Chris Barnett is an Honorary Associate affiliated with the Centre for Development Impact. The Centre is a joint initiative between IDS, Itad and the University of East Anglia. His current research interests include innovative ways to evaluate impact, civil society, governance, livelihoods as well as the ethics of evaluation. He is also working on impact investing and innovative finance, including ways to assess social impact beyond aid.
Chris is an experienced team leader and project director of several high-profile evaluations. This includes: the quasi-experimental impact evaluation of the Millennium Villages Project (Ghana, 2012-2018); and the ten-year longitudinal study of CDC’s contribution to mobilisation (global, 2017-2027). In both of these evaluations, Chris’ interest lies in the credible mixing of evaluation designs and methods; whether Difference-in-difference and qualitative methodologies (in the former), or Contribution Analysis and macro-economic modelling (in the latter). Chris has facilitated a number of training courses on evaluation methods, including the CDI / IDS short course on ‘Designing effective ways to evaluate impact’.
Past work has also focused on governance in Malawi, Nigeria, Ghana and elsewhere, and the relationships between state and civil society. This includes: a four-year, case-based evaluation of the Tilitonse civil society fund in Malawi; a multi-donor evaluation of US$ 4 billion of aid to Conflict Prevention and Peace Building activities in Southern Sudan; and providing technical and value for money support to several governance funds in Ghana and Nigeria (STAR-Ghana, SAVI, SPARC). Presently, Chris is exploring the role of ‘evaluation’ in assessing the social impact of non-aid interventions, including impact investing, innovative finance and prizes. This includes the study of CDC, recent research for Swedfund and the Venture Capital Trust Fund in Ghana. He also provides monitoring, learning and evaluation support to ‘Ideas to Impact’, a programme of innovation prizes in energy, water and climate change (global, 2013-2018).
Chris has published on power imbalances in evaluation, evaluation ethics, feedback loops, and the role of development evaluators in blended finance and social impact investment.