The main purposes of the review were:
- To evaluate whether the grants awarded to SciDev.Net since 2001 been used effectively and for the purposes for which they were awarded,
- To assess how far the organisation has achieved the broad objectives identified in its original business plan and in its Strategic Plan for 2004-2008,
- To indicate actions that may be required to increase the prospects for SciDev.Net’s financial sustainability,
- To identify SciDev.Net's opportunities for future growth and for increasing its contribution to development goals.
The approach adopted by the reviewers was largely specified by the client. These included:
- An online questionnaire of users of the SciDev.Net website
- A series of key informant interviews by Andrew Barnett, the team leader.
- A series of “focus groups” – Fifteen to thirty people were brought together for a day long meeting in South Africa, Uganda (2), India, China and Ecuador (2). The participants were selected to reflect both actual users and potential users, and a variety of audiences (scientists, policy analysts, NGO, the private sector etc).
- A series of telephone interviews carried out by Gareth Williams
- A review of documents supplied by SciDev.Net and other organisations.
The work of the Policy Practice was guided by an Advisory Group (Alex Duncan, Carol Priestly, Erik Arnold).
The report is confidential to the Board of SciDev.Net, but it is hoped that SciDev.Net will put a summary in the public domain in due course.