In 2017 Sustineo was engaged by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) to assess the impact of ACIAR’s research on giant clams on long-term knowledge exchange, conservation efforts and economic development opportunities for partner countries. As well as a wider assessment of giant clam research impact in the Indo-Pacific region, Sustineo conducted detailed assessments of clam hatcheries based on fieldwork in the Philippines and the Solomon Islands.
Sustineo’s Impact Assessment revealed how ACIAR’s work on giant clams had impacted the creation of knowledge on giant clams; the capacity of core researchers and institutions; and the economic impacts on the giant clam market within the Indo-Pacific. The assessment found that ACIAR supported the capacity development of local research and the production of highly salient and credible knowledge on giant clam biology and culture techniques. However, there were mixed results for the transfer of this knowledge to economic activities and the wider conservation of giant clams.
This impact assessment integrated leading international expertise in the research-policy interface with Sustineo’s research expertise on agricultural research and development. This, combined with close engagement with ACIAR throughout and a commitment to academic rigour, resulted in a practical and high-quality impact assessment report. The impact assessment methodology designed by Sustineo extended ACIAR’s standard methodology, and showed how the RAPID framework could be applied in different settings and in in conjunction with other impact assessment methods.
This outcome reflects Sustineo’s practice and understanding that impact assessment methods must be tailored to specific contexts. Just applying the standard quantitative and econometric focused approaches would not have been sufficient to reveal and understand the full spectrum of impacts of ACIAR investments.