During 2006-07 ACIAR and the Centre for International Economics (CIE) developed a set of guidelines for ACIAR impact assessment studies. The aim is to enhance the comparability between the studies and consistency of their results.

Over 2007-08 researchers and consultants who have been asked to undertake the economic analysis were asked to test the guidelines and to identify areas for improvement. In mid 2008, a workshop was held to discuss the application of the guidelines. The final version of the report was published in ACIAR’s Impact Assessment Series (IAS58) and is used by ACIAR as a basis for the impact assessments:

Guidelines for assessing the impacts of ACIAR’s research activities (2008 - Davis J., Gordon J., Pearce D. and Templeton D.)

While these guidelines provide a general approach to undertaking primarily economic impact assessments and ACIAR’s adoption studies, they should be viewed as a living document. Periodically, revisions will be made in response to comments from the key users of the documents and as advances in impact assessment methodologies are made.

The Special Panel on Impact Assessment of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Independent Science and Partnership Council has also developed guidelines for its impact assessment activities, which are available on their website at:


ACIAR has also worked closely with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in developing a common impact assessment software for undertaking IAS’s. The Dynamic Research EvaluAtion for Managers (DREAM) software system is an impact assessment tool that enables analysts to readily calculate the size and distribution of the economic benefits from agricultural research and development activities using a range of market model options. DREAM is based on the concepts and methods described in Science Under Scarcity: Principles and Practice for Agricultural Research Evaluation and Priority Setting by J.M. Alston, G.W. Norton and P. G. Pardey (1995). The DREAM model is accessible from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) website free of charge. The download site contains detailed instructions in the README.TXT file, together with a user manual.

Visit the IFPRI website and find out more about DREAM