document impacts on productivity and profitability and the general approach is to relate productivity changes (at the commodity, commodity group or overall agricultural sector level) to earlier investments in agricultural research.

This has been a very active field over the past decades (e.g. Alston et al. 2000; Rao, Hurley and Pardey 2012).

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Multi-Factor Productivity

MFP is a partial productivity index for which the (indexed) output is measured in relation to some (indexed) inputs. MFP is used to measure the productivity of a class of differentiated products (output) in relation to differentiated and combined inputs (i.e. agricultural production in relation to land, capital and labour). From OECD: MFP is often measured residually, as that change in output that cannot be accounted for by the change in combined inputs.

acronym of:
Marginal Internal Rate of Return

The Marginal Internal Rate of Return is the discount rate that makes the Net Present Value (NPV) of the Value of Marginal Product (VMP) equal to zero. It is referred to as the amount of additional revenue that an economic activity can expect to earn per each additional dollar that it spends on production.

acronym of:
Nomenclature for the Analysis and Comparison of Scientific Programmes and Budgets

The Nomenclature for the Analysis and Comparison of Scientific Programmes and Budgets (NABS) is a classification organised by socio-economic objectives. It has been created in 1992 and revised in 2007. Agricultural production and technology cover all research on the promotion of agriculture, forestry, fisheries and foodstuff production. It includes research on chemical fertilisers, biocides, biological pest control and the mechanisation of agriculture; research on the impact of agricultural and forestry activities on the environment; research in the field of developing food productivity and technology. It does not include research on the reduction of pollution; research into the development of rural areas, the construction and planning of buildings, the improvement of rural rest and recreation amenities and agricultural water supply, research on energy measures and research for the food industry (code 8 in the NBAS, see here).

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Nomenclature Statistique des Activités Économiques dans la Communauté Européenne

Statistical classification of economic activities in the European Community.

See also Opens external link in new windowNACE Rev.2.

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Net Present Value

The Net Present Value is the difference between the PV of a stream of benefits and the PV of a stream of costs over a period of time. NPV is used to measure the profitability of an investment or a project.

The likely or achieved short-term and medium-term effects of an intervention’s outputs (OECD, 2002)

Outcome implies changes in the behaviour, relationships, activities and/or actions of a boundary partner that can be logically linked to a programme. Boundary partners are those individuals, groups, or organisations with whom the programme interacts directly and with whom the programme can anticipate some opportunities for influence (Earl and Carden, 2002; Earl et al., 2001; Byrne and Ragin, 2009, p 343).


The products, capital goods and services, which result from a development intervention; may also include changes resulting from the intervention, which are relevant to the achievement of outcomes (Development Assistance Committee, 2002). Outputs are directly achievable and observable (Earl and Carden, 2002; Byrne and Ragin, 2009).

The relationship between the amount of output and the units of input employed to produce it.
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Propensity Score Matching

PSM, within the analytical framework of programme (or treatment) evaluation, can be defined as a procedure aimed at matching treated (i.e. involved in the programme) and untreated (not involved in the programme) observations on the estimated probability of being treated (propensity score).

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Present Value

The Present Value is defined as the current worth of stream of a cash flow, given a specified rate of return. As referred to PV, future cash flows are said to be discounted at a given discount rate. The higher the discount rate, the lower the PV.

acronym of:
Research and Development

- Research is the creative work and original investigation undertaken on a systematic basis to gain knowledge

- Development is the application of research findings or other scientific knowledge for the creation of new or significantly improved products, applications or processes

R&D should exclude:

- Education and training (but should include, if possible, research conducted by PhD students at universities or research agencies).

- Science and technology information services (e.g. extension or advisory services).

- Technical services such as topographical mapping and geological, oceanographic, and meteorological surveying.

- Indirect support to R&D or activities related to the financing of R&D (but should include direct administration and clerical activities for R&D).

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Randomised Controlled Trials

RCTs, within the analytical framework of programme (or treatment) evaluation, are the most rigorous ways of determining whether a cause-effect relation exists between treatment and outcome and for assessing the cost effectiveness of a treatment.


Research is the creative work and original investigation undertaken on a systematic basis to gain knowledge.


The term “result” encompasses all levels of intended or unintended changes (quantitative and qualitative, in a process, a product or conditions) that have occurred as a consequence of a intervention. The terms “output”, “outcome” and “impact” describe different levels of results depending on time-scales and relevance of the change to the project's objectives and indicators.

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Single Factor Productivity

SFP is a partial productivity index for which the output is measured in relation to one input, e.g. yield measured as total production per unit of land (kg/ha).

Spillover effects
Effects that overcome national boundaries

Spillover effects can be defined as the impacts that (seemingly unrelated) events in one nation can have on the economies of other nations. In the case of the IMPRESA project, an example of spillover effect might be that the spending in agricultural R&D in one country may (indirectly) have an impact on the TFP (or MFP) of neighbour countries or trade partners.


Anyone who can affect, or is affected, by a research project and its dissemination. In some definitions, stakeholders are those who have the power to impact a project in some way.

Structural decomposition

An analytical procedure employed for separating out differences in observed sectorial quantities or prices from the effects of technological change (difference between changes in final demand and technical progress).

acronym of:
Total Factor Productivity

TFP is a comprehensive productivity index for which the (indexed) output is measured in relation to all (indexed) inputs. TFP is used to measure the productivity of all classes of differentiated products (output) in relation to all differentiated and combined inputs (i.e. agricultural production in relation to land, capital, labour and all variable inputs). From OECD: Total factor productivity is a synonym for Multi-factor productivity (MFP). The OECD productivity manual uses the MFP acronym to signal a certain modesty with respect to the capacity of capturing all factors’ contribution to output growth.


The use of three or more theories, sources or types of information, or types of analysis to verify and substantiate an assessment.


The adopted products/processes are continuously and definitely used/employed in the firm’s production system (final stage of an innovation diffusion).

acronym of:
Value of Marginal Product

In production economics, the marginal physical product (MPP) is defined as the change in physical output associated with an incremental change in the use of an input. The VMP is the MPP multiplied by the unit price of the output. VMP is defined as the value of the incremental unit of output resulting from an additional unit of input.

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