We conduct qualitative and quantitative research covering a wide range of policy areas, and with a specific focus on the performance of policy at the European Union level. Research assignments are developed in cooperation with a series of academic partners across Europe.


We consider that evaluation can play a useful role in terms of guiding managers and other decision makers when it comes to reviewing past performance or preparing new initiatives. Addressing the established evaluation criteria of relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability, an evaluation is a pre-eminently rational tool.

  However, for an evaluation to be truly meaningful it also needs to be ‘modest’ and ‘open-minded’.

  Modesty implies that an evaluation refrains from reducing outcomes to mere numbers.

  Evaluators increasingly limit their efforts to quantification, checking the achievement of quantified results against set targets in logical framework matrixes.

  We consider that this confuses evaluation with audit, and fails to grasp the often rather qualitative nature of evaluation outcomes. Moreover, whilst popular with many donors, it deflects attention from the actual achievement of objectives, and builds defensive barriers within the minds of programme managers and beneficiaries (often exacerbated by weak evaluation culture or limited evaluation experience).

  This leads us to open-mindedness. The evaluator needs to familiarise himself with the evaluation context to be able to grasp and explain qualitative outcomes. This can be a demanding task within the generally short evaluation timeframes, however, we have made good experiences in overcoming this constraint by emphasising stakeholder consultations on the ground, conducting interviews with different parties affected by an evaluation, and supplementing this with surveys to larger groups of stakeholders.

Regulatory Impact Assessment

Our regulatory impact assessment work is generally of a prospective nature, i.e. looking at the possible future impact of new regulation. Aiming to support and not to replace the decision-making process helping the law maker ensure that new legislation is prepared on the basis of ‘transparent, comprehensive, and balanced evidence’. A specific focus is on ‘European Added Value Assessments’ and ‘Cost of Non-Europe Reports’, i.e. research on the raison d’être of regulatory action at the level of the European Union.

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