CECAN Seminar with Zenda Ofir

How evaluation in the SDG era can mislead, and what to do about it

We were thrilled to welcome Zenda Ofir to give a CECAN seminar in February 'How evaluation in the SDG era can mislead, and what to do about it.'

Professionals in evaluation pay a lot of attention to how to evaluate. We are less thoughtful about exactly what to evaluate, why, and how we define ‘success’. Stakeholders’ interests and questions tend to determine what will be useful to focus on at a particular point in time. Or we use a predetermined set of criteria, usually the so-called DAC criteria - relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability - to direct and focus evaluations. Yet this widely accepted practice can prompt us to neglect important issues that should be on our agenda if we are serious about the role of evaluation in supporting sustainable development, and understanding whether we are on track to achieve the SDGs. Failure to focus our evaluations appropriately can lull us into dangerous complacency about accomplishment and success.

EXTENDED DEADLINE: Call for Abstracts – RGS-IBG Conference 2018 on Geographical Landscapes

Call for Papers – RGS-IBG Conference 2018 on Geographical Landscapesn ConferenceDEADLINE EXTENDED TO 14TH FEB 2018

Session Title: Adaptive management and governance of the WEF Nexus
Convenors: Kirsty Blackstock, James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen; Pete Barbrook-Johnson, University of Surrey, Ian Christie, University of Surrey; Adam Hejnowicz, University of York.
Session Abstract: The concept of the Water-Energy-Food nexus has been in vogue since being identified as part of the ‘perfect storm’ of drivers on society by the UN in 2011. It has become a narrative to try to capture and explain the systemic nature of global wicked problems; and also to provide innovative solution to these wicked problems (Cairns and Krzywoszynska, 2016).
For some, it is an invitation to grapple with the persistence of complex socio-ecological challenges and offer a site for transformation in our relationship to the material landscapes. For others, it remains a technical challenge to be resolved through optimisation of resource use in any given landscape.

Research Fellow - RCUK Innovation Fellowship


The University of Surrey has been awarded a three year RCUK Innovation Fellowship by ESRC.  The Fellow to be appointed will develop, test, and apply an evaluation framework for the ex-post evaluation of Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) in food-energy-water-environment Nexus infrastructure domains. This will include specific projects with industry partners Anglian Water and the South Lincolnshire Water Partnership (SLWP). The Fellowship is associated with the Centre for the Evaluation of Complexity Across the Nexus (CECAN),

The Fellowship includes both a strong, independent research element and an extensive programme of training and skills development.  The Fellow will be mentored by members of the University of Surrey, Anglian Water and the Department for The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

CECAN International Symposium on Complexity Approaches to Evaluate Global Nexus Policy Challenges

International Symposium

This month CECAN proudly hosted an International Symposium on complexity approaches to evaluate global nexus policy challenges, at Barnett Hill Hotel in Surrey.

The event was part of the Economic Social Research Council (ESRC) Festival of Social Science.

Delegates, including representatives from the European Commission and UK Government, came together to share expertise and join the debate.

We were thrilled to connect with leaders and influencers in the evaluation community, from ten different countries;  Germany, USA, Switzerland, Australia, Senegal, Netherlands, South Africa, Belgium, Ireland and Italy.

Over the course of this two-day event topic areas included; The need for complexity sensitive evaluation, exploring complex thinking for sustainable futures, cutting edge evaluation methods and how to increase the uptake of them, and how to get government to deal with complexity.