ACIAR conducts adoption studies on all large projects three to four years after their completion. These studies are done annually and they seek to clarify what has happened in our partner countries after the completion of a project. The adoption studies are undertaken by the Australian project leader (or a nominated person). 

The primary purpose of an adoption study is to provide ACIAR with quantitative and/or qualitative information on the difference the project made at the scientific and community levels in the relevant developing country(ies) and Australia. Quantitative information is important as it gives an indication of the extent of the difference the project has made; qualitative information adds depth to the quantitative data by explaining why or why not the project results have been implemented. 

Where none of the information can be quantified, qualitative information is still extremely useful. In addition, where the project has not resulted in any changes because the research results were not adopted, information on the reasons for the lack of uptake is sought. Where change has been achieved it is also useful to identify what features of the project or approach contributed to these outcomes.

The adoption study portfolio now contains 85 studies from which we are able to learn important lessons that can be fed back into our project development, design and implementation process. Reports in ACIAR’s adoption studies series also provide an estimate of adoption for the projects covered. The qualitative assessment suggests that, in the majority of cases, the project outputs are being used by either intermediaries or the final targeted groups. While the measure of adoption provided in the studies is relatively subjective, seven projects reporting a high level of uptake were subjected to a more in-depth quantitative analysis. With one exception, each was found to have significant benefits.

assessed uptake of research outputs by research area graph

Below are the set of adoption study reports produced so far.