How to Implement Context-Sensitive Evaluation Approaches in Countries with still Emerging Evaluation Cultures


  • Susanne Buehrer Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research
  • Evanthia Kalpazidou Schmidt Associate Professor, Research Director, Aarhus University, Bartholins Allé 7, DK - 8000 Aarhus C
  • Dorottya Rigler Association of Hungarian Woman in Science, 1121 Budapest
  • Rachel Palmen IN3, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Av. Carl Friedrich Gauss 5, ES - 08860 Castellde-fels



Evaluation, Impact Assessment, Emerging Evaluation Cultures, Gender Equality, Private Sector


Evaluation cultures and evaluation capacity building vary greatly across the European Union. Western European countries, such as Austria, Germany, Denmark and Sweden, have been termed as leading countries in the evaluation as they have built up well-established evaluation cultures and carry out systematic evaluations of programmes and institutions. In contrast, in Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries, efforts continue to establish evaluation practices and further develop the current evaluation culture. In Hungary, for example, an established research and innovation evaluation practice does not exist, not one specifically considering gender equality in research and innovation evaluations with the exception of research and innovation programmes financed by the EU Structural Funds. Based on the results of a Horizon 2020 project, we apply a context-sensitive evaluation concept in Hungary that enables program owners and evaluators to develop a tailor-made design and impact model for their planned or ongoing gender equality interventions. The development of this evaluation was based on a thorough analysis of the literature and 19 case studies, building on documentary analysis and semi-structured interviews. The article shows that this evaluation approach is applicable also in countries with a certain catch-up demand of the existing overall evaluation culture. The special feature of the presented evaluation approach is, on the one hand, that the evaluation is context-sensitive. On the other hand, this approach makes it possible not only to depict effects on gender equality itself, but also to anticipate effects on research and innovation. Such effects can, for example, be a stronger orientation of research towards societal needs, which makes it particularly interesting for private companies.